November 21, 2017
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Comments for: Energy efficiency counts more than LePage politics

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  • Anonymous

    Energy conservation is not in the best interest of the fossil fuel energy industry. They have many of billions of dollars profit, and many millions of dollars to “lobby” our elected officials with. The result is that profits of the corporations, and the resulting tax free “contributions” to politicians have overcome any responsible policy going forward. Sad

    • Anonymous

      There’s an analysis by Adam Davidson in Sunday’s NYTIMES magazine  that seems to hit a real nerve and reveals that it’s all these regulations which now drive large parts of Maine’s economy, i.e. E2TECH:

      For the past 30-plus years, through Republican and Democratic administrations, there has been much lip service paid to the idea that the era of big government is over. Long live free enterprise. And yet in the case of those areas surrounding the capital, wealth has gravitated to the exact spot where government regulation is created. Why? Because many businesses discovered that renegotiating the terms between government and the private sector can be extraordinarily lucrative.

      A few remarkable books by professors at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business argue that a primary source of profit for Wall Street over the past 15 to 20 years could be what I call the Acela Strategy: making money by exploiting regulation rather than by creating more effective ways to finance the rest of the economy. 

  • Anonymous

    The writer knows all too well the hoops the home or business owner has to  jump through to get any credits for energy efficiency improvement…..First they have to have an audit..KACHING$; then they have to implement everything the auditor recommends…KaCHING$$$, then all the installation has to be done by someone licensed or credentialed by the State…KaCHING$$$$; and all components have to be certified and are a lot more expensive.

    Was energy saved?  Maybe; but was financial ‘energy’ lost?  YOU BET IT WAS.

    It’s sort of like health insurance, if you can shop the WEB you can find exactly the policy  you want at up to 40% less than one approved by Maine govt.  You can now buy an owner installable solar hot water (best buy) or Photo voltaic (depends on siting, etc.) system at considerably less than one installed by a certified installer; but if you do you won’t get the tax credits, no matter how good the system is or how extensive the savings. 

    Anyone ever costed out reinsulating a house, say with foam? or replacing your windows with triple glazed?  Maybe $30 for both….

    LePage has tempered the zealots and crony capitalists who run EFFICIENCY MAINE as best possible….remember they saw the Republican train coming right at them, and rammed through a quasi-independent agency with its own sources of funding that was designed to eliminate both oversight from the Governor and the Legislature. 

    After enormous pressure from experts and the various ‘Green’ scandals and wind follies, E.M. shifted direction. LePage had little if anything to with it. 

    • What are you growing in that organic garden? You should lay off for a while and clear the fog.

  • Anonymous

    Would your grandfather demand that his neighbors perform work on his home, farm, or vehicle in order to make it more efficient? or would he find a way to do the job himself?

  • Anonymous

    Vaughan, we appreciate this well argued and cited editorial about the current state of Maine’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.  Energy is an issue that should not at all be political – it’s one of the rare cases where environmental, economic, and security needs all coincide – but unfortunately that is what we see happening again and again.  Short-term savings by gutting efficiency and alternative energy programs only leads to a more precarious position down the road.  On the bright side, declining costs of equipment have attracted private investment and kept the industry growing even when policy lags behind.  Now if we could get policy on par with the motivated Mainers who see a future where energy is increasingly generated and conserved locally, we would be leading in the region!

    • Anonymous

      When it’s dark and you need to keep you freezer cold, solar ain’t gonna do it; neither is wind. So you do what thousands of desperate Mainers have done, which is turn on a natural gas, propane or gas fired generator. 

      Mainers are practical people and have invested in wood boilers for heat, and gas generators for emergency power backup. Even more are exploring extracting the energy from falling and moving water as a more reliable source of electricity.

      All the efficiency in the world isn’t going to keep that freezer from melting!

      • Anonymous

        We live off the grid.  We have solar panels, inverters and batteries.  We also have a propane generator for back up.  We heat our home with wood and have propane for back up.  The only complaint about this was when I had to renew my drivers license and they wanted a Utility bill that showed my name and address.  The clerk looked at me like I grew out of a tree but finally accepted other id’s.  Our home has all the modern conveniences and we can run power tools too.
        It would be a dream to see the idle and empty factories in Maine be converted to manufacturing solar products and create jobs for Mainers.  This would decrease our dependency on foreign made solar supplies.  Yes this would be a very expensive investment but I believe it is worth a feasible study.  We Have to do something to stop the insance dependency of getting fuel from other countries.

      • Anonymous

        Sure, and note that we do not advocate completely cutting our relationship to utilities (though several ReVision employees, including myself, live off-grid) – what we’re trying to push forward is an electricity future where solar is a stronger part of our energy mix, rather than rigging the game to favor cheap natural gas or coal power.  We nearly exclusively install grid-tied systems, so having interaction with the grid to meet ‘baseline’ power needs at night and to meter credits for excess production during the day is critical.  That doesn’t mean that solar is not worth doing.

        The cost of photovoltaic modules has dropped by more than half in under three years, and right now, a PV installation, amortized over 20 years, works out to paying ~ .10c/kWh for power, or about 1/3 less than CMP’s standard offer.  A solar hot water system, which takes domestic hot water load off an oil boiler, will save 200-300 gallons of oil a year – so a professionally installed system pays for itself in 5-7 years.  This is what is driving the private investment in renewable energy.

        As a state/region, we think we have big decisions to make in the coming years of whether to continue down the path of fossil fuel dependency – which looks increasingly expensive and destructive, and leaves us further and further behind – or taking a different approach, combining efficiency measures with renewable generation to finally free our state from the yoke of oil and gas dependency.

        It can be done, and to us it is not a partisan issue, it is an issue of vision and the future of all of us.

        • Anonymous

          With solar panel companies dropping like flies in a frost; no wonder they are being hawked everywhere.

          If you really want trad. Maine self sufficiency making electricity by burning wood pellets or now propane…see http://www.whispergen.com/ for details. No more waiting for the sun to come out or the wind to blow; grow  your own energy.  

          • How did you ever become so negative and cynical? Even in the face off overwhelming evidence you refuse to accept the basic truth that we are moving to a new era of producing electricity. Get your focus off the rear view mirror and look toward a clean energy future.

          • Anonymous

            Cynical?  “Oct 22, 2012 – The cost to taxpayers for the failure of solar panel company Solyndra may be much higher than the $535 million dollar federal loan guarantee …” 

            New Era?  Hydro from Quebec is hardly new, subsidizing losing ventures like floating off shore wind platforms and destructive wind farms may be new. 

            Solar is a waste of money unless you’re in the 1 %….which obviously you aren’t so why are you promoting it? 

  • The only way we can break the grip of the monopolies that control energy is to stop using theirs and start making our own. Kind of strange how something as simple and straight forward as that idea gets twisted into an argument about big or small government.

    We send billions of our hard earner dollars out of state annually for energy. Wouldn’t it make more sense to insulate our structures so that we use less energy and to produce our own energy from renewable resources? Both weatherizing homes and installing pv and small wind turbines create well paying jobs.

  • Anonymous

    Still in the ‘grip of monopolies’?  How much energy have you made lately? If you’re off the grid, KUDOS; if not, lay off the green kool aid. 

    • Not made any energy for myself but have built a couple of buildings that are energy independent because of a lot of insulation and pv systems that produce electricity. The pv systems are tied into the grid. When the systems produce more electricity than the structure needs CMP distributes it as they do electricity from any source. In the winter the buildings retreave the electricity. This is called net metering.

      Apparently you prefer to pay CMP which is owned by a Spanish company. Must make your little organic heart go pitter patter seeing your money sucked off to Spain.

      Energy inflation is 8% annually over the past 10 years. The cost of producing electricity from renewable sources has dropped 10% annually for the past 6 years. Organic gardening and math are maybe not compatible.

      • Anonymous

        Obviously you don’t understand how Netmetering works; nothing is ‘retreaved’, what you send to CMP is ‘credited’ to your account, what you use is subtracted. At the end of the year, remaining credits are zeroed out and you start all over again. 

        Ranting about  Iberdrola USA is dumb, since damn near everything we use in Maine comes from ‘Away’….cars, appliances, even solar panels and wind turbines..You live in a wood hut somewhere to escape the global economic impact on Maine? 

        Vermont pays HYDRO QUEBEC 6 cents/KwH for electricity, with a 20 year contract guarantee against inflation. Vermont’s been buying power from Quebec for over 50 years and Maine should be doing the same. My little organic heart will really go pitter patter when we abandon expensive wind/solar fiasco’s and get the same discount Vermont does.

        Looked up the annual inflation rate for energy and found this :

        Last 5 Years 5.7%
        Last 10 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3%
        Last 20 Years 5.1%

        Suggest you document your sources since they are as off as your understanding of netmetering.

        And while you’re at it, read about the great solar fiasco:

        “Spain’s Great Photovoltaic Bust – 30,000 Jobs Lost Since 2008
        notrickszone.com › Our Climate In Pictures › Alternative EnergyJan 13, 2011 – The German online TAZ here reports on Spain’s solar energy industry debacle … Botched Spanish Solar Roofs … The boom turns into a fiasco .”

        Maybe you worked in Spain???

  • Anonymous

    Vaughan
    you hit the mark on the sorry direction LaPage is dragging Maine in. We have
    hundreds of clients in Maine and none of them appear rich or live in mansions.
    Energy efficiency, solar, heat pumps, etc are saving money for average Maine
    families and businesses. The fact is the economy in Maine is worse than much of
    the US. Energy costs are clobbering families’ budgets. Energy efficiency and
    solar cut cost and these industries have created good paying jobs during the
    toughest economic crisis most of us have ever seen. Energy efficiency is a long
    term goal with long term results and savings that will make Maine able to
    compete in a global economy. We need to move forward and it should be an embarrassment
    to LaPage to see us fall on any energy scorecard.

    • Anonymous

      Actually LePage is doing a great job.  He is trying to save money to keep the state on track and out of serious debt.  Cutting back in many areas of jobs has probably been difficult but it is part of the governors job to do what he was elected to do.  If more positive input was put forth to him and his office, perhaps Mainers would be more appreciative of his work.  Suggest you get all the solar businesses in Maine to join together and find some solutions for more people to have Free energy from the sun.

      • Anonymous

        lepages myopic view of the world, on many different subjects, is going to lead us right off the edge of a cliff

        • Anonymous

          Get a life blue.  you have your head in the dark. 

      • Anonymous

        lepages myopic view of the world, on many different subjects, is going to lead us right off the edge of a cliff

        • Anonymous

          Sorry you feel that way.  Gov. LePage  certainly is disliked by the majority of BDN readers as is evident in the comments about him.  Suggest you try to submit positive ideas to the solutions needed in Maine’s economic and energy situations.  If more people would see the positive, perhaps the Gov. could get more good things done.  I believe it is called, taking pride in your community by participating in meetings about your community and the state of Maine. 

          • Anonymous

            Who on earth would want to waste one second of his/her time trying to reason with a governor who has never shown any interest in the people he swore would come before politics?

          • Anonymous

            Do you only read BDN for your entire news intake? People who constantly criticize the gov. will get nowhere with him. Can you blame him? He is a decent man who Will listen to constructive input. Best to stop the negative rants. Nothing ever gets accomplished with rants.

          • Anonymous

            Oh? You call a man “decent” when he splits for Canada during ‘Nam? I have another word for him.

          • Anonymous

            Honestly do not know what you are talking about !

          • Anonymous

             In today’s PPH an article on lepage notes that he has essentially stopped conducting press conferences, he can’t take being questioned. This thin skinned troglodyte can only offer edicts that only the true believers bother taking seriously. How dare people ask questions about his truly regressive proposals.

            Not every comment on these pages will include an exhaustive counter plan, I’ve got a full time job, a family, there’s not always a lot of time to formulate a new education plan fo rhte state.

          • Anonymous

            It is most likely that Gov.LePage ‘Can’t take being questioned”. Perhaps he is too busy to play games with the liberal rant name callers! That would be the most logical reason. You seriously do not give him any credit for anything. That represents your biased view of ALL on the Right. Hope that you can learn to teach your kids they have the RIGHT to decide things for themselves when they are older. Name calling is a Mirror reflection of who YOU ARE. Get a grip.

        • Anonymous

          just be proud of your Negative comments.  too much kool aid apparently for you.

  • Anonymous

    How soon people forget the scandals surrounding the program…

  • Anonymous

    Vaughn, while you site The Maine Heritage Center has a  (cough, choke) conservative think tank, you proudly spiel off your liberal think tank of the Brookings Institute.  Gramps being frugal would have spent $30,000+ for a new gas saving car to save approx. $550.  to $650. a year in gas? I can see why you want people to use Solar Power as it is your livelyhood, I think if one has the extra cash around (most Mainers don’t) they should try Solar and all the above alternative energy sources. We have Satelitte TV and Internet and due to many cloudy days and rainy or snowy days it doesn’t works so good. So solar would have to be a secondary source of heat for Mainers. Our past State Administration and current Federal Administration were and are “Green” in my opinion to a fault and our current President has “loaned” taxpayer dollars to Green Companies who  apparently mismanaged their business and went bankrupt at  the tune of Millions of our dollars after a very short time. I don’t appreciate tax dollars being thrown away at taxpayer expense. I believe Gov. LePage wants to lower all Mainers utility bills and go with the least expensive way to do so, which I believe is Natural Gas. Once that heating bill comes down we can use the savings that went toward heating oil to insulate our homes better and if the customer wants to use another alternative source of energy toward cutting their heating bill buy the Solar,  pellets, etc., using their own money. (The old fashioned way just like Grandpa.)

    • ” I believe is Natural Gas. Once that heating bill comes down we can use
      the savings that went toward heating oil to insulate our homes”

      How long do you think natural gas will remain cheap? When you have the opportunity to make your own energy does it make any sense to buy it from someone else? Why not shoot for self reliance rather than padding the pockets of out of state  gas producers?

    • Anonymous

      Natural gas lines are only feasible for a small portion of this state’s residences

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