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Alumni Profile: Peter Arnold '68
Source: Colby Echo, 2/25/2009
In Wiscasset, Maine, former nuclear power plant Maine Yankee remains an empty site-for now. Three proposals for the construction of new ocean energy projects are being considered for the old energy town. Peter Arnold '68 leads the efforts for a tidal project involving harvesting the movement of the tides for sustainable, environmentally friendly energy.Arnold is the Sustainability Coordinator at the Chewonki Foundation, a not-for-profit Maine organization that teaches environmental stewardship through camps, classes, expeditions and leads by example. He helps the "whole operation be the most thoroughly" environmentally sustainable possible.
Off of the campus, Arnold has worked at the state-level and occasionally the federal-level as well. "My job allows me to interact at a number of different levels, and I think that's cool," he said. This past summer, for example, Arnold worked closely with the Maine Governor John Baldacci regarding high fuel costs. "We were really worried about what would happen in Maine in the winter," he said. He also works on local projects like the spread of bio-diesel and solar energy demo-projects.
This tidal proposal is the biggest project to date for both Arnold and the Chewonki foundation. If approved, the project would "harness the rise and fall of tidal waters through turbines in the Sheepscot River. Total generating capacity would range from one to 10 megawatts, and costs for studies and permitting are estimated in the $1 million to $2 million range. The number and location of turbines has yet to be determined, but planners are eyeing technology developed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Eastport," according to a February 9 article in Mainebiz.
Chewonki is awaiting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) decision on whether or not to grant the Foundation permission to proceed. The group also needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Then it can delve into researching the project.
Tidal energy is a very young industry; there are only a couple of places in the world with up and running plants, according to Arnold. "If it all takes place then we have the possibility of making significant contributions to…the environment in Maine," he said.
"And also I think from Colby… came an ethic of caring for the
environment and that's what I do full time now," Arnold said. His time
on the Hill was where the "foundation for that awareness happened." It
is now both "my passion and my job," he said.