Maine lawmakers hear debate that shows sharp divide over renewable-energy bill

The new law would require increasing the percentage of electricity that Mainers get from biomass, solar, wind and other renewable sources.

AUGUSTA — A bill that would mandate an increase in the amount of electricity coming from renewable sources to Maine consumers received mixed reviews Tuesday in a legislative committee, with business interests split on the cost and benefits of the mandate, and supporters calling it crucial to Gov. Janet Mills’ initiative to blunt the impacts of climate change....................“We spent the last eight years talking about the cost of renewable energy and eight seconds talking about the benefits,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. “We think the benefits far outweigh the costs.”....................................“We’re gravely concerned that this bill imposes significant and unspecified new costs on already burdened Maine electric ratepayers,” said Tony Buxton, a lawyer who represents the group. “Our own analysis suggests the costs could be on the order of 2 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, for every kilowatt-hour of energy sold at retail in Maine. This is a huge and unprecedented new cost.”.....................The issue of cost had some of Maine’s major employers lining up on opposite sides of the bill. Cianbro, which employs 1,300 Mainers in construction projects that include the energy sector, said the bill would create new jobs and be a catalyst for economic development. Bath Iron Works, however, said unforeseen increases in energy costs could put at risk its ability to compete on future Navy ship contracts. BIW has 5,700 Maine workers.

Read the full article at:

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/05/07/renewable-energy-bill-draws-...

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Comment by Willem Post on May 12, 2019 at 3:59am

Cost Shifting is the Name of the Game Regarding Wind and Solar

 

Cost shifting is rarely mentioned, identified or quantified. Those costs, as c/kWh, could be quantified, but it is politically convenient to charge them to:

 

- Ratepayers, via electric rate schedules, and/or added taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills

- Directly to taxpayers, such as carbon taxes and user fees.

- Directly to federal and state budgets and debts

 

No cost ever disappears. Eventually, the various costs would increase the prices of energy and of other goods and services.

Efficiencies improvements elsewhere in the economy may partially, or completely, offset such increases.

However, RE subsidies would divert capital from other sectors of the economy, which likely would result in fewer improvements in efficiencies.

 

Cost Shifting: Here is a partial list of the costs that were shifted, i.e., not charged to wind and solar plant owners, to make wind and solar appear less costly than in reality to the lay public and legislators.

 

1) The various forms of grid-stabilizing inertia (presently provided by synchronous gas, coal, oil, nuclear, bio and hydro plants).

 

2) The filling-in, peaking and balancing by traditional generators (mostly gas turbines in New England), due to wind and solar variability/intermittency, 24/7/365. The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the required up/down ramping capacity of the gas turbines, which imparts added costs to owners for which they likely would not be paid:

 

- Less annual production to cover power plant costs, which jeopardizes the economic viability of the plant

 

- Inefficient remaining production (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to up/down ramping at part load, which further adds to owner costs, and reduces less CO2 than claimed. See URL

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

 

- More wear and tear on the gas turbine plants, which further adds to owner costs

 

NOTE: All of this is quite similar to a car efficiently operating at a steady 55 mph, versus a car inefficiently operating at continuously varying speeds between 45 mph to 65 mph.

 

3) Any battery systems to stabilize distribution grid with many solar systems. They would quickly offset downward spikes due to variable cloud cover. See URL.

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

 

4) Any measures to deal with DUCK curves, such as a) daily gas turbine plant down and up ramping, b) utility-scale storage and c) demand management.

 

5) Grid-related costs, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect the remotely distributed wind and solar, and to deal with variable/intermittent wind and solar on the grid. Those grid items usually are utilized at the low capacity factors of wind and solar, i.e., a lot of hardware doing little work.

 

6) Utility-scale electricity storage (presently provided by the world’s traditional fuel supply system).

https://www.neon-energie.de/Hirth-2013-Market-Value-Renewables-Sola...

 

The above 6 items are entirely separate from the high levels of direct and indirect subsidies. They serve to make wind and solar appearto be much less costly, than in reality. See sections 1 and 2 and Appendix.

  

All that enables wind and solar proponents to endlessly proclaim: “Wind and solar are competitive with fossil and nuclear”.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: For example, to bring wind electricity from the Panhandle in west Texas to population centers in east Texas, about 1000 miles, $7 billion of transmission was built. The entire cost was “socialized”, i.e., it appeared as a surcharge on residential electric bills.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: Often the expensive grid connection of offshore wind plants, say from 20 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, across the island, and then to the reinforced mainland grid, is not included in the capital cost estimates, i.e., all or part of it is provided by the utilities that buy the electricity under PPAs to make PPA-pricing appear smaller than in reality. That cost is “socialized”, i.e., it appears as a surcharge on residential electric bills, or is added to the rate base.

 

Wind and Solar Wholesale Prices in NE: Here are some wholesale prices of wind electricity RE folks in New England, especially in Maine, do not want to talk about. They would rather dream RE fantasies, obfuscate/fudge the numbers, and aim to convert others to their dream scenarios, somewhat like religious missionaries. See table 2.

 

Comments on table 2:

 

Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

 

Table 7

Direct/Indirect subsidies

Cost shifting

NE Wind

NE Solar

 

 

 

Ridgeline

Field-mounted

 

 

 

c/kWh

c/kWh

Owner price to utility

No

No

  17 - 19

22 - 26

Owner price to utility

No

Yes

 15 - 17

20 - 24

Owner price to utility

Yes

Yes

 8.5 - 9

10.5 - 12.5

Comment by Willem Post on May 8, 2019 at 10:01am

Renewable Energy Folks really should be debating these four REALITY-BASED articles.

RE Folks wanting to close down fossil and nuclear plants are just dreaming. They likely never analyzed nor designed any energy systems. Often they make off-the-wall pronouncements that have no basis in reality.
1) This article assumes the highly productive (CF = 0.90), near-CO2-free, NE nuclear plants would be closed in 2035, when their licenses would have expired, but the highly efficient (up to 60%), low-CO2, gas turbine plants would continue to operate as at present. 
Wind and solar (ATM + BTM) would be greatly increased by 2035; 44.5 TWh of a total NE grid load, about 32%, versus 5.5% at present.
As a result of replacing low cost-nuclear with high-cost wind and solar, household electric rates likely would become significantly higher, at least that is what happened in Germany, Denmark, and other high RE nations in Europe. See URL.
2) This article combines some cost items regarding direct and indirect subsidies and cost shifting that make wind and solar appear much less costly than reality.
3) These two articles refers to lifecycle CO2 of EVs. 
CO2 of embodied energy in infrastructures is not included.

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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