I recently found the listing of grants that have been awarded via Section 1603 of ARRA.  This program is fortunately ending at the end of 2012, but any wind project that shows a "substantial" start on a project before then (such as beginning construction on an access road beyond just tree clearing) will be grandfathered in to this gift of taxpayer money.  The Obama administration used the Recovery Act as a way to boost an industry that can't stand on its own.  In lieu of the PTC for ten years, based on output, the Sec. 1603 gave outright cash worth 30% of a project's construction cost when it was accepted.

Here is the list of projects in Maine, the grant amount and the date awarded:

 

ARRA Sec.1603 Grants Awarded to Maine Wind Projects

 

Name of Project                                  Grant Amount                        Date

 

Evergreen Wind Power III, LLC                         $53,246,347                                   12/29/2011

Evergreen Wind Power V, LLC                          $40,441,471                                       9/1/2009

Stetson Wind II, LLC                                        $19,328,865                                     5/27/2010

TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc.    $44,591,705                                     3/24/2011

 

Notes:  Evergreen III is the “Rollins Project" in Lincoln Lakes region; Evergreen V is the original Stetson Mt. project near Prentiss; the TransCanada is the Kibby Mt. project near Chain of Lakes & Eustis.

 

A few interesting notes.  The Rollins Project, shown above, was always quoted as costing "about" $130 million.  Yet if the ARRA grant is $53,246,347  and that is 30% of the total cost, then that inflates the total cost to $177,487,823, some $47 million more!  What accounts for that?  Surely the delay caused by opposition by Friends of Lincoln Lakes shouldn't account for that.  Did actual cost exceed projections by that much?  Did First Wind pad figures to maximize their cash grant?  I believe it is worthy of investigation.  In any event, that figure pushes the cost per MW of installed capacity (60 MW) to $2.958 million per MW and with initial capacity factor figures estimated by FERC & ISO-New England at 17%, the actual output cost soars to $17.4 million per MW!

The other point to make here is about Stetson II, which received a paltry $19,328,865 through ARRA.  But this is the project that had been mothballed in 2009, with First Wind teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and no sources of financing.  The initial round of Economic Stimulus by the Obama administration included cash grants to renewable energy companies.  First Wind received $115 million, of which $40.4 million was allocated to finishing Stetson II.  So add the two grants together and outright cash grants of taxpayer money to an unworthy company is $59.7 million for a 25.5 MW project less than half the size of Rollins.  This is truly an outrage to support something that doesn't work, that does such environmental damage, at a time that we can't balance the Federal budget.  It has to stop!

The last point is to remind everyone that the welfare to these companies provided by the taxpayers extends to the local level.  Every one of the projects listed above receives Tax Increment Financing (TIF), whereby roughly half (depending on the specifics of the negotiated TIF) of the property taxes that would be owed during the lifetime of a project are rebated back to the developer.  Stetson I & II has a TIF with Washington County; Kibby has a TIF with Franklin County; Rollins has TIFs with Lincoln, Lee, Winn, and Burlington.  Use of TIF for wind projects is an outrageous mis-application of TIF as an economic development tool. 

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Comment by Brad Blake on November 8, 2012 at 8:20pm

Update!  Since this table of Sec. 1606 grants was posted, Record Hill Wind, LLC  was awarded $33,736,709. on 6/8/2012.  Record Hill was developed by Independence Wind, led by now US Senator-elect Angus King.  King also used his influence and connections in the Obama administration to obtain a taxpayer backed loan guarantee of $102 million.  

Record Hill, LLC was so desperate to meet loan obligations that it cashed in on the ARRA Sec. 1603 grant.  However, it no longer will have the PTC and in selling electricity into a market that has prices suppressed by the low cost of natural gas, may not earn enough revenue to pay the loans, defaulting and having the taxpayers pay. 

Comment by Norman Mitchell on May 18, 2012 at 4:50pm

talk about corporate welfare where is the occupy movement on this outrage !!!!!????

Comment by Eric Rosenbloom on May 18, 2012 at 10:16am

The Section 1603 grant program actually ended at then end of 2011, although if construction was begun before then, the grant can still be applied for.

This is great information, Brad — thanks!

Comment by Alleghney Front Alliance - AFA - on May 18, 2012 at 8:49am

Remember big Industrial Wind is not clean, not green and is an expensive failed energy system. Expensive for the ratepayers and all taxpayers. It is time to end this corporate welfare program. The Pinnacle Wind Project, an Edison Mission Energy, project will be awarded nearly $40 million dollars. Now according to the Jackson & Kelly (law firm) indicates the project is now up to $150 million dollars. For all wind projects...there is no accountability and transparency. 

Here is a link to keep current as the awards are made  http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/recovery/pages/1603.aspx 

 

For some twenty years, Big Industrial Wind has been robbing the US taxpayer. Shameful Edison Mission Energy continues to refinance their projects, while they received US Treasure dollars. Washington may want to call it a Recovery Act program but it really represents _ Corporate Welfare!  Remove the tax goodies and Industrial Wind will blow away.  Keep telling the story. 

 

Comment by Long Islander on May 18, 2012 at 7:37am

Here's a very simple action:

1. Go to http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-business-model-of-lie...

2. Read the PDF file

3. Forward a copy of the PDF to an elected official and tell them you are outraged and want them to help us put an end to this madness.

Contact info for for public officials can be found here:

http://www.windtaskforce.org/page/contact-your-public-offi

Comment by Long Islander on May 18, 2012 at 7:30am

Perhaps we need a law requiring that anytime the word "grant" is used, it is followed in parentheses by the words "outright gift".

The media will make a big deal if someone wins a few million dollars in the lottery. But when a company like First Wind is simply HANDED $113 million, as shown above, it's basically not even news. Our money is being given away to crafty insiders, the media look the other way and most citizens are not even aware of what is going on. It would seem that it is our civic duty to educate others and do whatever we can to stop the madness. We will win this thing if we proceed undeterred.

The summer season is just about upon us. Please everyone have conversations with all the seasonal visitors, camp owners, etc. and enlist them in our cause. Send them to these websites, tell them how they can help, ask them to contact their legislators, ask them to talk to others, etc. 

There are now tens of thousands of the wind disenfranchised in this state and the number grows every day. Consider the progress we will make if everyone were to take even the smallest action. The possibilities are truly huge and ours for the taking.

Please, whether it's picking up the phone to a friend, educating a seasonal visitor, writing a letter to the editor, submitting an op-ed piece, meeting with an elected official or educating a candidate, a small action multiplied by our great numbers will create a thunderous effect. If you are one who supports the cause but has simply looked on approvingly at others' actions while not jumping in yourself, please, please think about taking even the smallest of actions and then going forth with it soon.

Comment by Lynne Williams on May 18, 2012 at 7:19am
Thank u brad, as we head into the next battle for passadumkeag mtn and environs, knowledge, as always, is power. Lynne
Comment by freemont tibbetts on May 18, 2012 at 7:05am

       I thank you Brad Blake for the info. on Tax Increment Financing ( TIF ). I will print this out and put it in the mail box"s of Steve Donahue, Katherine Harvey, Bob Withrow, Norine Clarke, Malcolm Gill, of Dixfield Select Board and I will give one to Gene Skibitsky T M of the Town Dixfield Maine. Brad I am a  Proud Old Man to have you as friend fighting this BIG WIND SCAM IN THIS GREAT STATE OF MAINE.     Freemont Tibbetts 37. Bruce Tibbetts DR. Dixfield.  

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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