Gov Mills on Wind Power in State of the State

Excerpts from the speech are below. See links at bottom of this post for the full speech. Note that there is no reference in the speech to onshore wind. Onshore wind has become a very controversial topic since it was first rammed down Mainers' throats over 10 years ago. Many politicians will thus avoid its mention. However, mere avoidance of referring to onshore wind in politicians' speeches should not cause anyone to drop their guard. The threat continues to be real and various areas are presently under attack.

Remember Mills' action in February 2019: Gov Mills lifts LePage ban on new wind power permits in Maine See:

2020 State of the State Speech - Excerpts

VIIII: Climate Change
As we speak this evening, wildfires are destroying far-off Australia, killing every living thing in their path. The Bering Sea off Alaska is ice-free, while drought is paralyzing southern Africa. Maine is not immune from the damage of the climate crisis.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels — the unfortunate “footprints of human activity stomping on the atmosphere,” according to NASA, are impacting our economy, our health and our safety.
It may be easy for some to brush off the warnings of scientists on a day like today, with freezing temperatures, when a one- or two-degree hike in temperature seems harmless, even welcome.
Maine is strong. We are resilient. And we better be ready. Climate change is real. And it is affecting us as we speak:
- Fishermen tell us invasive green crabs from southern waters are eating their clams, decimating their fisheries.
- Ticks are now rampant, and the number of Lyme disease cases in Maine has increased tenfold in recent years.
- Some of our most beautiful towns, built alongside lakes, rivers and shores, may soon become year-round flood zones. Sea level rise and storm surges, in just a few years, will threaten the causeways and piers, the shops, harbors and houses of Boothbay, Belfast, Rockport, Lubec and other beautiful communities.
- And can you imagine when we might have to redesign Route 1, a main artery of our tourism industry, to avoid constant flooding?
I told the 193 delegates to the United Nations last fall, Maine Won’t Wait. And I mean it. We are not Washington. We are Maine. We can and will do our part. So, this past year, we have:
- Created the bipartisan Maine Climate Council and became the 22nd state to join the US Climate Alliance.
- Committed to achieving 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 – one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the nation.
- Opened the door to offshore wind projects, supported electric vehicles and promoted the installation of heat pumps statewide.
- Removed the cap on community solar and fixed net metering. Now, more than 300 new solar projects are in development. From a fishermen’s co-op to a capped landfill in Tremont to the Hope General Store, The Milk House in Monmouth, food pantries in Vassalboro and Saco, credit unions, apartment buildings and trailer parks, water districts, Supercuts in Brewer, farm land in Franklin County and Geiger Brothers in Lewiston — solar energy is changing the landscape and saving money for people all across the state.
- At the Blaine House alone, the new array of solar panels has already saved the equivalent of one ton of carbon dioxide emissions.
In the coming year we will continue to:
- Move away from oil as a primary source for heat.
- Reduce our reliance on gas for transportation, which is 54 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Support innovative businesses like Atlantic Sea Farms, run by Briana Warner, growing kelp commercially to diversify our aquaculture economy, while reducing ocean acidification.
- We will embrace energy storage and other new technology.
- We will further reduce emissions that harm our health and climate.
Offshore Wind
Meanwhile, all along the Northeast United States, the offshore wind industry is generating thousands of jobs in the development of thousands of giga-watts of renewable electricity. According to the International Energy Administration, offshore wind is set to become a one trillion-dollar industry by 2040.
Maine will not be left behind.
For centuries, the Gulf of Maine has sustained Maine life. From the time humans first migrated to Maine, the bounty of the sea and shore have been a critical part of our sustenance. Food, transportation, communication, recreation all have been gifts of the sea. For Maine people, the salt is in our veins.
But today, the Gulf of Maine is in trouble. Warming more quickly than nearly every ocean in the world, the Gulf of Maine’s ability to sustain its rich and diverse resources is diminishing. Cod, herring, shrimp and lobster are some of the staples of coastal life already at risk. We cannot wait to act. We are already fighting for our lobsterman and fishermen. Yet the Gulf of Maine is both our challenge and our opportunity. It is our new frontier…No, not for oil — but for wind.

Thanks to this Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission and our University, Maine will build and launch the nation’s first floating offshore wind demonstration project, “Maine Aqua Ventus”, with full input from our fishing industry and our people. And I promise you, that commitment is just the beginning of our effort to use the Gulf of Maine and all the world’s oceans to slow the warming of our planet.
We can do this.
The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, led by Dr. Habib Dagher, has already created the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine in the United States, and Maine “Aqua Ventus” is positioned to become a leader in this industry. Thank you Dr. Dagher for putting Maine on the map.
This spring I will visit Scotland to see the offshore wind platforms they are using to supply that country with clean renewable energy.

I am determined that the business we once lost to them, we will bring back to Maine. We have great potential. And in the coming weeks, my administration will be taking steps forward to unleash it. Stay tuned.

X: Utilities
Mitigating the effects of climate change and moving Maine toward a clean energy future requires that our utilities be reliable and resilient – and that they put Maine consumers first.
For years we have allowed electrical utilities a monopoly on our transmission and distribution lines. Today few are happy with the results of the regulatory framework under which these utilities operate, based primarily on setting rates that allow a reasonable profit to the utilities with little degree of benefit to the public.

I ask your guidance and your help in making sure that these foreign corporations to whom we accede the privilege of operating in our state, are answerable to Maine, not to Spain or some other foreign country.
Let’s work together to ensure that Maine consumers are at the table, that profits do not take precedence over service, and that utilities are accountable and answerable to the people of Maine.

PDF of the speech:


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Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on January 26, 2020 at 6:29pm


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


- 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.


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).


The above 6 items are entirely separate from the high levels of direct and indirect subsidies. 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”.

Comment by Willem Post on January 26, 2020 at 4:27pm

Blittersdorf threatened to move to NY if he did not get his subsidies a few years ago.
He is still here in Vermont causing trouble and lining his pockets, at the expense of all others?

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.

The corresponding SOLAR numbers are 23.5 c/kWh, 21.4 c/kWh, 11.8 c/kWh

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.

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.

Comment by Willem Post on January 26, 2020 at 4:26pm

Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street and Blittersdorf

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.

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.

– 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.

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?

Comment by Willem Post on January 26, 2020 at 4:26pm

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.”

Comment by Kenneth Capron on January 22, 2020 at 12:52pm

I don't like to put a lot of faith in the spoken word. A politician has the innate capability to stand in front of a crowd of people from whom they need votes and then lie through their teeth. And people buy it. But just like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, those words disappear as soon as it appears they may work against you (hold you accountable). Suddenly promises fall to weak memories. Great Plans become meer suggestions or brainstorming. For those of us above a certain IQ, we can see that many promises are just hot air and rhetoric. If we could just capture the huge resource that the Capital Bldg produces in hot air and methane, right? For the record, I will deny any knowledge of having said any of these words and thoughts.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 22, 2020 at 10:43am

Mills is just another flunky that's doing the bidding for King Anus(Angus King) the carpetbagger that lives on lies. Mills along with Sara Gideon, Troy Jackson, Seth Berry, Eloise Vitelli and a number of others are on a power surge to control everything in the state. They refuse to talk new technology nuclear, only big wind and big solar that decimate the wilderness and mountains. Until there is honest discussion nothing will improve, and there won't be any honest discussion until these corrupt politicians are gone!

Comment by Penny Gray on January 22, 2020 at 10:00am

Why are foreign corporations evil when they own transmission and distribution lines, (CMP/Iberdrola) but not when they own generating facilities (hydro, wind, solar LLC's--- Iberdrola and co.?)  Also, any plan to thwart climate change by reducing CO2 that doesn't bring nuclear into the discussion, front and center in a BIG way, is just more hot air being added to the atmosphere.  Filling the gulf of Maine with floating wind turbines won't wean us off fossil fuels.  Industrial wind can't exist without fossil fuels.

Comment by arthur qwenk on January 22, 2020 at 9:41am

Naivete Grows Wind Turbines!

Graft Feeds the Politicians Who Support Wind turbines.

The Threat from Onshore Wind is as Present as the  Politicians Who Support Them Are Honest.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on January 22, 2020 at 9:01am

Scotland has been ruined too an equally beautiful place so what?

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on January 22, 2020 at 9:00am

if we plan to move away from oil how about the 400 gallons in each wind turbine to start?

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."


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


(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 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?" 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.”

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