Comments for: Discontinuing Maine’s renewable energy standards is a mistake

Posted Oct. 07, 2012, at 10:02 a.m.

The conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center and the Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research recently released a report detailing the economic reasons to alter or discontinue Maine’s renewable portfolio standards, or RPS, begun under Gov. John Baldacci. Gov. Paul LePage concurred. As the president of the Biomass Power Association …

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  • Anonymous

    Creating new jobs in a favored energy sector seems noble, but what of the jobs lost to too high energy costs? Reminds me of the protectionism for domestic auto makers in the Eighties; more jobs were lost overall with import quotas than were “saved” in Detroit.

    Here’s a question; why does Canada and our North West have low electricity costs?

    • Answer, H-Y-D-R-O  and Maine had hydro until the dam’s were taken down. Now we have Paulie, at every turn, crying ‘Buy Quebec Hydro’, and sending both our money, and the associated job’s, to Canada as a way to solve a problem we can solve ourselves, thank you very much. This is where Cinabro, and Vigue, need to focus their effort’s, not on some fantasy Highway that’s useless for well over 95% of Mainer’s. Maine hydroelectric plant’s could permanently provide Maine power at rates that are at a minimum of 40% less than what we are all paying right now. Paulie and his bunch know it. The question is why isin’t he pushing for Maine hydro plant’s, that bring both job’s and lower electric rates’, for Maine ? Now that’s a question I’d pay beer money to get a straight answer to…………….

      • Anonymous

        Economies of scale are needed to justify the cost of new hydro which means only large plants can be financially feasible. LePage has pushed for +100 MW hydro units to be included in RPS but has been rejected repeatedly by the vested interests in the Legislature.

        As for your comment “sending both our money, and the associated jobs” out of state not a single commercial wind farm in Maine is owned by Mainers, all the turbines, blades and towers were made out of state and the majority of the wind farms have contracts to third parties out of state or have power purchase contracts with in-state distributors at above market prices.  

      • Anonymous

         You want to get a hydro electric dam built in Maine.  That is really funny.  Every environmentalist in the northeast if not the country would be here telling us how “wrong” it would be and filing lawsuits to stop it.

        Governor LePage knows better than to waste his time on this one.

  • CLEAN ENERGY IS A GOOD IDEA.

    • Anonymous

       So is water until it is forced down your throat!

      • Anonymous

        Comment of the year!

  • Washington County

    Clean energy is good, so isn’t Oil, Hydro, Natural gas and wind. The problem comes when you promote a less cost effective energy like wind by forcing the state by law to use a high percentage of renewable energy. Hydro should count as a clean renewable energy.

  • Anonymous

    “Maine Citizens for Clean Energy found in a poll last year that about 75 percent of Maine residents supported a ballot initiative that would require 20 percent of electricity from utilities to come from renewable sources.”

    This is a misleading play on statute wording that was used by the MCCE to make Mainers think they were getting on board with a 20% RPS.  Fact is, Maine’s RPS today is 35% and increases to 40% in 2017.  The initiative being pushed by MCCE actually would have driven Maine’s RPS to 50%, quite possibly, the highest in the nation.  For all intents and purposes, it was being pushed to increase wind power development, not biomass.

  • Patten_Pete

    Please consider reading “Renewable policies crushing New England’s economy”
    http://www.windaction.org/faqs/32263

    This  is written by the Industrial Wind Action Group, based in NH. They are an extremely well informed source of information and have uncovered and assembled all the facts which expose these renewable standards as nothing but a device for a small handful of insiders to grow wildly rich on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers.

    Governor LePage is correct and the cabal of pocket-lining self appointed “greens” pushing the RPS are the true enemy of the hard working Mainer.

  • Anonymous

    Dammit, what is it going to take for people to wake up? 

    Former Maine PUC commissioner Kurt Adams greased the skids for a massive transmission upgrade needed solely for the wind companies to move their electricity from remote ridges in Maine to the NH border so they could sell it to Ct and Mass. But we were never told this hugely expensive upgrade was all due to wind. (About $4,5000 per Maine ratepayer) We were lied to. Then, while still PUC commissioner, Adams got over $1 million in stock options from First Wind and one month later moved there to become their director of transmission. You can’t make this up.

    He is now still with First Wind but also on trustee of the Univ of Maine System. The University is planning to send us off a cliff with their idiotic subsidy-dependent wind schemes – all so a handful like Habib Dagher of UM can build their personal empires with grants.

    The Adams story is just one of many examples.  Other examples of how we are getting trampled abound.

    You can get all the information you need to start learning about this by googling:

    “What every Maine ratepayer needs to know”.

    I would include the name of the website or the link for this, but when I do so, the comment is automatically deleted.

    • So much for ethics in Maine. Between Adams and his magical financial wizardy, Nutting and his Medicare / Pharmacy escape act and Paulie’s getting elected with only 36% of the vote, Maine is land of complete unbelievable. It’s also a land where apparently morals and ethics are a conveinience, not what are expected from public servant’s or are taught in our school’s. Public service is supposed to be vetted thru character, not how may ways it can be abused.

  • Anonymous

    I respect Mr. Cleaves’ perspective and appreciate his ‘up
    front’ manner when disclosing his incentive for writing this op-ed.  And…I agree with some of what he said.

     

    However, there are a few things which I question.  One of them is this statement:  “But natural gas doesn’t help the many rural
    towns in Maine that are hundreds of miles from a pipeline.”

     

    If this article is about electricity, then the distance between
    a rural town and a natural gas pipeline isn’t an issue.  Most communities in Maine are on the
    electrical grid.  If we needed more electrical
    generation in this state, adding another natural gas plant could be built in
    any number of places.  The electrons
    would go into the grid and be delivered where they were needed.  No ‘pipeline’ would be necessary.

     

    If instead, this article is about home heating, then
    clarification is needed.  I don’t believe
    the RPS comes into play when the conversation is about heating our rural homes
    and businesses. 

     

    Industrial
    Wind facilities are one of the major benefactors of Maine’s RPS.  The entirety of
    Maine’s 2700 MW goal (Phase One–which will entail covering almost 300 miles of
    Maine’s ridgelines with 400-500’ industrial wind turbines) could be provided by
    the construction of one moderately sized natu­ral gas plant, and the cost is
    estimated to be 10-15% of what ‘wind’ would cost.  Moreover, natural gas is reliable, clean-burning
    and abundant.  It doesn’t make sense to
    give an unfair advantage to an energy source like ‘wind’–which is NOT
    reliable, and which is intermittent, is very expensive and which must always
    have ‘back-up generation’ for those times when the wind cuts out or when it blows
    too hard.

     

    If we are going
    to continue with RPS mandates, it makes no sense to exclude ‘large’ hydro power
    (over 100MW) from the program.  Hydro is
    renewable, it’s storable, it’s reliable. 
    But in order to keep Canada’s hydro power from being competitive here in
    Maine, we’ve penalized this clean energy source.  There is abundant Canadian hydro available,
    if we needed or wanted it and currently, it’s less expensive than many other power
    sources.  I don’t believe we should penalize
    it by classifying it as ‘non-renewable’ when it’s probably the most reliable ‘renewable’
    in existence.  If ‘large’ wind is eligible
    for the RPS, all other renewable sources should be, too.

     

    I recognize the value of the biomass industry.  The company my husband works for has its
    electricity supplied by a local biomass plant and it has been beneficial to the
    company.  But I also support a free
    market, where a business has to stand on its own merit.  By mandating a certain percentage of
    renewables (and then choosing what qualifies) we’re giving the one sector of
    the industry an unfair advantage–at tax-payers’ and rate-payers’ expense.

     

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Cleaves, I have always liked the concept of biomass, with the thought that utilizing less desirable species, diseased and damaged trees, slash, etc as feedstock would likely improve our vast forests in Maine.  Also, we could take the tens of thousands of acres of abandoned farmland and turn them into plantations of fast growing hybrid poplar to provide planned, sustainable fuel for biomass boilers.  Biomass has predictable, steady, and dispatchable electricity.  The only question, can it compete on its own in the open market?

    The problem I have with RPS is that it is an arbitrary mandate to use more expensive sources of electricity.  The worst type of generation that PRS favors is wind power.  It is hugely expensive and environmentally destructive in Maine.  It produces at best around 25% of it’s capacity (fortunately, biomass performs far better!) and it is unpredictable, unreliable, and non-dispatchable.  It is also an industry that would not exist without the heinous RPS mandates and overly generous taxpayer subsidies.

    We need to get the government out of choosing winners and losers in the energy sector.  We need to free our economy of burdensome mandates.  We need to be serious about cutting out of the Federal budget the many things that the government ought not to be wasting money on and all manner of tax credits and subsidies for energy of all forms should be gone. 

    • streamweaver

      “It produces at best around 25% of it’s capacity”

      Mr. Blake: are you sure about that? At a public meeting in Carroll Plt on Sept 20th, Attorney Neil Kiely of First Wind told us that the proposed Bowers Mountain Wind project will operate at 45% efficiency. Was he lying?

      (sarcasm intentional)

  • King Angus kills Maine. Boston is insatiable. Maine does not have enough real estate for WIND to power Boston. Hydro-Canada does…Boston could be one of the greenest cities on earth.

  • It seems everyone has a solution to the energy crisis, but why does it have to always be the expensive way. Wind power is to expensive, it puts huge bill boards on our mountains, we don’t have enough mountains to supply all the wind turbines needed, it destroys our quiet rural neighborhoods, drives tourists away and Maine is already 30% “renewable”. I ask;”Why should we allow our mountains and quality of life be destroyed for the other “lower” states in the New England area?” Why should Mainers take it on the chin for another area of the U.S.? We did our part in being renewable so why doesn’t the states that want this renewable do it at home? They claim that Maine has good wind, but that just isn’t so….. Look at a map that shows the winds of the U.S. and it all blows in the mid-west. Maine doesn’t have enough wind to back the claims made by the wind companies. Did you know that the numbers they tell you are based on the 24/7 capacity and not the real output, which is only 25-30% capacity? Those of you out there with that “feel good because I support Green” seem to forget to educate yourselves as to the full scope of energy and its issues. Please educate yourselves and look at the full picture and not the margin of feel good. Because of your green feelings, I now have lost the quality of life that I worked so hard to acquire. So much for “GREEN”.

  • Anonymous

    Wind is a feckless farce that will cost this state dearly if not stopped, immediately.

    The whole issue of renewables has been used as a snake-oil farce, with salesmen like Angus King ,Baldacci and Kurt Adams at the helm.

    Governor LePage must act to prevent Maine’s  economic death by electrical suicide from  high costs and environmental degradation .
    The governor is aware of the problem , and must now act.

    1. Declare a moratorium on all wind projects in Maine

    2. Review, modify or expunge if possible  LD-661 Expedited Wind Law,
    the source of the problem. This heinous piece of legislative lobbied
    folly contrived by influential self-serving interested like Mr. Angus
    King must be abolished or totally revamped.

    3. Convene a new Governors Task Force on renewables  with citizens included, (not wind shills) to work on real renewable policy that may be effective for Maine, including hydro.

    4. Stop the North East link transmission project,
    and back PUC actions to stop the merger and breach of our law
    separating power generators like First Wind from owning transmission
    assets with Bangor Hydro/ Emera. We will pay dearly for this  potential breach of state law.

    5. Demand  real science to be actively pursued by DEP under Section 375 concerning environmental and health impacts of turbine noise and infra sound, which will require  appropriate set backs for  those projects that might economically and scientifically meet good fiscal and scientific guidelines.

    6.Stop the abuse of Tax  Incremental Funding giveaways to wind companies .This tax tool was not meant as a taxpayer giveaway to the wind companies.

     THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!

    Concentrate  on real  affordable fuels  for Maine’s economic future, like Hydro, Biomass, Natural Gas and other dense sources of power, not the feckless subsidy farce of Solyndresque Wind.

  • Anonymous

    Boi-mass and hydro are fine,they are reliable and cost effective,but we should not be mandating wind and solar or financing them. the technology is in its infancy and until it matures we need to use what we know to reliable and economical.

    • Anonymous

      Wind technology is already mature. Nothing short of an alteration in the laws of physics will make wind power efficient or effective.

      The progenitor of modern day wind power in America was Enron.

      Enough said.

  • Anonymous

    The writer cites an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, a term that has become popularized by persons such as Angus King.

    The reason it is used is it is an attempt by hugely expensive wind power to have “safety in the herd”, where they hope the sky-high cost of wind and its requisite new transmission lines blend in with the inexpensive electricity forms and escape scrutiny.

    I will also point out that when the author advocates that we support a “diverse portfolio”, we should go beyond what may sound good on the surface and ask “why”? There is nothing inherently valuable about energy diversity. In fact, there is something sinister, as the words are  invariably used in a way to support electricity sources that would never be chosen unless these laws crafted by special interests shoved them down our throats.

    • Anonymous

      Wind Power is not “hugely” expensive at 5.3 cents per kWh.

      Please try to keep up.

      • Anonymous

        Wind Power’s transmission cost increases alone are costing Maine ratepayers about $4,500 each. 

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