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CITIZENS' TASK FORCE ON WIND POWER

  Who are we?

Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power is a coalition of citizens from around the state drawn together in the common purpose of advocating for responsible, science based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine’s energy policy.  Wind power on Maine's priceless scenic mountain landscape does not achieve these results.

  • Brad Blake – Chair 207-219-8059, email: bblake02@maine.rr.com

 

 5 MOST COMMON MYTHS
ABOUT WIND POWER

1.   Wind Power will help Mainers to get off foreign oil.

Electricity generation in Maine uses oil for only 2% of total generation, mostly during the peak demand of summer when the Cousins Island oil fired generator is needed to meet demand for air conditioning in
urban areas.  If air conditioner thermostats were raised 2-3 degrees this demand could disappear.  Conservation and efficiency are the most economical and environmentally responsible ways to reduce energy consumption.

2.      Wind Power in Maine will reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel plants which will help fight global warming and improve air quality. 

  • Maine shares the atmosphere with the entire planet.  While Maine pursues a goal of 2,700 megawatts (1 megawatt = 1 million kilowatts) of wind power by 2020,  China will build 750,000
    MW of new coal fired generation.
  • A 1% increase in Maine’s forest cover would sequester the same amount of carbon as it is alleged that Maine’s wind power will reduce.
  • Because wind is constantly fluctuating and intermittent, turbines operate at about 25% of their nameplate capacity.  So 2700 MW
    of installed turbine capacity will produce, on average,  about 675 MW of electricity,  which is only about  4% of the normal daily demand of the grid which serves Maine.
  • Natural gas generators operate less efficiently when required to follow the erratic output of wind, much like a car driving in city traffic versus on a highway, resulting in an increase in carbon emissions.
  • Maine’s goal of 2700 MW would essentially have no effect on the earth’s climate or on atmospheric pollution from fossil fuel plants.

3.      Fossil fuels are finite and ever more costly,  while the wind is infinite and free.

  • Natural gas provides about 50% of Maine’s electricity.  Hydro and biomass provide most of the balance.  Very little oil or coal is used to generate electricity in Maine.  Natural gas is clean burning with no particulate emissions and half the CO2 of coal.  Domestic reserves are vast and the cost of electricity is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.  Wind is free but wind turbines are very
    expensive and have a short (15-20 year) lifespan.
  • The cost of electricity generated with natural gas is about 5 cents per kW, while the cost of wind generated electricity is about 13 cents per kW.  The difference is made up in subsidies and tax benefits.   While fossil fuels and nuclear power are subsidized at less than $1 per MW,  wind power receives about $80 per megawatt in various subsidies, renewable energy credits and tax benefits.


4.    Wind Power is providing jobs and a much needed boost to Maine’s economy.

  • About 70% of the cost of a wind project is sent overseas where the turbines are built.  Turbines are massive steel structures weighing hundreds of tons.  The steel used to build these enormous machines is produced in countries with cheap labor such as China.   The
    bulk of our tax dollars used to support the wind industry are spent off shore.   Angus King’s project in Roxbury, currently under construction, uses turbines assembled in Denmark and blades made in Viet Nam.
  • Many members of congress have expressed outrage at the use of stimulus funds to create jobs in foreign countries for the benefit of the wind industry.
  • Wind power is about money, not solving our energy problems.

5.      Wind power will heat our homes and charge our electric cars, enabling a transition from heating oil and gasoline. 

  • While this sounds attractive, the reality is that there is sufficient capacity in existing transmission systems to allow nighttime charging of electric storage heaters and plug in vehicles.  Wind power will only raise the cost of electricity due to its higher generation cost and the need to build new transmission lines to allow power from remote wind farms to reach urban population centers.

 

INDUSTRIAL WIND POWER IN MAINE'S MOUNTAINS IS BAD POLICY

Summary

Towns considering wind projects need to understand industrial wind power's reliance on massive government subsidies (our tax dollars) for its existence. When political support for industrial wind power dries up and the subsidies are removed all of the "tangible benefits" towns believed they would get indefinitely will disappear. The limited liability shell corporations that own the wind turbines will abandon these projects, having received handsome upfront returns on their investments. Lack of funds to remove the turbines and restore the sites, due to the DEP's failure to require set aside of these funds will leave towns with no ability to remove the turbines, or deal with the long term environmental consequences of high mountain clearing and road building.

Following are the key points about industrial wind power that the government and the wind industry are not talking about:

1.   Political - "The goal of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power was to grease the skids for the wind industry and Wall Street, not to find out if wind power was good for Mainers."

  • The “Expedited Permit” wind law was an “emergency” bill from the governor which passed through the legislature in 15 days with very little scrutiny and no debate in April 2008. The bill was the result of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power, whose mandate was to identify and remove obstacles to wind power development in the state, and not to examine the pros and cons or negative impacts of wind power.

 

2.     Environmental - "The promise of wind power is false, but the damage is guaranteed. The Governor's plan will destroy 50,000 acres of forest land - the size of 39,000 football fields."

  • The wind law established a goal of 2700 megawatts of installed capacity by 2020.
  • 2700 MW requires one thousand, eight hundred GE 1.5 MW turbines spaced approximately 1/5 mile apart = 360 miles of ridge line cleared, blasted and filled for the turbine foundations and interconnecting two lane haul roads.
  • Additionally, hundreds of miles of new access roads and transmission corridors fragmenting deep forest habitats and fragile ecosystems must be constructed to gain access to the top of the ridges and connect the turbines to the grid. As much as 50,000 acres of clear cutting will be required. Compare that to 3,000 acres for the Plum Creek development, recently appealed by NRCM. Ironically, NRCM fully supports industrial wind power on Maine’s mountains, despite the massive destruction to ecosystems that will occur.

3.    Maine’s Economy - "Tourism is Maine's #1 industry. Wind power will kill tourism in Maine’s mountains. How will people make a living when the tourists stop coming?

  • Tourism is Maine’s #1 industry, as important to the mountain region as the coast. The installation of more than one thousand gigantic turbines on Maine’s ridges will change the experience for tourists as well as residents. Access for hiking, snowmobiling, and hunting will be restricted. Every horizon will contain near or distant views of turbines. Night skies will be punctuated with the red strobe lights on the turbines, visible for 40 miles.
  • Maine’s “Quality of Place” has received a great deal of attention recently. The Governor’s Task Force defined Quality of Place as “our majestic mountains, unbroken forests, open fields, wild rivers, pristine lakes, widely-celebrated coast, picturesque downtowns, lively arts and culture, authentic historic buildings, and exceptional recreational opportunities. It is our principal advantage in today’s global economic competition. Quality of place will help us keep and attract skilled workers and entrepreneurs to fill Maine’s declining workforce population.”
  • Maine’s “Quality of Place Investment Strategy”, adopted by executive order in July 2008 contains the following goals:
    • Protect, strengthen, and develop Maine’s Quality of Place assets, both natural and built;
    • Make the State’s several regions more economically competitive and prosperous through increased investment, job opportunities, regional incomes, and public revenues; and
  • Create new jobs and valued products and services in Maine that will succeed in national and global markets for local, regional, and state benefit.
  • These goals are in direct opposition to the goal of 2700 MW of industrial wind power in Maine’s mountains. The preservation of Maine’s Sense of Place and industrial wind power are irreconcilable goals.
  • Expensive wind power will increase the cost of electricity for Maine’s ratepayers and eliminate existing jobs in the renewable energy sector. The grid is required to take wind generation when it is available, which will force other renewable generators such as biomass plants to reduce output. Less production equals fewer jobs.

5.     Human Health Concerns - "Turbines make people sick. The same symptoms are reported all over the world. Why does the wind industry deny this? Remember tobacco and asbestos."

  • Turbines cause sleep disturbance at long distances for some people due to low frequency noise which travels further in the atmosphere than higher frequencies.
  • People living within range of turbine noise around the world report symptoms similar to the complaints of folks living at Mars Hill and Freedom – sleep disturbance, headaches, aggravation, anxiety – caused by the intense sound of the enormous blades ripping through the atmosphere.
  • The wind industry is in denial about these well documented and very serious health concerns, and Maine CDC has exhibited a startling lack of medical ethics by ignoring the complaints of citizens whose lives have been negatively impacted by the very first turbine installations in the state.

6,    Wind Generated Electricity Costs 3 Times More Than the Grid Currently Pays for Electricity - "Wind power will make your electricity more expensive."

  • 2700 MW @ 25% average capacity factor = 675 MW electricity delivered on average to the ISO NE grid.
  • 675 MW divided by average ISO NE grid demand of 16,000 MW = only 4.5% of grid demand will be met by 2700 MW of wind turbines. Very little electricity in the grid is produced with oil so claims of reduced foreign oil use due to wind power are false.
  • 2700 MW x $2 million per MW construction cost = $5.4 billion plus $1.5 billion new CMP transmission project to serve remote wind projects = $6.9 billion installed cost.
  • It costs more than $100 per MW to generate electricity with a mountain top turbine, while electricity is selling in the ISO NE grid for about $35 per MW today. The difference is made up in subsidies and tax benefits.
  • Percentage of industrial wind power installed cost provided by taxpayer subsidies = approximately 2/3 of cost = $4.3 billion dollars
  • Transmission lines in densely populated southern Maine as well as near remote wind farms must be built to accommodate 100% of the capacity of the wind project, even though the wind project will only produce erratically at about 25% of rated capacity. Ratepayers will pay for this gross over build of transmission capacity with higher rates due to the under-utilization of the infrastructure.

7.    A Much More Cost Effective Use of Our Tax Dollars – “Weatherization, insulation and increased efficiency create long term jobs for Mainers. Wind power does not”.

  • If $4.3 billion was instead directed to conservation and efficiency programs it would equal more than $10,000 per residential structure in Maine, which could be used for incentives to encourage massive reductions in heating oil usage. By contrast, Maine's current year budget for C and E programs is about $15 per household. The government and the wind industry pay lip service to C and E while pouring 90% of subsidies into industrial wind power.
  • These subsidies do not create many jobs in this country. Wind turbines are made in China and other countries, not in the US.
  • Without these massive subsidies, wind projects cannot pay their property taxes, or their TIF payments, or assure us the money to remove the turbines will be there when they stop working.

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A note from the site administrator:

The Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine is a coalition of citizens advocating responsible, science based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine's energy policy including a stop to the spread of industrial scale wind complexes in our state. The primary purpose of this website is to allow like minded individuals help this cause by sharing information and experiences and educating those seeking information. We are outspent and out-resourced by the powerful corporate interests that are using all their powers to site industrial scale wind complexes throughout the Maine countryside. We thus value this site as an important communications tool and are concerned that it be used in a manner that helps further our cause. All comments and other submissions are subject to approval. By submitting comments as well as other material, you are agreeing to relinquish any subsequent rights of ownership to your material by submitting it on this site. This entitles granting me the right to display any information or material you submit to this site. I have the right to edit, remove, or deny access to content that is determined to be, in my sole discretion, unacceptable. .

Comment

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Comment by J Tucker on April 23, 2013 at 6:38am

Mainers are throwing away their heritage by continuing to industrialize the skyline and it saddens me to see this happening, which is why I signed on to this site. I recently clicked on and signed a petition opposing the Bowers Mtn project and was disturbed to find it linked to an anti-2nd amendment petition and other socialist propaganda. I moved to Maine for the scenic beauty, sporting opportunities and freedom. I love Maine. Please don't make me have to move to Texas or Idaho. I'm getting too old. I couldn't find an option for opting out of this site so, I will simply block any further emails. Thank you.

Comment by Timothy H. 'Dutch' Dwight on April 2, 2013 at 1:52pm
Comment by Willem Post on February 26, 2012 at 6:37pm

Here is some more on wind energy balancing.

Regarding hydro plants balancing wind energy, this is done by the Bonneville Power Authority in Oregon, in Spain and Portugal, and in Norway and Sweden as a service for Denmark.

Hydro plants normally operate following the daily demand or in base-loaded mode; i.e. near constant output.

Almost all hydro plants are not designed for balancing wind energy (vary their outputs up and down to counter the ebbs and surges of wind energy), and many of them could not be redesigned without great expense.

In any case, hydro plants exist in only the few areas, whereas wind energy is almost everywhere.

The 20% David refers to is wind energy penetration; i.e. the contribution wind energy makes to the annual energy supply of the NE grid; 20% of 130,000 GWh = 26,000 GWh.

For comparison, Lowell Mountain production = 63 MW x 8,760 hr/yr x 0.32 = 177 GWh/yr. It would take 147 Lowell Mountains to have 20% wind energy on the NE grid, at a capital cost of 147 x $160 = $23.5 billion, plus grid modifications of about $17-24 billion, plus additional gas turbines for balancing.

For comparison, NE annual nuclear energy is about 32,000 GWh and the plants are fully paid for.

All together an expensive, noisy, visually-damaging, environmentally-damaging and health-damaging nightmare  that produces expensive energy at about 2-3 times NE annual average grid prices.

Note: The instantaneous CF during high wind speeds would be about 2.5 x 0.32 = 0.8, i.e.,  the wind output during one hour would be 147 x 63 MW x 0.8 = 7.4 GWh and the next hour it might be 4.0 GWh, i.e., for short periods of time, almost all energy on the grid would be wind energy, almost all the base-loaded/load-following plants would have to reduce their outputs and the existing gas turbine capacity of the NE grid would NOT be able to balance its variations during such short periods.

That means wind energy curtailment is required (done by feathering the blades or stopping wind turbines); already practiced in many areas with wind turbines, such as Texas, Colorado, Bonneville, Germany, the UK, Ireland, etc.

The average energy supply during one hour on the NE grid = 130,000 GWh/yr/(8,760 hr/yr) = 14.8 GWh; at night it is about 10 GWh, during peak daytime hours it is about 18 GWh.

If, as shown above, wind is contributing 7.4 GWh one hour and 4.0 GWh the next hour, it follows almost all base-loaded generators have to reduce their outputs which is inefficient and almost all gas turbines are in inefficient, part-load-ramping mode, unless part of the wind energy can be sent to other grids.

But, these other grids likely also have high wind speeds and may not want the energy; hence the wind energy curtailment.

It also follows that during part-load operation of base-loaded plants, and part-load-ramping operation of balancing plants, much extra fuel is used and much extra CO2 is emitted, as has been proven, based on measured operating data of the grids of Ireland, The Netherlands, Colorado and Texas.

Those measurements show that at higher wind energy penetrations, the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions actually are greater than without wind energy on the grid.

At lesser wind energy penetrations, there ARE reductions of fuel and CO2 emissions, but they are not anywhere near to what is claimed by wind energy proponents.

That makes expensive wind energy ($ spent/kWh generated) a dubious method of reducing CO2 emissions. Much less expensive energy efficiency ($ spent/kWh reduced) is FAR superior to any renewable regarding CO2 reduction.

Comment by Willem Post on February 26, 2012 at 6:28pm

Your wind myths article is very good.

One item you omitted is the OCGT and CCGT balancing plants. 

As wind speeds are highly variable and wind energy is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, a doubling of wind speed causes an 8-fold increase in highly-variable wind energy. As a result, wind energy consists of irregularly-spaced, sporadic spurts varying in amplitude and duration. Wind energy by itself would be a disturbing influence on the grid. However, if combined with the energy from balancing plants, it would be seen by the grid as a constant-output, base-loaded plant.

The balancing plants, usually consisting of quick-ramping gas turbines or hydro plants, would need to ramp down when wind energy surges and ramp up when wind energy ebbs to ensure a near-perfect balance of supply and demand is maintained on the grid. The balance needs to be maintained to minimize excessive frequency and voltage deviations from target values to avoid brownouts and blackouts and to avoid overloads.

The balancing plants would need to operate at a percent of rated output. That mode of operation is very inefficient for gas turbines and ramping up and down at a percent of rated output is even less efficient. This results in significantly increased Btus/kWh and increased CO2 emissions/kWh.

As the wind energy penetration percentage increases, the balancing energy percentage will also increase, i.e., an increasingly larger percentage of the energy on the grid will be produced in an inefficient manner which will require significant electric rate increases. 

Grids which already have a significant capacity of utility-owned, quick-ramping plants may have sufficient spare balancing capacity to accommodate up to about 3 percent of wind energy penetration.

On the New England grid, currently with about 0.5% penetration, the presence of wind energy is not yet "noticeable”, according to ISO-NE personnel. The main reason the increased Btu/kWh and CO2 emissions/kWh are not yet noticeable is because of a lack of proper measuring and recording of power plant operating data.

As wind energy penetration becomes larger, say 1%, wind energy variations WILL become noticeable, especially during unstable weather with very large wind energy ups and downs within a few hours. 

Dispatch value: About 10 - 15 percent of the year, wind speeds are too low (less than 7.8 mph) or too high to produce any wind energy. Most of a year’s wind energy production is at night during the winter, almost nothing during summer, the remainder during spring and fall. Accordingly, wind energy has zero dispatch value to ISO-NE, the New England grid operator. 

However, wind energy does have SCHEDULING value; in Texas about 8.7% of the installed wind turbine capacity.

http://www.ercot.com/news/press_releases/show/381


http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wi...

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61774/wind-energy-expensive

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/64492/wind-energy-reduce...


Comment by Penny Melko on November 20, 2011 at 11:55pm

Hello. My name is Penny Melko and I just sent an email to contact your representative. The bill is in committee as of today, Nov. 20, 2011.  This isn't spam.  (I hate wind turbines!)

Comment by Penny Melko on November 20, 2011 at 11:50pm

NO to Industrial Wind/Solar Renewable Tax Credits thru 2016

 Contact your Representative TODAY. Please send this to everyone in the U.S. who will oppose this – all wind opposition groups, friends, whoever.

 

Urge your Representative to oppose the Production Tax Credit Extension Act H.R. 3307 (Subsidies for “green” energy projects)

 

If you follow this link you will be taken to govtrack. There you will see the referenced H.R. 3307. Next to it you will see a box which says SPEAK UP AT POPVOX.  This is one of the very few letter forwarding sits that I recommend. When you click on that box you will be taken to popvox where you can support or oppose a bill. You can also add comments. You will need to register an account but it is well worth the time since you may very well start using this site to express your opinion on other bills in Congress. If you comment you will not need to put your name at the bottom of the comment section, they will add that in for you. Here is the link:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3307

 

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3307

H.R. 3307: American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011

A bill in the U.S. Congress: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the renewable energy credit.

More about the Bill

Bill to extend U.S. wind energy tax credit goes to committee

U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced a bill to extend the current wind production tax credit, which expires at the end of 2012, through 2016.

Composites World

Posted on: 11/7/2011

U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), members of the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, on Nov. 2 introduced the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act (H.R. 3307). This bipartisan bill extends the tax incentive for the production of wind power, geothermal power, hydropower, and other forms of renewable energy through 2016. The bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

H.R. 3307 provides a clean, 4-year extension of the existing production tax credit for wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower. It was created in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and has frequently been extended in year-end packages of expiring tax provisions, as well as in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The current incentive is set to expire next year for wind and in 2013 for other renewable energy forms. Advocates note that historically, at least six to eight months before the tax credit expires, financial lenders hesitate in providing capital for projects because of the uncertainty cr

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

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 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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