Lessons learned require Nordic to redesign power source

In California, Nordic Aquafarms touts its proposed fish factory design as the same one permitted in Belfast. In fact, the tanks, processes, and overall site layout are presented as nearly identical, with the exception of the on-site power plant. There have been some significant improvements to the emergency power supply proposed in California based upon errors and omissions here in Belfast. Nordic refused to address these power plant concerns during the permitting process here.

For Belfast, Nordic has described the backup power capacity as 14 Megawatts (MW), but this is a peak capacity not a realistic or “normal” capacity. All engines must operate at less than their maximum capacity continuously or there could be significant damage that would void the warranty on the diesel generators. Nordic ignored these basic design concerns here in Maine, but in California, they’re seeking permitting with emergency engines at 73% maximum capacity. If applied to their Belfast’s fish factory, this would mean they can only supply 10 MW onsite.

In Nordic’s permit application in California, they proposed more supply capacity for their emergency generators than their supply needs, proposing 110% of their normal power need. Why isn’t the same emergency power supply-to-demand ratio compulsory in Belfast?

When questioned by both the Belfast Planning Board and Maine DEP, Nordic had an opportunity to explain the exact power requirements, and how effective operation could be maintained in an emergency with less than the “normal” demand. Nordic repeatedly refused to provide its emergency, minimum, average, and peak power demands. Only recently has the corporation divulged that their “normal” power demand will be 28 MW.

It is now clear that their “normal” emergency power supply proposed in Belfast, will only be 35% of their “normal” demand. If they are only able to meet about one-third of normal demand, a detailed design explanation is required or the permits must be rescinded. Shouldn’t Nordic be required to explain how it can keep its fish alive and meet its many wastewater treatment removal promises as permitted?

The emergency power capacity and percent of minimum, normal, and peak power parameters proposed for California are all responses to questions posed to Nordic during the permitting process in Belfast, but remain unanswered here.

Shouldn’t Nordic’s project in Belfast be held to the same emergency power standards proposed in California, especially in light of CMP’s local power grid supply problems in Midcoast Maine?

Michael Lannan


Help in the short term can reduce need for assistance in the long term

My husband and I have been watching people in Washington argue about what used to be called the Build Back Better Bill on the television with increasing anguish. We owe our current prosperity to social programs that helped us get by during unexpected challenges. We are saddened that others might lose that opportunity. And yet it seems like politicians are frittering away this good thing. I wonder if they understand how regular people live.

My husband and I were living abroad working international careers when we received the exciting news that we were going to become parents. It was a huge surprise as our doctor had told us it would take us a long time — maybe even years — to conceive. It was such a surprise that our jobs were about to take us to Guatemala. But we wanted to have our baby while living close to my parents, so we changed our plans and moved back to Maine.

We were both educated people with strong track records of employment, so we were surprised to find we couldn’t find work for love nor money home in Maine. I worked as a substitute teacher and we juggled multiple minimum-wage jobs. But even though we were working more than full time, we could not make enough money to pay for housing or health care.

A place to call home, the extra food and the health care were the extra help we needed when we welcomed our first child into the world.

Now we have two children and we own our own home. My husband is a chef in a well-known restaurant. But we wouldn’t have made it here without a helping hand when we most needed it.

I know we are not the only Americans who have struggled to stay afloat when called on to do the right thing. Any one of us could experience a momentary hiccup. The programs in this bill provide needed assistance to prevent spiraling into poverty. Often the help of one social program in the short term can reduce the need for further assistance in the long term.

We need all our congressional delegation to lead by providing the help our families need.  Sen. King and Rep. Pingree have supported these investments in our people. Sen. Collins and Rep. Golden have not.

Dear Ms. Collins and Mr. Golden: Americans are needlessly suffering when the solution is clear and available. Please do the right thing and become active leaders to help us.

Kaitlyn Johnson