Maine PUC Approves Wind Power Contract for Old First Wind Gang

July 12, 2019

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) unanimously approved a long-term contract for a 72.6 MW wind power project in Hancock County Maine. The project is being developed by Weaver Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Longroad Development Partners, LLC and is expected to be operational no later than December 2020.

"This 20-year contract should create real ratepayer benefits for Maine" stated Commission Chairman Philip Bartlett. The contract price of 3.5 cents/kWh, increasing at 2.5% per year, is very competitive and provides a valuable renewable resource for Maine. The Commission directed Emera Maine to purchase the power from Weaver Wind in accordance with the contract.

This is the second contract for renewable energy approved by the Commission this year. In February 2019, the Commission approved a contract with the 100 MW Three Rivers Solar project, with pricing terms similar to Weaver Wind's. Both contracts resulted from the Commissions latest RFP soliciting bids for capacity resources, available energy, and renewable energy credits.


Contact: Harry Lanphear,(207) 287-3831

https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressrelea...

Maine regulators approve 22-turbine wind power project

The Public Utilities Commission gives approval to a long-term contract for a 72.6-megawatt project in Hancock County.

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/07/12/maine-regulators-approve-22-...

State utility regulators approve power contract for planned Hancock County wind farm

State regulators have approved a long-term power contract for a wind energy development planned for Hancock County.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Friday unanimously supported a contract under which Emera Maine will pay Weaver Wind LLC 3.5 cents/kWh with increases of 2.5 percent annually, commission officials said in a release.

Weaver Wind is a 72.6 megawatt wind-to-energy project being developed by Longroad Energy in the Hancock County towns of Eastbrook and Osborn. The project — which had stalled under prior concerns about its impacts on birds and bats, and after a previous developer went bankrupt — was granted development permits in May by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The wind turbines are expected to be operational by “no later than December 2020,” according to the PUC. Each of the 22 turbines is expected to be nearly 600 feet tall from ground to the highest tip of each blade, with 14 in Osborn and eight in Eastbrook, Longroad officials have said.

In 2015, the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife publicly opposed the Weaver Wind project, which then was proposed by the now-defunct SunEdison renewable energy firm. Officials with DIF&W said at the time that the impact on birds of the existing Bull Hill Wind farm nearby in Township 16 already was significant and that erecting more turbines a few miles away “will represent significant adverse cumulative impact to migrating birds.”

To offset this concern, Longroad agreed as part of its application to conserve 5,791 acres as bird habitat in Hancock north of the Downeast Sunrise Trail and in Whiting near Holmes Bay, and to curtail operation of the turbines at certain times. The developer will work with naturalists to create a management plan for the conserved land to help protect birds and bats, according to the permit approval.

Read the full article here:

https://bangordailynews.com/2019/07/12/news/hancock/state-utility-r...

May 29, 2019

Mills picks former Senate majority leader to be next PUC chairman

........................According to a news release sent to Mainebiz from Mills’ office, during his time in the Legislature, Bartlett, an attorney, forged bipartisan support for several of the state’s landmark energy initiatives, including Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative legislation, a bill to increase Maine’s renewable portfolio standard and bills to support renewable energy development.

“Phil Bartlett is a dedicated public servant and an experienced leader on energy policy who will uphold the Public Utilities Commission’s core responsibility of ensuring every Maine consumer has safe, adequate and reliable utility services at reasonable rates,” Mills said..............................

https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/mills-picks-former-senate-majority...

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Comment by richard mcdonald on July 18, 2019 at 12:25pm

The PUC and Gov. Mills are just getting started with the PUC issuing RFP's for renewable sources, With the SNE states going offshore, that former cash cow is evaporating. Mills is going to fulfill her newly upped RPS with domestic wind and solar. Her dreams of offshore wind development are just that - dreams. The Aqua Ventas boondoggle is still struggling to find traction with serious investors, so any hope of bring offshore wind on line in the next ten years is another fantasy. Once Mills gets the NECEC project approved, CMP will be open for business (the quid pros quo for NECEC) for wind developers chomping at the bit to get a shovel in the ground to capture what's left of Fed subsidies.  

Comment by Long Islander on July 17, 2019 at 10:21pm
Comment by Penny Gray on July 15, 2019 at 1:14pm

It does seem as though we're moving in reverse, faster and faster.  Regressive speeding could prove to be very dangerous.

Comment by Willem Post on July 13, 2019 at 6:52pm

Dan,

Wind displacing gas turbine plants is a fable. 

Germany  with more and more wind is putting in MORE of the 60%-efficient gas turbine plants.

Gas turbine plants will NOT be displaced, because they are needed for peaking, filling in and balancing the variable, intermittent wind electricity.

Cost Shifting From Millionaire Owners to Struggling Ratepayers and Taxpayers 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

 

Clever multi-millionaires have known about wind and solar being much more expensive compared with existing generation (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.) for at least 25 years.

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/...

 

By beating the drums of climate change and global warming, and using clever lobbyists in the halls of Congress and State legislatures, they were able to get all sorts of goodies, such as upfront cash grants, upfront tax credits, low-cost loans, generous, above-market, feed-in tariffs, production tax credits, and loan interest and asset depreciation write-offs to avoid paying income taxes.

 

All that enables them, and others to claim wind and solar is equivalent and competitive with other workers. What more could these millionaires ask for?

 

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 and intermittency, 24/7/365. Their random outputs require the other generators to inefficiently ramp up and down their outputs at part load, and to inefficiently make more frequent starts and stops, which also causes more wear and tear, all at no cost to wind and solar owners.

 

The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the required up and down ramping of the gas turbines, which imparts added costs to owners for which they likely would not be paid: And the wind and solar erratic output is coddled by government programs and subsidies!!

 

Owners of traditional generators:  

 

- Haveless annual productionto cover power plant costs, which jeopardizes the economic viability of their plants.

 

- Are left with inefficient remaining production(more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to up and down ramping at part load, and due to more frequent starts and stops, which leads to less fuel and CO2 reduction than claimed, and increased costs for owners. See URL

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

 

- Have more wear and tear of their 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, and accelerating for frequent starts and decelerating for frequent stops.

 

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.

 

NOTE: GMP in Vermont, has determined 70 of its 150 substations will eventually need upgrades to avoid “transmission ground fault overvoltage,” (TGFOV), if more solar is added per requirements of the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan. This is nothing new, as utilities in southern Germany have been dealing with these issues for over ten years, which has contributed to German households having the highest electric rates (about 30 eurocent/kWh) in Europe.

 

5) Grid-related costs, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect the remotely distributed wind and solar, and to deal with variable and 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 indirectsubsidies. 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 of transmission was built at a capital cost of $7 billion. The entire cost was “socialized”, i.e., it appeared as a surcharge on residential electric bills. Wind in Texas would have been much more expensive, if the owning and operating cost, c/kWh, of those transmission lines were added to the cost of wind.

 

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, then about 7 additional miles under water, and then to the reinforced mainland grid, is not separately stated 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 would be “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 Below Table

 

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.

 

An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar. See table.

 

In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.14. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh. See table.

 

In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

 

Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

 

Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

 

NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

 

The subsidy percentages in below table are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL.

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

 

Values for 2018 are represented in below table.

 

NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind

%

NE Solar

%

Ridgeline

Large-scale

c/kWh

c/kWh

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting

18.8

100

23.5

100

Less cost shifting

2.4

13

2.1

9

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

16.4

87

21.4

91

Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4

7.4

39

Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4

9.6

41

Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

9

48

11.8

50

 

* Owner prices to utilities are based on recent 20-year electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in New England. These prices would have been about 48% to 50% higher without the direct and indirect subsidies and the cost shifting. Similar percentages apply in areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW, than New England. The prices, c/MWh, in those areas are lower than New England.

Comment by Dan McKay on July 13, 2019 at 11:14am

Wind replacing the output of natural gas fired plants at the same price. How technologically regressive .

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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