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?