Mills vows that Maine will lead in reducing emissions, but state GOP sees 'destructive proposals'

The executive director of Maine’s Republican Party described Gov. Janet Mills’ speech to the United Nations last week as inspiring but not realistic in the long term.

“What happens is Janet Mills and other Democrats make positive speeches that sound wonderful, and what happens to follow it up is a whole bunch of destructive proposals that don’t have the people of Maine at heart,” Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party, told The Center Square.

The speech lacked specifics, Savage said. “We’re all environmentalists at heart, but Janet Mills doesn’t connect it to the proposals that she’s going to use to get us there.”

During the speech, Mills invoked Maine's connection to nature and vowed that the state would be a leader in combating climate change.

"What is more precious than water, air, soil, the health and happiness of our children and our children’s children and yours?" she said. "For all of them, today, by executive order, I am pledging that Maine will be carbon neutral by 2045."

Mills’ executive order to make Maine carbon neutral will be expensive to implement, Savage said.

“As Mainers we love our environment, whether you’re Republican or Democrat," he said. "We have wonderful forests that do amazing carbon sequestration. As a state, our carbon emissions are very low, and down over the last decade.”

The governor’s executive order requires the newly created Maine Climate Council to provide recommendations by December 2020 on achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2045. The climate council’s first meeting took place Thursday.

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Comment by Willem Post on October 1, 2019 at 11:04am

Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-more-wind-and-solar...

 

This URL shows wind and solar prices per kWh would be at least 50% higher without direct and indirect subsidies. They would be even higher, if the costs of other items were properly allocated to the owners of wind and solar projects, instead of shifted elsewhere. See below section High Levels of Wind and Solar Require Energy Storage.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/economics-of-tesla-powe...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant...

http://www.usu.edu/ipe/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/UnseenWindFull.pdf

 

This URL shows about 2/3 of the financial value of a wind project is due to direct and indirect subsidies, and the other 1/3 is due to electricity sales.

http://johnrsweet.com/Personal/Wind/PDF/Schleede-BigMoney-20050414.pdf

 

- Indirect subsidies are due to federal and state tax rebates due to loan interest deductions from taxable income, and federal and state MARCS depreciation deductions from taxable income.

 

- Direct subsidies are up-front federal and state cash grants, the partial waiving of state sales taxes, the partial waiving of local property, municipal and school taxes. See URLs.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

 

Any owner, foreign or domestic, of a wind and/or solar project, looking to shelter taxable income from their other US businesses, is allowed to depreciate in 6 years almost the entire cost of a wind and solar project under the IRS scheme called Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, MARCS. The normal period for other forms of utility depreciation is about 20 years.

 

Then, with help of Wall Street financial wizardry from financial tax shelter advisers, such as BNEF*, JPMorgan, Lazard, etc., the owner sells the project to a new owner who is allowed to depreciate, according to MARCS, almost his entire cost all over again. Over the past 20 years, there now are many thousands of owners of RE projects who are cashing in on that bonanza.

 

Loss of Federal and State Tax Revenues: The loss of tax revenues to federal and state governments due to MARCS was estimated by the IRS at $266 billion for the 5y period of 2017 - 2021, or about $53.2 billion/y.

The IRS is required to annually provide a 5y-running estimate to Congress, by law.

The next report would be for the 2018 - 2022 period

 

The indirect largesse of about $53.2 billion/y, mostly for wind and solar plants^ that produce expensive, variable/intermittent electricity, does not show up in electric rates. It likely is added to federal and state debts.

 

Most of the direct federal subsidies to all energy projects of about $25 billion/y also do not show up in electric rates. They likely were also added to the federal debt.

 

Most of the direct state subsidies to RE projects likely were added to state debts.

 

The additional costs of state-mandated RPS requirements likely were added to the utility rate base for electric rates.

 

* BNEF is Bloomberg New Energy Finance, owned by the pro-RE former Mayor Bloomberg of New York, which provides financial services to the wealthy of the world, including providing them with tax avoidance schemes.

 

^ In New England, wind is near zero for about 30% of the hours of the year, and solar is minimal or zero for about 70% of the hours of the year. Often these hours coincide for multi-day periods, which happen at random throughout the year, per ISO-NE real-time, minute-by-minute generation data posted on its website. Where would the electricity come from during these hours; $multi-billion battery storage, insufficient capacity hydro storage?

 

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68227.pdf

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/tax-equity-investors-b...

 

Warren Buffett Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit." 

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/e...

Comment by Willem Post on October 1, 2019 at 11:03am

Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

 

An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar. See table.

 

In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.14. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh. See table.

 

In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

 

Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

 

Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

 

NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

 

The subsidy percentages in below table are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

 

Values for 2018 are represented in below table.

 

NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind

%

NE Solar

%

Ridgeline

Large-scale

c/kWh

c/kWh

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting

18.8

100

23.5

100

Less cost shifting

2.4

13

2.1

9

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

16.4

87

21.4

91

Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4

7.4

39

Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4

9.6

41

Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

9.0

48

11.8

50

 

* Owner prices to utilities are based on recent 20-year electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in New England. These prices would have been about 48% to 50% higher without the direct and indirect subsidies and the cost shifting. Similar percentages apply in areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW, than New England. The prices, c/MWh, in those areas are lower than New England.

Comment by Willem Post on October 1, 2019 at 11:02am

Cost Shifting From Millionaire Owners to Struggling Ratepayers and Taxpayers 

 

Clever multi-millionaires have known about wind and solar being much more expensive compared with existing generation (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.) for at least 25 years.

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/...

 

By beating the drums of climate change and global warming, and using clever lobbyists in the halls of Congress and State legislatures, they were able to get all sorts of goodies, such as upfront cash grants, upfront tax credits, low-cost loans, generous, above-market, feed-in tariffs, production tax credits, and loan interest and asset depreciation write-offs to avoid paying income taxes.

 

All that enables them, and others to claim wind and solar is equivalent and competitive with other workers. What more could these millionaires ask for?

 

Cost Shifting: Here is a partial list of the costs that were shifted, i.e., not charged to wind and solar plant owners, to make wind and solar appear less costly than in reality to the lay public and legislators.

 

1) The various forms of grid-stabilizing inertia (presently provided by synchronous gas, coal, oil, nuclear, bio and hydro plants).

 

2) The filling-in, peaking and balancing by traditional generators (mostly gas turbines in New England), due to wind and solar variability and intermittency, 24/7/365. Their random outputs require the other generators to inefficiently ramp up and down their outputs at part load, and to inefficiently make more frequent starts and stops, which also causes more wear and tear, all at no cost to wind and solar owners.

 

The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the required up and down ramping of the gas turbines, which imparts added costs to owners for which they likely would not be paid: And the wind and solar erratic output is coddled by government programs and subsidies!!

 

Owners of traditional generators:  

 

- Have less annual production to cover power plant costs, which jeopardizes the economic viability of their plants.

 

- Are left with inefficient remaining production (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to up and down ramping at part load, and due to more frequent starts and stops, which leads to less fuel and CO2 reduction than claimed, and increased costs for owners. See URL

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fuel-and-co2-reductions...

 

- Have more wear and tear of their gas turbine plants, which further adds to owner costs

 

NOTE: All of this is quite similar to a car efficiently operating at a steady 55 mph, versus a car inefficiently operating at continuously varying speeds between 45 mph to 65 mph, and accelerating for frequent starts and decelerating for frequent stops.

 

3) Any battery systems to stabilize distribution grid with many solar systems. They would quickly offset downward spikes due to variable cloud cover. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant...

 

4) Any measures to deal with DUCK curves, such as a) daily gas turbine plant down and up ramping, b) utility-scale storage and c) demand management.

 

NOTE: GMP in Vermont, has determined 70 of its 150 substations will eventually need upgrades to avoid “transmission ground fault overvoltage,” (TGFOV), if more solar is added per requirements of the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan. This is nothing new, as utilities in southern Germany have been dealing with these issues for over ten years, which has contributed to German households having the highest electric rates (about 30 eurocent/kWh) in Europe.

 

5) Grid-related costs, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect the remotely distributed wind and solar, and to deal with variable and intermittent wind and solar on the grid. Those grid items usually are utilized at the low capacity factors of wind and solar, i.e., a lot of hardware doing little work.

 

6) Utility-scale electricity storage (presently provided by the world’s traditional fuel supply system).

https://www.neon-energie.de/Hirth-2013-Market-Value-Renewables-Sola...

 

The above 6 items are entirely separate from the high levels of direct and indirectsubsidies. They serve to make wind and solar appear to be much less costly than in reality. See sections 1 and 2 and Appendix.

  

All that enables wind and solar proponents to endlessly proclaim: “Wind and solar are competitive with fossil and nuclear”.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: For example, to bring wind electricity from the Panhandle in west Texas to population centers in east Texas, about 1000 miles of transmission was built at a capital cost of $7 billion. The entire cost was “socialized”, i.e., it appeared as a surcharge on residential electric bills. Wind in Texas would have been much more expensive, if the owning and operating cost, c/kWh, of those transmission lines were added to the cost of wind.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: Often the expensive grid connection of offshore wind plants, say from 20 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, across the island, then about 7 additional miles under water, and then to the reinforced mainland grid, is not separately stated in the capital cost estimates, i.e., all or part of it is provided by the utilities that buy the electricity under PPAs to make PPA-pricing appear smaller than in reality. That cost would be “socialized”, i.e., it appears as a surcharge on residential electric bills, or is added to the rate base.

Comment by Willem Post on October 1, 2019 at 11:01am

Lifecycle Cost Analysis of Existing and New Electricity Sources

 

This report uses publicly available data to estimate the average levelized cost of electricity from existing generation resources (LCOE-Existing), as compared to the levelized cost of electricity from new generation resources (LCOE-New) that might replace them.

 

The additional information provided by LCOE-Existing presents a more complete picture of the generation choices available to the electric utility industry, policymakers, regulators and consumers.

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/...

 

Existing coal-fired power plants can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $41 per megawatt-hour, whereas the LCOE of a new coal plant, operating at a similar duty cycle, would be $71 per MWh.

 

Similarly, existing combined-cycle gas power plants (CCGTs) can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $36 per MWh, whereas the LCOE of a new CCGT gas plant would be $50 per MWh.

 

Non-dispatchable wind and solar impose a cost on the dispatchable generators which are required to remain in service for peaking, filling in and balancing, 24/7/365, to ensure reliable electricity service.

 

Non-dispatchable means the output of wind and solar depends on factors beyond our control (the wind blowing and the sun shining) and cannot be relied upon for peaking, filling in and balancing.

 

Wind and solar increase the LCOE of dispatchable resources by reducing their utilization rates without reducing their fixed costs, resulting in a levelized fixed cost increase, i.e., higher c/kWh.

 

This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

 

The CCGT plants compensate for the erratic outputs of wind and solar by inefficiently ramping up and down their outputs at part load, and inefficiently making more frequent starts and stops.

 

All that decreases annual production of CCGT plants, adversely affects their economic viability, increases Btu/kWh and CO2/kWh, and increases wear and tear, all at no cost to the wind and solar multi-millionaires.

 

This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

 

This report estimates the “imposed cost” of solar generation at about $21 per MWh, or 2.1 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

 

As a result, existing coal ($41), CCGT gas ($36), nuclear ($33) and hydro ($38) are less than half the cost of new wind ($90) or new PV solar ($88.7), if imposed costs were included.

 

NOTE: The imposed cost on ratepayers and taxpayers of various direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies are an entirely separate issue.

Comment by Willem Post on October 1, 2019 at 11:00am

Regarding wind and solar, cost shifting is rarely mentioned, identified or quantified. Those costs, as c/kWh, could be quantified, but it is politically expedient, using various, often far-fetched reasons, to charge them to:

 

- Directly to ratepayers, via electric rate schedules, and/or added taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills

- Directly to taxpayers, such as carbon taxes, user fees and surcharges.

- Directly to federal and state budgets and debts

 

Per Economics 101, no cost ever disappears.

Eventually, the various shifted wind and solar costs, plus direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies, would increase the prices of energy and of other goods and services.

Efficiency and productivity improvements elsewhere in the energy sector, and other sectors of the economy, may partially, or completely, offset such increases.

However, wind and solar subsidies would divert capital from other sectors of the economy, which likely would result in fewer improvements in efficiency and productivity in these sectors.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-win...

Comment by Penny Gray on September 30, 2019 at 6:23pm

There is no workable plan. That's the problem.  It's all just talk.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on September 30, 2019 at 6:07pm

This leftist loon is going to cripple the states economy before her four years are up! These stupid windmills are raising the cost of electricity, almost 4X as much as current costs. No talk of hydro power, which is cheaper and dependable, and the new systems don't require dams. But these fake environmentalists won't even talk about that, it doesn't destroy the mountains which also destroys the tourism business! These leftists don't care about the citizens, they prove it daily in their actions!

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://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?" https://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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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