Maine Wind Weak: UMPI Wind Turbine Celebrates One Year Anniversary

The $ 2 million UMPI wind turbine was commissioned exactly one year ago. Since that time, our elected officials gave praise (see below) , a film about the turbine was made, budget cuts had to be made within the university system and the famous turbine's long expected goal of 1,000,000 KWH of electricity ended up overshooting reality by 65%. Efficiency was only 11.6% of capacity.

Commercial wind operations do not reveal their wind production data because they claim it is confidential. We know better that the real reason is the electricity production is embarassingly low, which is OK for these ridgetop destroyers and disturbers of the peace, because the real way they make their money is collecting government production credits, Stimulus dollars and selling wholly misguided carbon credits. (There is virtually no CO2 reduction despite the millions of dollars they put behind public relations claiming there is). And after all that Joe the Taxpayer gives them, they then require that Jane the Ratepayer foots the bill for the transmission they need, although government officials never tell you this and make up other rationale for the BILLIONS in required tran$mission upgrades.

So here we are, exactly one year gone by and the turbine's 609,251 KWH produced is shy of the 1,000,000 KWH goal. This sort of miss cannot be characterized in any other way than huge.

What makes this significant, is that the state's official policy rushed through the legislature by Governor Baldacci calls for a fundamental transformation of our state's Quality of Place by sprawling industrial wind complexes and their hundreds of miles of new roads and mammoth new transmission. Yet, all of this decision making that would alter the very reason many of us live here was not based on empirical research conducted by the state. The $ 2 million UMPI experiment thus represents the largest empirical research to date conducted by the state and the results tell us that something is terribly wrong and very much in contradiction of the claims made by the wind industry, the industry that lobbied for the expedited legislation and the industry that refuses to reveal this sort of production data for itself.

Other public glimpses into commercial scale wind power include Saco and Kittery, where both of these municipalities have suffered unbridled failures with their turbines. What is it going to take for the Governor to call a moratorium on this? The facts are in Governor - $2 million dollars of them and you can no longer ignore them.

We have also clearly shown during this time that the efficaciousness of the Governor's planned wind assault on Maine in terms of annual "global cooling" is equivalent to what is accomplished naturally by only 1% of the good old Maine woods, the same Maine woods that the wind power interlopers are clear cutting and poisoning.

Please read about this by clicking on: We have used NRCM's own carbon numbers for this.

Thus the environmental groups need to be asked - What are you doing? Or perhaps more importantly, WHY?

These are places you protected your whole careers and now you suddenly condone their destruction - the blasting of mountaintops, the eradication of fragile mountaintop vegetation, the clearcutting of forests, the siltation of streams and lakes, the elimination of trout habitat, the wholesale wildlife habitat fragmentation caused by 360 miles of turbines and hundreds of miles of roads and transmission, the poisoning of our environment, the dicing of raptors by 200 mph blade tips as they look to the ground for prey, the explosion of bats' lungs by pressure induced barotrauma...not to mention the torture of that species you tend to forget, Homo Sapiens, as well as his habitat and his wallet. Why are you doing this? Your CO2 argument is not real.

And if you are so concerned about the effects of midwestern coal plants sending pollution our way, why not advocate for reallocating all wind subsidies in Maine to stack cleaning out there?

Winston Churchill said that "All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes".

As we look back on this last year, we can also look back at the last week, which Governor Baldacci declared "Maine Wind Week". Many festivities were organized including bus trips to wind complexes where employees of the wind industry posing as just regular people told reporters that "These turbines are quiet - and beautiful" and students were led into considering wind as a career like the childrem of Hamelin were led into the river.

Yet amidst all of this tremendous hype, there has not been a single mention of the UMPI's one year anniversary or its abysmal failure.

Now what do you suppose is up with that?

From one year ago:

UMPI hosts wind turbine commissioning event

Wind CeremonyOn Thursday, May 14, at 11 a.m. in the Campus Center, the University hosted an environmentally-friendly ceremony to mark the first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a Maine university campus. State and local dignitaries - including UMPI President Don Zillman; Sumul Shah, President of Lumus Construction, Inc.; Commissioner Vendean Vafiades of the Maine Public Utilities Commission; University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude; representatives of Maine's Congressional Delegation; and Presque Isle City Manager Tom Stevens - gathered with campus and community members for the ceremonial commissioning of the University's 600 kW wind turbine.

The first half of the event, at the Campus Center, included remarks by local and state officials as well as a short presentation on how the University's wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will be delivered to the campus buildings it will power.

The second half of the event, at the wind turbine site, included a Native American drumming song and a ribbon cutting featuring the release of environmentally-friendly, dove-shaped, paper balloons (similar balloons were released during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan). The ceremonial commissioning also featured the release of more than 100 small, paper whirligigs from the top of the turbine tower.

Refreshments and videos showcasing UMPI's wind turbine installation were available inside the Campus Center following the ceremony.

For more information about this event or about the University's Wind Turbine Project, please contact the Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452.

Wind turbine dedicated in Presque Isle

University hopes to save about $100,000 a year
By Jen Lynds
BDN Staff
Officials dedicated the new windmill at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Thursday. Buy Photo

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A whipping wind welcomed guests Thursday to the University of Maine at Presque Isle as the same element that blew guests’ hair askew was introduced as the new power source for the campus.

UMPI officially commissioned its new windmill in front of more than 70 people during a ceremony that lasted more than an hour. Presque Isle is the first university campus in the state, and one of only a handful in New England, to install a midsize wind turbine to generate power.

After a few more diagnostic tests, the turbine will begin spinning in mid-May.

The ceremony was held two years after university officials announced their intention to move forward with installing a 600-kilowatt windmill on campus.

Thursday’s fete took place on a day in which a high-wind warning was in effect across several parts of the state. Guests hunched over, bracing themselves against the gusts, and clutched hats and sunglasses to keep them from being blown away when the ceremony briefly moved outside.

The commissioning event featured remarks by local and state officials, while a presentation explained how UMPI’s wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will get from the turbine to campus buildings.

UMPI President Don Zillman said the $2 million turbine project will help fight climate change while reducing the college’s nearly $370,000 annual electric bill.

Lumus Construction Inc. was the general contractor that installed the wind turbine on the northern Maine campus. Company officials attended the ceremony.

Local contractors also assisted with the project.

University officials anticipate the turbine will produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year and save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. Once fully operational, the windmill is expected to save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year.

The windmill is located approximately 30 yards from the baseball fields.

Representatives from U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe’s and Susan Collins’ offices, along with a representative from Rep. Mike Michaud’s office, spoke on behalf of each dignitary during the event. All congratulated UMPI on the successful project.

Snowe said in a written statement that the project “was an ambitious goal to reduce the energy costs and carbon footprint of the UMPI campus,” while Collins said that “creative approaches to energy,” such as the turbine installed by UMPI, “are what we need on a national scale to achieve American energy independence.”

Michaud said UMPI was leading by example, adding that using wind and other domestically available renewable energy resources “is crucial to ensuring that we have access to clean, reliable, diversified and affordable electricity for generations to come.”

University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude said the board of trustees was “proud of this wonderful accomplishment.”

“This doesn’t happen easily,” he said Thursday after acknowledging the effort put forth to bring the project to fruition.

The project was financed by UMPI’s internal savings, together with a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Thursday’s commissioning also featured an American Indian drumming song at the turbine site, along with the release of environmentally friendly balloons after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

To view photos, videos and more details about the project, visit

From November 2009:

wind 101

Film on UMPI windmill to premiere Thursday

By Jen Lynds
BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For many people in the city area, the wind turbine project at the University of Maine at Presque Isle seemed to go pretty quickly. One day, they heard news that UMPI would build the windmill, a few months later the equipment was hauled onto campus, and in a few more months the massive turbine was spinning.

But there was much more to the process than that, all of which was preserved on film by UMPI. Now the university will share that footage with the public in a documentary premiering on Thursday evening.

The official film premiere of “Wind 101: The University of Maine at Presque Isle Builds a Wind Turbine,” will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Braden Theater.

The half-hour-long, high-definition film, directed by local videographer and filmmaker Frank Grant and narrated by longtime theater professor Joseph Zubrick, follows the step-by-step process it took for UMPI to complete this major renewable energy project. The film shows the process from the first energy survey to the last windmill installation detail, together with the bumps encountered along the way.

The film also shows the work the university did to turn the project into an educational opportunity for its students and the community.

UMPI President Don Zillman said Tuesday that he has seen snippets of the film but will watch the entire premiere with the rest of the community.

“I think the film captures very nicely what we went through to make this happen,” said Zillman. “It was a great experience and I am looking forward to see it on the big screen.”

The night of the film premiere is an important anniversary for UMPI: On Nov. 19, 2008, construction work officially began on the university’s 600-kilowatt wind turbine, the first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a university campus in Maine.

The turbine is expected to produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. It is expected to save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year, or the equivalent of removing 123 cars from the road.

Campus officials said that on many days the wind turbine has generated enough electricity to supply all of the university’s energy needs.

The wind is expected to blow harder and more consistently during the winter months, and officials are waiting to see how the turbine performs in its first year.

The university announced plans to move forward on a wind turbine project in May 2007. The college received support from the Maine Army National Guard, which made improvements to the road leading to the turbine site. Construction work began in November 2008. In late February 2009, the tower parts, which were manu-factured in North Dakota, began arriving. In April, the blades, hub and nacelle — manufactured in India — were delivered, and in just four days, the turbine was completely assembled. It began spinning in mid-May.

Funding for the project came from campus reserves built up through more than 20 years. The university received a $50,000 Voluntary Renewable Resources Fund grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission to go toward the project. The college also received assistance from the Rebuild America grant program through Ef-ficiency Maine.

The film features footage that takes the viewer into the classroom, out into the field, and up to the top of the wind turbine.

Zillman said Tuesday that officials did not immediately know they wanted to make a video about the process, but felt it was necessary to film as many of the events as possible.

“We knew that if we did not have footage of certain events, like the equipment being delivered and the parts going up, we would be kicking ourselves,” he said. “So we just started filming things.”

After the premiere, the film will be shown to students and staff at UMPI. After that, Zillman said the campus is interested in distributing a DVD to a wider audience.

There are only 144 seats in the theater and ticket sales are on a first-come, first-served basis. After the film, there will be a short question-and-answer session with filmmakers and university officials involved in the project.

Tickets are $10 each and are available at Morning Star Art and Framing on Main Street or at the UMPI Conferences and Special Programs Office in the Campus Center.

For information, call 768-9452 or visit


From 3 Days Ago

Kittery will sell failed wind turbine

Town expects to receive less in return than it paid

By Charles McMahon

May 11, 2010 2:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — The Town Council on Monday night unanimously agreed to offload a wind turbine that failed to live up to its expectations and will now look to sell the alternative energy equipment for much less than the town paid for it.

By a vote of 7-0, the council agreed to consider a proposal from Western Community Energy of Portland, Ore., for the sale of the turbine and the pole for $130,000.

The equipment was sold to the town for $191,000 in October 2008 by a company called Entegrity after it had been vetted by the town energy committee and the council.

Installed near the town transfer station, the 50-kilowatt turbine failed significantly, only producing less than 11 kilowatt hours of electricity.

When the town realized last year the turbine was not producing up to expectations, arrangements were made with Entegrity to repurchase the equipment. The business ultimately went bankrupt and no payments were made.

Town Manager Jon Carter said the town maintained communication with Entregrity's owner, Jim Heath, and recently received a proposal that would allow for the sale of the failed equipment.

"He continues to indicate he wishes to make good on his repurchase agreement," Carter said.

The council previously discussed the possible sale of the turbine at its last meeting and came up with several questions.

Carter reported to the council that Heath would receive no commission on the sale, and the state approved taking $34,214 in repayment for a $50,000 grant received to help purchase the equipment.

Carter said the payment of $130,000, once finalized through a purchase and sale agreement, would be wired to the town's bank account and the cost of dismantling the equipment would be incurred by the buyer.

He added that if the town were ever to get into the alternative energy business again, it would already have a platform and associated wiring installed.

Councilor Frank Dennett said he wasn't happy about having to sell the equipment, but in hindsight it should not have been approved in the first place.

"That's what you get when you listen to Ph.D.s," Dennett said. "Lesson learned. Once burned, twice cautious."


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Comment by Brad Blake on May 14, 2010 at 10:36pm
Long Islander, not much more to add, as you have covered this well. It is such a symbol of the wind scam. All the ballyhoo and extensive PR spin about these things, but total silence, whether it is UMPI or First Wind or whomever, about the actual production.

Here's my take: as long as you are using our taxpayer money, whether a public institution or a private company, we have a right to know all the metrics of the performance of your turbines. Don't forget that every industrial turbine built in Maine has heavy government subsidies; without the subsidies, there is no wind industry at all. Even more to the point, Stetson II was mothballed until First Wind received an outright grant of $40 million of taxpayers' money to build it. In essence, those turbines belong as much to the people of the USA as the UMPI turbine belongs to the people of Maine.

Full disclosure, wind industry! Just what are those turbines doing---or, I'm sure, NOT doing! They are quick to go silent on failure even as they continue to push this destructive, costly source of power onto Maine.
Comment by Lyle on May 14, 2010 at 10:16pm
Oi Harrison.

They have all been lobbying this week in the State house to pass the CPM upgrade and persuade the Senators to Pass The American Powers Act.

You think they give an iota about a $2m experiment that shows Turbines in Maine produce a little over 11% of capacity?

Get a grip Man.

Hey, I got a beautiful house in Danforth bloody cheap now if you pay cash! Right near BEAUTIFUL TURBINE LADEN RIDGETOPS. The town is thriving after First Wind left town. Never seen it so busy. New businesses and hope and change in the air. Buy now you'll not regret it.

I'm out of here and good luck to all the stinky political and business crooks in Maine. I hope they drown in their own vomit.
Comment by Harrison Roper on May 14, 2010 at 5:43pm
By my figuring, the UMPI turbine averaged just under 1643 kwh per day power output for its first full year of operation. That's 609152 kwh for the year divided by 365 days; or 60.9251% of predicted annual output of 1,000,000 kwh. It's all on their website at\ . Kudos to UMPI for being upfront about it. Yes, al lof us Mainers know it was a pretty quiet winter.
First Wind, in contrast, is being resoundingly silent about the output from their turbines. It is interesting that the highly touted "Maine Wind Power Week", going on now, has not included anything about UMPI turbine. Perhaps that is because the output of the huge turbines at Stetson and Mars Hill is a sactred "competitive secret", whereas smaller UMPI turbine's output is posted daily at and has nothing to do with First Wind's profit and is embarrising ly small.
Cone on, First Wind - fess up! How much power have you actually been getting from your subsidized turbines? Why don't you tell us? After all, our tax dollars are subsidizing your turbines. In fact, without those tax dollars, would the turbines even exist?
Harrison Roper

First Prize

NE Book Festival


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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