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Versant Power’s Fort Kent district reaches 100 percent solar energy milestone

Release Date:  05-08-2024

Versant Power’s Fort Kent district reaches 100 percent solar energy milestone

Bangor and Presque Isle, Maine – From noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, Versant Power’s service territory in the Fort Kent area was powered entirely by local solar energy. That feat was repeated twice more, on May 2 and May 3.

“The team at Versant Power has done a tremendous amount of work to support developers and customers seeking to interconnect renewable energy resources to the grid,” said John Flynn, President of Versant Power. “Doing the work needed to safely interconnect solar power to the distribution system requires the expertise of Versant Power engineers, our distributed generation team and many others across the organization. As Maine has encouraged this sort of development, our team faced unprecedented demand for support, and we continue to work hard to be a trusted partner in helping our state meet its energy goals.”

A graphic showing net electric load, known in energy parlance as a “duck curve,” has been respectfully renamed the “Madawaska Mallard” by the Versant Power team. The curve for April 4 shows a typical day for energy demand in the area.  Solar generation in the area will decrease this curve, causing the curve to drop during daytime hours. 
 Madawaskamallard Revgraphic
The graph shows the total net load in the Fort Kent area in kilowatts.  Each line represents one day, with 24 hours shown across the horizontal axis. Negative values indicate that local power needs are met entirely from local solar facilities, with excess energy sent into Canada.
“Reimagining the purpose of our grid, built originally for the one-way delivery of power, is no easy task in a rural state with diverse needs,” said Flynn. “We are proud to mark this milestone in northern Maine.”

Versant Power expects the Fort Kent area will see similar energy conditions on sunny days in the spring and fall, when conditions are best for solar energy production and mild temperatures drive down electricity demand.

Since 2020, Versant Power has worked with developers to interconnect more than 140 megawatts of solar energy to the grid. We have also processed more than 1,780 applications to interconnect renewable energy generators to the distribution grid in that time period. Despite being a relatively small utility, Versant Power is working with the owners of more than 400 active projects to integrate an additional 382-plus megawatts of renewable energy in northern and eastern Maine, which exceeds the total demand for electricity in the region.

Versant Power is a transmission and distribution utility, responsible for the delivery of power only. It does not own any solar energy facilities or other energy generation plants. Versant Power’s Fort Kent territory is part of the Maine Public District, a service territory that interconnects with Canada and is not directly connected to the rest of Maine. The Maine Public District is the only American utility district that is not directly interconnected with the rest of the United States.

Versant Power is committed to delivering safe, reliable electric service. As the state's second-largest electric utility, the company delivers electricity to more than 165,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across 10,400 square miles in northern and eastern Maine

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Versant Power provides electric delivery service to two areas – the Bangor Hydro District and the Maine Public District.

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