The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an energy and water funding bill that includes support for several research and development projects at the University of Maine. 

The bill is expected to provide funding for UMaine’s offshore wind energy demonstration project, Aqua Ventus, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Also included is support for a program to create energy-efficient, high-rise mass timber building systems.

Collins is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which advanced the fiscal year 2020 funding bill yesterday.

Wind 

As one of UMaine’s signature projects, New England Aqua Ventus I may soon be the first floating, deepwater offshore wind turbines in the United States. Aqua Ventus is one of two offshore wind demonstration projects included under a $10 million provision for large turbines. The bill also includes $4 million for manufacturing large wind blades. Part of the manufacturing process is expected to utilize UMaine’s new 3D printer, to produce portions of the blades and their molds.

In June, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law an offshore wind-power development bill that required Maine's Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for the Aqua Ventus project. In the pilot, supported by $39.9 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy, the turbines are to be assembled in Maine and floated off the coast, where they will provide clean energy for the state.

"This is outstanding news for renewable ocean energy research and development for Maine and for the country,” Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, said in the release.

“This funding will ensure that Maine and the U.S. will continue to lead in developing offshore wind technology, mitigate climate change and create thousands of green energy jobs. Harnessing just 3% of the Gulf of Maine offshore wind resource is enough to heat every home in Maine and convert every car into electricity, allowing us to keep more than $3 billion per year in Maine.” 

Read the full article here:

https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/fed-funds-will-go-to-umaine-wind-e...

also

https://www.collins.senate.gov/newsroom/win-umaine-energy-and-water...

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Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:51am

CO2 Reduction due to Wind Turbines Much Less Than Claimed

 

The Irish Grid

Studies of operating conditions of the Irish grid performed a few years ago showed, at 17% wind on the grid, about 55% of the CO2 was reduced due to wind, instead of the claimed 100%. At higher wind percentages, the percent CO2 reduction would be even less.

 

NOTE: The mantra often promulgated by pro-wind folks is one MWh of wind displaces one MWh of other generation, and as wind uses no fuel there is no CO2, but other generation does use fuel, so that CO2 is avoided. That turned out to be of advantage to pro-wind folks, but is, in fact, highly simplistic.

 

In Ireland, there were years of denial and ignoring of various studies by independent energy systems analysts. Dr. Fred Udo was one of the early analysts of the Irish grid to point out the discrepancy. He was ignored at that time. Another study showed the gas turbines operated near 40% efficiency at 17% wind, whereas, at zero wind, they operated at near 50% efficiency. At that time, the Irish grid had only a minor connection to the UK grid. 

 

The undeniable tip-off was Irish gas imports, which had been predicted to decrease as wind would increase, but had, in fact, notdecreased as much as predicted. After much back and forth, the government finally launched an inquiry, which revealed the inefficient operation of the gas turbines at part load (more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to the variable, intermittent output of the wind turbines, and their more frequent start/stop operations (high Btu/kWh, high CO2/kWh).

 

Since that time, the Irish grid acquired large capacity connections to the UK and French grids to spread the “discrepancy” over a much larger grid area, which makes it nearly invisible. A Brussels PR problem solved. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fuel-and-co2-reductions...

 

The New England Grid

Future wind on the NE grid is planned to be about 20% by 2025, i.e., higher than the 17% in Ireland a few years ago, and the NE grid has only minor connections to nearby grids, the same as Ireland a few years ago.

 

At the higher wind percentages, the NE percent CO2 reduction would be even less than 55%, i.e., expensive or inexpensive, variable/intermittent wind is no panacea regarding reducing CO2 and ameliorate global warming.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-win...

 

DUCK Curves: DUCK curves due to daytime solar, a minor problem in not-so-sunny Ireland, would impart an additional worsening of grid stability problems after solar would become a significant percentage on the NE grid at noontime in the future.

 

Dealing with the down ramping in the morning as solar is increasing, and the up ramping in the afternoon/early evening as solar is decreasing would impart additional cost/kWh on owners of traditional generators. They likely would be compensated by means of capacity payments by ISO-NE. Those payments should be charged to the disturbers, the solar system owners. However the payments likely would be socialized, i.e., charged to ratepayers/taxpayers.

 

NOTE: If solar system owners were required to install batteries, then the down/up ramping would be avoided, but that would place a cost burden on solar system owners and there would be no end to their complaints.

 

 

Multi-Day Wind/Solar Lulls: Also, during simultaneous wind/solar lulls, which occur at random throughout the year, and may last up to 7 days, a full complement of traditional generation plants and energy storage sources must be available, 24/7/365, to serve NE demand, including future EVs and heat pumps. That storage must be replenished in a timely manner to serve a second lull, which may occur a few days after the first lull. See URLs.

 

The mantra often promulgated by pro-wind folks is “the wind always blows somewhere”. However, weather systems tend to be 500 to 1000 miles long and wide. Any surpluswind electricity would have to come from at least 1000 miles away, which would require high voltage DC lines, as the transmission losses of high voltage AC lines would be too large, plus it would require very robust connections between the NE and nearby grids. Dealing with the wind/solar lull problems would impart additional cost/kWh that likely would not be charged to wind turbine owners but to ratepayers/taxpayers.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-energy-l...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-win...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/analysis-of-a-6-day-lul...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant...

Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:47am

Dear Mr. Greg Kesich, Editor Portland Press Herald

 

(Mr. Greg suggested I write an op-ed regarding the referenced PPH article, so here it is.)

 

This op-ed is in reference to an article on floating wind turbines off the coast of Maine in the Portland Press Herald, dated 20 May 2019.

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/05/20/our-view-blown-off-course-ma...

 

The article states, Statoil had proposed a $120 million demonstration project for two 6 MW Hywind turbines ($10,000/kW) off Boothbay Harbor, but that Governor Page had rejected it. As you recall, his main reason was the higher electricity prices Joe and Jane Worker/Ratepayer would have to pay for 20 years.

 

The article states, Statoil instead took its project to Scotland, where it has invested more than $200 million for five 6 MWHywind turbines. After some checking, the actual turnkey cost turned out to be $263 million.

 

Scotland got the turbines at $8,767/kW in 2017, but Maine would have gotten the same turbines at $10,000/kW.

 

The article states, “.....and given that country (Scotland) a head start on establishing itself as developer, manufacturer and exporter of offshore technology. Such potential was recognized by the wind energy task force, which was created in 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci and released its findings in December 2009.”

 

That statement is highly naïve and unrealistic. Norway has invested billions of dollars in infrastructures to develop specialized facilities and seagoing ships for shallow-water and deep-water wind turbines during the past 10 - 15 years. Norway has absolutely no intention of establishing Scotland and Maine as competitors.

 

The Scotland/UK actual contributions to the project were:

 

1) Scotland making some parts that were shipped to Norway for assembly

2) Scotland providing the site 18 miles from shore to minimize visual impacts from shore.

3) The UK providing a subsidy of 18.5 c/kWh, plus Statoil selling electricity at about 6.5 c/kWh on the wholesale market, for a total wholesale cost of 25 c/kWh for 20 years. This compares with New England wholesale prices averaging about 5 c/kWh since 2008.

4) The Scotland people paying higher prices/kWh for low-value, variable/intermittent electricity for 20 years that requires the services of other generators for peaking, filling in and balancing year-round. Statoil had to provide a 1.0 MWh li-ion battery system, at a capital cost of about $700,000, to help smooth the flow of the variable electricity from Hywind to minimize disturbances of the Scotland grid.

 

NOTE: If Maine government would have insisted Statoil would build significant infrastructure in Portland, ME, or elsewhere in Maine, Statoil, if willing to do so, would merely have increased the cost of the electricity, c/kWh, to cover its additional costs.

 

NOTE: Massachusetts has signed contracts for 800 MW of offshore wind turbines south of Martha’s Vineyard. If the state government would have insisted the consortium of European companies would build significant infrastructure in New Bedford, MA, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, the consortium, if willing to do so, would merely have increased the cost of the electricity, c/kWh, to cover its additional costs. However, Governor Baker insisted on lowest electricity cost, as that would benefit all of Massachusetts, not just New Bedford, etc. Counting votes is important. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/iso-ne-study-of-1600-mw...

Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:45am

Extremely Adverse Impact on CMP Electric Rates

 

LePage’s energy director, Steven McGrath, has focused exclusively on the cost of electricity from the demonstration project.

 

The rate is at least FOUR TIMES above wholesale market value, reflecting the custom design and experimental nature of the platforms.

 

It would start at 23 cents per kilowatt-hour in the first year, escalating at 2.5% per year to 35 cents after 20 years.

 

The PUC estimates it would add up to $208 million over the term, or about $10.5 million a year from Central Maine Power ratepayers. Maine Aqua Ventus had calculated the extra cost would add 73 cents a month to the average household electric bill, in the first year of operation, more thereafter..

  

That is a total rip-off, because Massachusetts pays only an average of 8 - 9 c/kWh over the life of the project.

Main bureaucrats need to learn from Governor Baker.

 

NOTE: The above prices should be compared with NE wholesale prices, which have been about 5 c/kWh since 2008, courtesy of abundant, domestic, low-cost, low-CO2 electricity from gas at about 5 c/kWh, and low-cost, near CO2-free electricity from nuclear at about 4.5 - 5.0 c/kWh.

 

This project is insanity on STEROIDS.

 

One has to feel sorry for the already-struggling Joe and Jane Workers in Maine who will ultimately pay for all this.

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/01/effort-to-build-offshore-win...

Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:45am

600-ft Tall Hywind Turbines Highly Visible From Mohegan Island, Plus Infrasound

 

The 600-ft tall Hywind wind turbines would be highly visible from Mohegan Island, if they were located TWO MILES east of the island.

 

At that distance, the problem would not be just cyclical, audible noises keeping people awake, but also low frequency infrasound, which can travel many miles, and passes through walls of houses, and can be felt but not heard, and has been shown to have adverse health impacts on people and animals.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-turbine-noise-adve...

 

The FAA-required aviation beacons would be clearly visible during nighttime. BTW, they would need to be located about 15 - 20 miles away from Mohegan Island to be unobtrusive to the Islanders.

 

Here is a research report of daytime and nighttime visibility of wind turbines that are about 3 to 4 MW and about 500 ft tall. See URL with photos.

http://visualimpact.anl.gov/offshorevitd/docs/OffshoreVITD.pdf

 

“Study objectives included identifying the maximum distances the facilities could be seen in both daytime and nighttime views and assessing the effect of distance on visual contrasts associated with the facilities. Results showed that small to moderately sized facilities were visible to the unaided eye at distances greater than 42 km [26 miles (mi)], with turbine blade movement visible up to 39 km (24 mi). At night, aerial hazard navigation lighting was visible at distances greater than 39 km (24 mi). The observed wind facilities were judged to be a major focus of visual attention at distances up to 16 km (10 mi), were noticeable to casual observers at distances of almost 29 km (18 mi), and were visible with extended or concentrated viewing at distances beyond 40 km (25 mi).”

 

One has to feel sorry for all the residents of Mohegan Island, but the bureaucrats in Augusta, Maine, do not care about that, because there are not enough votes to stop them. Those bureaucrats are hell-bent to use federal and state grants, subsidies, taxpayer and ratepayer money of already-struggling Joe and Jane Worker to save the world, and to enrich a host of multi-millionaires seeking tax shelters. See Appendix.

 

Some Questions

 

Who are these Aqua Ventus multi-millionaire owners pushing for this expensive project?

How much would be the subsidies?

What would be the energy cost/kWh?

How long would the project last before it would have to be repaired?

How would it be repaired?

Would any special ships, facilities be required?

Does Maine have the required, at least 100-meter, deep-water port?

Is anyone looking at the entire picture on an A to Z basis, or are Maine bureaucrats just dreaming/prattling about castles in Spain?

Does anyone think the Norwegians would not want to make money to maintain/service and provide spare parts for their Hywind wind turbines?

Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:44am

School Students Playing with Floating Wind Turbines

 

The main objective with floating wind turbines is to isolate the wind turbine from any wave action, including 30 - 40 ft waves. That can only be done with a long, submerged extension of the wind turbine mast, with a heavy weight inside the bottom of the extension (ballast) to keep the wind turbine steady and upright.

 

Dr. Habib Dagher, Executive Director of the Advanced Structures & Composites Center, should have watched the youtube video, and then given proper instructions to teachers all over Maine, so those teachers could have educated these students regarding the physical requirements, to ensure these students would not waste their valuable time and money building inappropriate models. See URLs and watch both videos.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmkA6hbJ_j8

https://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Students-compete-to-build-most-sta...

Comment by Willem Post on September 14, 2019 at 9:43am

Maine would have to spend at least several hundred million on infrastructures to manufacture, assemble, and tow the one or two FLOATING wind turbines to the site and anchor them.

They should be at least 10 to 12 miles from ANY land otherwise they would be highly disturbingly visible, with 24-h strobe lights, etc., to residents on any nearby islands.

FOR REFERENCE, that distance is required for any FUTURE offshore wind turbines south of Martha's Vineyard, MA.

First Experimental Floating Wind Turbine in Norway

 

Equinor (formerly Statoil, a Norwegian government controlled company) launched the world's first operational deep-water, floating large-capacity wind turbine in 2009. The turbine trade name is “Hywind”.

 

The wind turbine consists of a 120 m (390 ft) tall tower, above the sea water level, and a 60 m (195 ft) submerged extension below the sea water level, with a heavy weight at the bottom to keep the wind turbine steady and upright, even with very high waves and strong wind conditions. The design was tested and perfected under storm and wind conditions simulated in a laboratory.

 

The 2.3 MW wind turbine is mounted on top of the tower. It was fully assembled in a deep-water harbor near Stavanger, Norway.

 

It was towed to a site 10 km (6.2 mi) offshore into the Amoy Fjord in 220 m (720 ft) deep water, near Stavanger, Norway, on 9 June 2009, for a two-year test run, which turned out to be successful.

 

First Commercial Floating Wind Turbine Plant in Scotland

 

Hywind Scotland project is the world's first commercial wind turbine plant using floating wind turbines.

 

It is located 29 km (EIGHTEEN MILES) off PeterheadScotland to minimize visual impacts from shore.

It has five Hywind floating turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW.

It is operated by Hywind (Scotland) Limited, a joint venture of Equinor, Norway (75%) and Masdar, Kuwait (25%).

 

In 2015, Equinor received permission to install 5 Hywind turbines in Scotland.  

 

Manufacturing started in 2016 in Spain (wind turbine, rotor), Norway (tower, underwater base, assembly), and Scotland (various parts)

The turnkey capital cost was $263 millionfor five 6 MW turbines, or $8,767/kW.

They were designed to float on the surface, with about 180 m (600 ft) above the sea water level and 80 m (265 ft) submerged below the seawater level.

Total steel weight is about 2300 metric ton, total ballasted weight is about 20,000 metric ton.

Heavy weights in the bottom of the submerged parts serve to keep them steady and upright.

 

The turbines were assembled at Stord in Norway in the summer of 2017, using the specialized Saipem 7000 floating crane, and then towed to the north of Scotland by sea-going tugboats.

Make sure to see the videos showing the crane assembling the entire wind turbine.

Nothing like that exists in Maine, or in the rest of New England.

That means offshore wind turbine assembly and servicing would largely be performed by foreign companies, which already have built the infrastructures and other facilities during the past 25 years.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUlfvXaISvc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmkA6hbJ_j8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQVU7UaMuck

 

The huge, sea-going, specialized, crane (14,000-metric ton lifting capacity) is required for partial assembly on land and final assembly in an area close to shore with a very deep harbor, before towing, fully assembled, to the site.

 

The finished turbines were towed to Peterhead, Scotland.  

Three cup anchors hold each turbine in place.

About 2400 meter of chain is required, weighing 400 metric ton, for each turbine.

The Hywind Scotland project was commissioned in October 2017.

 

Hywind Wind Turbines for Demonstration Purposes in Maine

 

Hannah Pingree and other Maine's wind bureaucrats in state government are engaging in mindless prattle, eager to do the bidding of various multi-millionaires and foreign companies that may be providing some wining/dining boondoggle trips to “view the Hywind turbines” in Norway and Scotland.

 

The turnkey cost of those two Hywind turbines would be about $10,000 per kW, versus NE ridgeline wind at $2,000/kW, and regular offshore, south of Martha’s Vineyard, at $4,000/kW.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/iso-ne-study-of-1600-mw...

 

That would be at about $120 million for a two 6 MW Hywind wind turbines, plus whatever facilities would need to be built in Maine to support the project.

 

The turnkey capital cost of the wind turbine plant in Maine would be much higher, because Maine does not have the experience of the Norwegians and the specialized equipment and specialized ships, and other facilities. It would be very costly to build those facilities and ships in Maine, or elsewhere.

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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

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

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://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?" https://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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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