Governor LePage:Mainers paying higher rates for electricity due to wind power

Please note the emphasis in bold green is mine.

Weekly Message: Mainers Need Affordable Electricity Now

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The following is the weekly message from Governor Paul R. LePage. To listen to the audio visit the Governor's website

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

My fellow Mainers, I do not like being the bearer of disturbing news. But someone has to have the courage to tell the truth. Mainers are paying considerably more than you should for electricity.

Maine’s energy costs are 10th highest in the nation, and our electric bills are 34 percent higher than the national average. But it does not have to be this way. Affordable energy is available right here in Maine and just across our northern border.

I traveled recently to Canada to meet with officials from Hydro Quebec, which has plenty of hydro power to sell at very affordable prices. They told me that selling power to Maine is not worth it. And it’s all because Maine has a limit on how much renewable energy we can use, including hydropower.

Under Governors King and Baldacci, legislators enacted RPS — the Renewable Portfolio Standard — which restricts us to using only 100 megawatts of hydropower. Hydro Quebec has 41,000 megawatts of energy to sell, but they sell it in 1,000 megawatts increments. They wouldn’t even consider selling as little as 100 megawatts.

Here in Maine, we have over 700 megawatts of installed capacity for hydropower. It is clean, it is renewable and it is affordable. So why would we limit hydropower? The answer is simple: Wind.

The RPS law limits the amount of energy we can use from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar, tidal, biomass and geothermal. But in 2009 legislators lifted the cap for wind power, which is expensive to build and produces a minimal amount of our electricity.

In 2011, we got only 4.5 percent of our electricity from wind. While it produces only a fraction of energy, it is some of the most expensive electricity we buy.

This arbitrary cap gives wind an unfair advantage. It prevents us from using more affordable forms of renewable energy, and it drives up the cost of your electricity. Yes, my fellow Mainers, you are paying higher rates for electricity to subsidize wind power. That is wrong.

Because of RPS, the average residential consumer will pay $365 more in electricity over the next five years. But that’s only part of the story. RPS will cost the average industrial user more than $63,000 in the next five years. And folks, that is a jobs killer.

Too many companies have told me that Maine’s high energy costs prevent them from doing business here. For example, I made a generous offer to attract a world-class company to come to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The company told me it would not come to Maine for two reasons: we are not a right-to-work state, and our energy costs are too high.

In another example, one of Maine’s major paper companies shut down for 30 days because it costs less for them to close for a month than to pay their high electricity costs. Good employees are paying the price for these irrational energy laws.

These high energy costs are robbing you every month. They are killing jobs, forcing layoffs and discouraging major companies from even looking to Maine.

Folks, it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why I have introduced a bill to remove the 100-megawatt limit on renewable sources of energy, including hydropower.

I agree that we should explore all of our energy options, including solar, tidal, biomass and geothermal power. But the market should decide which of these options should succeed, not burdensome laws that benefit wealthy owners of wind companies.

So join me in supporting this common-sense bill to get the most cost-effective energy we can provide. Tell your legislators you want affordable electricity, and you want it now.

http://www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/index.shtml

Please also see:

What Every Maine Ratepayer Needs to Know

and

Renewable Policies Crushing New England's Economy

and

Wind's Empty Economics and Pernicious Public Policy

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Comment by Kathy Sherman on March 31, 2013 at 6:11pm
This discussion regarding the diverging policies between the New England states should go into the equation too.
http://m.washingtonpost.com/business/new-england-plan-to-buy-renewa...

Given that Maine is the only New England state that even makes into the top 25 states.for land theoretically available with theoretically commercially viable wind resource (30% capacity predicted at 80 m hub height), maybe the Maine governor and legislature may well want to evaluate the sacrifice of the state's ridgetops for Massachusetts and Connecticut's needs.
Of course Rhode Island and Massachusetts are banking on industrialization of the ocean, but Connecticut does not have the equivalent.

Massachsetts has had the highest prices for Renewable Energy Certificates in the US, paying $45/MWhr when the open market value was $0.65/MWhr. The price for solar RECs is far higher. Massachusetts has been pushing the concept of price stability and bulk purchase capacity by the state for years. What happens when there is a low wind year? What happens when there's no wind during peak summer demand?

This regional RFQ, like RGGI, needs serious re-appraisal.
Comment by Mike DiCenso on March 30, 2013 at 10:04pm

Willem...Good post with great info. Thanks.

Comment by Dan McKay on March 30, 2013 at 1:42pm

This time, ignore a few interest groups and do what will benefit every citizen in Maine. Remove the 100MW cap on hydro-electric. It's a no-brainer.

Comment by Willem Post on March 30, 2013 at 9:34am
The same is true for solar.

The building of 459-ft tall industrial wind turbines on ridge lines has nothing to do with quickly grabbing federal and state subsidies while the getting is good to build RE businesses. It is all about CO2 emission reduction to save the world from climate change and global warming. Let us see how much are these reductions.

Keep these numbers in mind: Total world CO2 emissions in 2011 was 33,990 million metric tons; China ADDED 550 million metric ton in 2011, about 550/8.1 = 68 times all of Vermont's CO2 emissions. Vermont a leader/important? Trust me, no one talked about Vermont's leadership during the COP-18 meeting in Doha, Qatar, in 2012.

Note: The Sun's energy intercepted by the Earth is about 12,000 times greater per year than all energy used by man per year. So, who is the 800-lb gorilla?

Here are some extravagant life cycle CO2 emission reduction numbers claimed by GMP and the more likely numbers, based on real-world experience.

CO2 Emission Reduction:

GMP claimed 25-yr CO2 emission reduction = 185,570 MWh/yr x 0.5 metric ton CO2/MWh, NE grid intensity x 25 yr = 2,319,625 metric ton to get PSB approvals and convince the lay public and legislators of the “Pubic Good” of the project.

Realistic 18-yr production = 2,296,805 MWh, accounting for aging at 0.75%/yr, lesser CF of 0.25, and shorter life of 18 years.

Realistic 18-yr net CO2 emission reduction = 1,148,403 - 100,000, pre-production = 1,048,403 metric ton, not adjusted for wind energy-induced grid inefficiencies, because New England annual wind energy is only 1%.

At future higher annual wind energy percent on the NE grid, CO2 emission reduction effectiveness declines, as confirmed by a study of the Irish grid which shows at 17% annual wind energy, effectiveness is 0.526, which would reduce the above 1,048,403 to 504,060 metric ton.

Conclusion:

The GMP CO2 emission reduction claim is 2,319,625/1,048,403 = 2.213 higher than the more likely results. In the future, with 17% annual wind energy on the grid, that claim will be even more extravagant, i.e., 2,319,625/504,060 = 4.602 higher than the more likely result.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-em...
http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf
http://www.clepair.net/Udo201303payback.html
Comment by Willem Post on March 30, 2013 at 9:33am

The same is true for wind.

In White River Junction, VT, a $10.5 million, 2.2 MW solar facility was put up by some Boston multi-millionaires as a tax-shelter. About 15 acres of trees and other vegetation and topsoil were cleared and the area was leveled with bulldozers, i.e., raped. The whole is surrounded by 8-ft tall fencing. It likely has Chinese panels and German inverters. Vermont may have supplied some of the supports, brackets and miscellaneous bric-a-brac. Few, if any, permanent jobs were created. The multi-millionaires will get paid 30 c/kWh under the SPEED program, currently limited to 127.5 MW, but sure to be expanded to achieve RE goals.

NOTE: The PSB will have to adjust the 30 c/kWh, based on inflation or grid prices, to continue to attract sufficient tax-shelter capital and to make the SPEED program look successful. Current NE grid prices are about 5.5 c/kWh, unchanged for about 4 years. The NE grid price is likely to increase at about the rate of inflation, because of nearby, reliable, abundant, domestic, low-cost, low-CO2-emitting natural gas.

The facility produces 2,200 kW x 8,760 hr/yr x capacity factor 0.143 = 2,755,896 kWh/yr. In New England, there is no or minimal solar energy 65% of the hours of the year. Solar energy is not-dispatchable (i.e., not available “On-Demand”), variable, intermittent, i.e., junk energy. Each year, for 25 years, GMP will send a check for 2,755,896 kWh x $0.30/kWh = $826,769 to the multi-millionaires. Each year, for 25 years, GMP will roll the excess costs (0.30 - 0.055, NE grid price)$/kWh x 2,755,896 kWh = $675,195 into the electric bills of already-struggling households and businesses. 

Vermont's current energy consumption is 23% from renewables. The 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, recommends Vermont obtains 90% of total energy (heating, cooling, transportation, energy generation, etc.) from renewables by 2050. Building on the 2.5-years of meager production results of the SPEED program (at end 2012, 0.53% of Vermont’s electricity consumption; average RE energy cost 0.17 c/kWh in 2012 and rising!!!!), the CEP recommends a Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS, that sets a goal to obtain 75% renewable electricity within 20 years. It appears, Montpelier’s CEP is an RE sector wish list based on fantasizing.

http://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications/energy_plan/2011_plan

Assume 30% of all Vermont’s annual electricity consumption, 1,800,000,000 kWh, would be from solar by 2050, which would require (653) 2.2 MW facilities at an installed cost of $6.858 billion during the 2012 - 2050 period.

In 2050, GMP would be sending two checks totaling 1,800,000,000/2,755,896 x $826,769 = $540 million; one for $432 million to out-of-state multi-millionaires, if 80% were out-of-state tax shelters, and one for $108 million to Vermont multi-millionaires. In 2050, GMP would roll $675,195 x 653 = $441 million into the electric bills of still-struggling households and businesses in 2050. In-state RE SPEED projects are often promoted “as keeping money in the state”. Irrational, delusionary planning?

NOTE: All this energy could have been bought from Hydro-Quebec at about 1,800,000,000 x $0.06/kWh = $108 million grid price or inflation adjusted. Hydro energy is dispatchable (i.e., available “On-Demand”), steady, 24/7/365, much more CO2-free than solar, i.e., high-quality energy. 

The SPEED program is:

- A major boon for multi-millionaire owners of solar facility installers, China (panels) and Germany (inverters), and the makers of miscellaneous hardware. 

- A major bane for already-struggling households and businesses, as it means decades of excessively-increasing electric rates. 

- Good for solar system installers, because they are building their fortunes on subsidies, at the expense of everyone else.

- Good for multi-millionaires, because the SPEED program is a license to avoid taxes and print money; i.e., income disparity enhanced by government subsidies.

An irrational, expensive, inequitable, dysfunctional energy policy, cooked up in backroom meetings by naive legislators on energy committees and savvy RE business owners/lobbyists, that will slowly but surely cripple Vermont’s already-fragile economy. 

Willem

Comment by Willem Post on March 30, 2013 at 9:32am
The same is true for solar.

The building of 459-ft tall industrial wind turbines on ridge lines has nothing to do with quickly grabbing federal and state subsidies while the getting is good to build RE businesses. It is all about CO2 emission reduction to save the world from climate change and global warming. Let us see how much are these reductions.

Keep these numbers in mind: Total world CO2 emissions in 2011 was 33,990 million metric tons; China ADDED 550 million metric ton in 2011, about 550/8.1 = 68 times all of Vermont's CO2 emissions. Vermont a leader/important? Trust me, no one talked about Vermont's leadership during the COP-18 meeting in Doha, Qatar, in 2012.

Note: The Sun's energy intercepted by the Earth is about 12,000 times greater per year than all energy used by man per year. So, who is the 800-lb gorilla?

Here are some extravagant life cycle CO2 emission reduction numbers claimed by GMP and the more likely numbers, based on real-world experience.

CO2 Emission Reduction:

GMP claimed 25-yr CO2 emission reduction = 185,570 MWh/yr x 0.5 metric ton CO2/MWh, NE grid intensity x 25 yr = 2,319,625 metric ton to get PSB approvals and convince the lay public and legislators of the “Pubic Good” of the project.

Realistic 18-yr production = 2,296,805 MWh, accounting for aging at 0.75%/yr, lesser CF of 0.25, and shorter life of 18 years.

Realistic 18-yr net CO2 emission reduction = 1,148,403 - 100,000, pre-production = 1,048,403 metric ton, not adjusted for wind energy-induced grid inefficiencies, because New England annual wind energy is only 1%.

At future higher annual wind energy percent on the NE grid, CO2 emission reduction effectiveness declines, as confirmed by a study of the Irish grid which shows at 17% annual wind energy, effectiveness is 0.526, which would reduce the above 1,048,403 to 504,060 metric ton.

Conclusion:

The GMP CO2 emission reduction claim is 2,319,625/1,048,403 = 2.213 higher than the more likely results. In the future, with 17% annual wind energy on the grid, that claim will be even more extravagant, i.e., 2,319,625/504,060 = 4.602 higher than the more likely result.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-em...
http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf
http://www.clepair.net/Udo201303payback.html
Comment by Long Islander on March 30, 2013 at 7:36am

March 28, 2013, 6:21 p.m. ET

States Cooling to Renewable Energy

EXCERPTS:

Legislatures in half the states that require electric utilities to buy renewable energy are considering proposals to roll back those mandates....

...Ohio state Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican who is leading a review of his state's renewable-energy mandate, said the policy reminded him of "Joseph Stalin's five-year plan." He added that his main interest is "in what delivers the lowest price for electricity in our state. That is what we are trying to figure out."...

Continue reading here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324373204578376840349...

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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