ISO-NE prepared a forecast in 2011 which outlined several scenarios for wind development in Maine.  This picture taken from slides from that report shows what may happen if nothing is done to prevent it.  Wind developers will continue to build wind projects, and ratepayers will share the costs of transmission, as long as there are mountains or fields on which to build turbines.  The upper left shows potential wind project locations, the upper right shows the transmission needed to support these projects, and the lower left shows the transmission system upon completion of the ongoing MPRP transmission project, which is still several years from completion. 

Maine's legislatively established goal of 2700 MW of wind by 2020 is not a limit.  Nothing prevents developers from exceeding this goal.  As the maps show, Maine may see a total of 7000 MW (7 GW) of wind.  At a rate of 10 MW per mile, this will require 700 miles of turbines.  Right now there are 440 MW and over 40 miles of turbines on Maine's ridges.  The amount of new transmission required by this build out of wind is substantial, as can be seen by comparing the upper right and lower left maps. 

Only by legislative action can this scenario be prevented.  Good progress has been made in softening the public and the legislature's support for wind.  Congratulations to all the wind warriors who have made this possible.  If you don't like the plans that are on the drawing board for Maine,  further action will be necessary.  Keep your legislators informed about your opposition to the destruction of Maine's beautiful landscape.

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Comment by Steve Thurston on June 18, 2015 at 9:41am

ISO-NE's 53 week market report shows 110 million MW of generation over this period, 2 million of which was wind generation, or 1.86% of the total.   Using the wind industry and DOE touted goal of 20% wind we  see more than 10 times the miles of mountain ridges currently occupied by turbines, or about 1000 miles of New England's mountains,  most of which is forecast by the ISO to occur in Maine.  

Comment by Mike DiCenso on June 13, 2015 at 10:15pm

So after the expedited zone has been filled with windsprawl, the windholes (pardon my language) will go after the North Woods, and I bet the big landowners will be right there to lick their boots.

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (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 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?" 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.”

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