First and Second Quarter Capacity Factors for Maine Wind Projects

The following is a screen capture of an excel spreadsheet provided by an insightful and analytical critic of industrial wind projects in Maine.  It takes extrapolation of data from the FERC website, but it is very revealing of the pricing, income, and output of these familiar projects.  As might be expected, output is higher in the first quarter (January, February, March) as strong winds usually accompany exiting winter storms and we all know March is a windy, transition month for weather.  But look at the drop off for second quarter (April, May, June).  In Maine, April is usually as windy as March as the transition from winter to spring continues, so we should expect output to be far better.

The bottom line is, none of these projects would be profitable even with the winter output if it weren't for the PTC, selling RECs, Double Declining Balance Depreciation, investment tax credits, ARRA section 1603 funding, local TIF agreements, and all the schemes and scams available to the wind industry.

The NREL maps indicate that these projects are in poor to fair wind potential areas and these figures reflect that rating.  Since when is15.54% for a quarter's output as acceptable?  Or even the highest achievement, the 1st Q Mars Hill figure of 44.32%, since it is still unpredictable, unreliable, skittering output to the grid.

As shown with the high winter output declining, wind generated electricity is more likely to come into the grid when we need it the least and not be there when it is really need.  It cannot be called upon and dispatched to the grid.  The third quarter output will be even more miserable, encompassing July, August, September.  A personal anecdote here:  I vacationed from July 11 to July 16 at the family cottage on Silver Lake in Lee, part of the Lincoln Lakes that are now dominated by the 40 turbines of the Rollins Wind project.  The entire time I was there, I keenly observed the glorious hot and sunny weather and the Rollins turbines.  These machines barely turned the entire time I was there! 

Yet when I checked the ISO-New England website for the time period, the demand for electricity increased daily, reaching a peak on Friday the 13th and the daily contribution from all wind resources steadily dropped over the same period.  Wind power failed us.  Instead, ISO-New England got increased production from the oil fired Wyman generating plant on Cousins Island in Yarmouth (the greatest single point source of air pollution within the state of Maine).  Tragically ironic that we polluted more because "green & clean" wind power failed to produce when we needed it!

Wind power is an expensive and useless form of electricity generation.  It is neither clean nor green.  It has a large, devastating environmental footprint.  We blast away mountain ridges to erect machines as tall as Boston skyscrapers.  Proliferation of industrial wind power in Maine will ruin our cherished "Quality of Place" and ruin the livelihood of the rural Mainers who make their living in the tourism business.  The figures below show that wind power is an economic farce and it is not worth sacrificing what makes Maine special.  Let people know the pitiful record of output and let's stop the folly by spreading the facts!


The southern-most turbines of the Rollins project dominate Madagascal Pond in Burlington, one of the Lincoln Lakes.  When I took this photo, it was 88 degrees and people were cooling off in the lake.  The turbines were producing no electricity, as the breeze was so slight.  Is this the future image of inland Maine tourism?


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Comment by MaineHiker on August 19, 2012 at 4:01pm

Great article Brad! Your assessment of the energy needed at high load, the facts around that and wind power, and, your call to Arms. It is time to stop pussy footing around and take on protection through-out all of Maine's mountains and ridges, the AT and the scenic lakes

We all know our electricity rates are rising as CMP due to the costs of constructing new power-lines designed to handle the fickle trickle of electricity from the envisioned 500 ft. industrial wind turbines ruing or tourism and special places. And brad, our call to Arms

We all know that the "wind-syndrome" is real, but just what is it doing to children in the womb and happening to them in their formative years until they must suffer the head aches and insomnia as adults. What are we leaving our children?

But what does a member of the Cigar and Bourbon Club care of these things? Only what they get from it,

Comment by Willem Post on August 15, 2012 at 5:25pm

Good spreadsheet. It needs some corrections for clarity.

In the spreadsheet you should use industry standard terms.






How is the energy revenue calculated?

Additional revenue is the Production Tax Credit of 2.2 c/kWh and selling Renewable Energy Credits, RECs

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on August 14, 2012 at 9:53pm

exactly Mike..perfectly said.

Comment by Mike DiCenso on August 14, 2012 at 9:51pm

A disgusting situation for anyone who appreciates the Maine brand. I hope the hikers are paying attention. Who wants to hike thru miles of turbines? Or look at turbines instead of scenery?

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on August 14, 2012 at 4:05pm

what a sad photo...says it all

Comment by Donald Moore on August 14, 2012 at 10:26am
Running for office has infinitely better odds than playing the lottery. Except when winning, the payout is from us, the general public and from consumption of our natural resources.
Comment by Long Islander on August 14, 2012 at 9:48am

Comment by Gary Campbell on August 14, 2012 at 9:13am

Isn't it ironic that King Angus would call Maine "the Saudi Arabia of wind"?  For several years I lived in Saudi Arabia where kickbacks and graft are commonplace and accepted. And most of that graft eventually ends up in the pockets of the King's family.  Kind of like Maine.  Maybe in Saudi Arabia they want to be the "Maine of graft".

Comment by Long Islander on August 14, 2012 at 8:51am

As shown on the following wind resource map, Maine's wind is indeed poor to fair. Yet the pocket-lining hucksters take us for fools and tell us otherwise. Angus King told us "Maine is the Saudi Arabia of Wind".

In fact, our wind resource, pound for pound,  is 89% below the national average.

While we are wayyyyyyyyyyyy below the top in terms of wind power, we are # 1 in the nation in Seasonal Homes.


Although tourism is a cornerstone of our economy, the wind developers' plans would fundamentally transform the character of the Maine vacation experience by industrializing the areas that currently draw vacationers seeking natural beauty and quietude.

If you think that tampering with the Maine "brand" as such is unthinkable, think again. The carpetbaggers are busy at work doing just that.

Comment by Brad Blake on August 14, 2012 at 8:15am

My fear is when (not if) the PTC is finally eliminated, the RPS mandates will still be there and the industry will come to the utilities for these outrageously expensive long term contracts.  That will fulfill one of the most common beliefs, that wnd power will force electricity rates through the roof when it is required to be 20% or more of the mix.  Not only the actual cost of wind powered electricity, but the added transmission costs and other unnecessary costs associated with integrating this skittering power into a grid that requires stability, reliability, and predictability.

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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