Recently the media reported wind and solar are competitive with coal and natural gas for generating electricity. The Wall Street Journal published an article “Economic impact of wind farms is changing the political dynamics of renewable energy”.

It is of major importance to understand, financial entities, such as Bloomberg and Lazard, hype wind and solar, because they want to promote their financial management services for high-net-worth investors, who are looking to shelter their incomes from taxation and look green at the same time; a win-win for all.

Bloomberg and Lazard, et al., to promote their tax shelter business, issue self-serving reports with rosy numbers about wind and solar to entice those investors, and boast about the various subsidies that would make projects pay. Here is a partial list:

 

1) The federal and state investment tax credits, ITC; up front cash.

2) The federal and state income tax savings due to accelerated depreciation write-offs during the first 5 years.

3) The federal production tax credit, PTC, during the first 10 years.

 

Wind and Solar Subsidies a Boon for Multi-Millionaires: Warren Buffett, considered one of the outstanding investors of all-time, has stated: “On wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit”. Buffett has investments in multiple wind sites, as do many other multi-billion dollar entities. Buffett and his cohorts hire tax accountants/lawyers to refine the subsidy-milking art form, as well as PR pros and RE lobbyists to continually increase the milking, via higher RPS targets and renewed subsidy periods.

 

Traditional Electricity Generators: Electricity generated by coal and gas power plants remains the lowest cost method for generating electricity, especially when the costs of 1) the variability and intermittency of wind and solar and 2) the grid expansion/augmentation are properly accounted for.

 

Existing coal and gas power plants have levelized costs of energy, LCOEs, of about 3.5 c/kWh, because their construction and financing costs have already been amortized. The LCOEs of new plants are higher, but still competitive with wind and solar, because of the low cost of plentiful, domestic coal and gas.

 

However, to be competitive the coal and gas plants have to operate at high capacity factors to maximize electricity. If their production is constrained by wind and solar, they become uneconomical.

US Wind and Solar Generation Was Minuscule in 2016:  Wind and solar have grown to become minor percentages of total US generation after about 20 years of subsidies. In below table, PV solar is utility-scale only. Small-scale PV solar (not reported to EIA) was 19.467 TWh, per NREL. CSP means concentrated solar power.

 

PV solar NREL = 100*19.467/(4079.079 + 19.467) = 0.47% of total generation (before the meter).

Total solar =100* 56.221/(4079.079 + 19.467) = 1.37% of total generation (before and after the meter). See table 1.

 

Table 1/2016 Gen.

 US

 Wind

PV solar

CSP

Total Gen.

PV solar

Total solar

Source

EIA

EIA

EIA

EIA

EIA + NREL

NREL

EIA + NREL

TWh fed to grid

4079.079

226.872

33.367

3.388

4098.546

19.467

56.221

% US generation

100

5.55

0.81

0.09

0.47

1.37

New England Wind and Solar Generation was Minuscule in 2016: Wind and solar have become minor percentages of total NE generation after about 20 years of subsidies. At end 2016, NE had the following installed wind turbine capacity: VT 119, ME 901, NH 185, MA 115, RI 52, CT 5 = 1377 MW, which required a capital cost of about $4.0 billion, including grid extension and augmentation, and required the destruction of about 100 miles of pristine ridge lines, plus building about 100 miles of 50-ft wide access roads.

http://awea.files.cms-plus.com/FileDownloads/4Q%202016%20State%20Bl...

 

The wind generation data are shown in table 1A. See ISO-NE URL. The 2014 CF is representative, because few MW was added during 2014, but the 2015 and 2016 CFs likely are low, because some of the added capacity was not in service for the full year.

 

NOTE: Wind generation would be about 100 x 3,162,544/(105,572,000) = 3.0% of total NE generation, at the representative CF = 0.262. See table 1A.

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix

https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/08/f33/2015-Wind-Technolog...

https://apps2.eere.energy.gov/wind/windexchange/wind_installed_capa...

 

Table 1A/Year

Capacity

Added

Generation

CF

% of NE generation

 

MW

MW

MWh/y

 

 

2013

  836

 

1766000

0.241

 

2014

  846

10

1928000

0.262

 

2015

1038

192

2169000

0.239 

 

2016

1377

339

2519000

0.210

2.4

2016

1377

 

3162544

0.262

3.0

 

At end 2016, NE had 1918 MW of installed solar capacity. That MW includes “before the meter”, such as residential rooftop, and “after the meter”, such as wholesale market participants. In 2016, total solar generation would be about 1918 x 8766 x 0.140 = 2,353,846 MWh, or 2.2% of total NE generation, if all MW were in service for the full year. See URL and table 1B.

 

Generation of the best month in summer is about 4 times the worst month in winter; the ratio is 6/1 in Germany, 10/1 in the UK.

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/what-we-do/in-depth/solar-power-in-new...

 

Table 1B/Year

 Capacity

Generation

% of NE generation

2016

 Installed MW

MWh

 

NE Wind

 1377

 3,162,544

3.0

NE Solar

  1918

 2,353,846

2.2

 

Subsidies and Cost Shifting are the Lifeblood of Wind and Solar: The prices, c/kWh, of wind and solar power purchase agreements, PPAs, are significantly reduced, mostly due to the various subsidies and cost shifting of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage onto the general public.

 

Studies comparing LCOEs of wind and solar plants with traditional plants are flawed, if:

 

- The various subsidies and the cost shifting are not properly accounted for.

- Useful service lives are assumed too long for wind and solar and too short for traditional plants.

- Capacity factors, CFs, are assumed too high for wind and solar and too low for traditional plants.

 

Various Subsidies for Wind and Solar: Because of the various subsidies, taxpayers and rate payers are forced to pay 1) higher monthly electricity bills, 2) higher prices for goods and services, and 2) taxes to finance various subsidies for wind, solar and other RE producers. Here is a partial list:

 

- The federal ITC, 30% of the qualified portion of the turnkey capital cost. The federal ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The state ITC, usually a percentage of the federal ITC. The state ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The federal production tax credit, PTC, of 2.4 c/kWh for the first 10 years of operation, a subsidy of 2.4/5 = 48% of the US average wholesale price. No wonder owners are crowing about underbidding traditional generating plants. For example, in areas with good winds, low construction costs and low operation and maintenance costs (Texas, Great Plains), if an owner’s cost is 7.3 c/kWh and he deducts 2.4 c/kWh as PTC, then his bid price could be 4.9 c/kWh, which is sufficient to get the contract, in most cases, and “competitive” with traditional plants. 

- The federal and state tax savings due to rapid depreciation write-offs in about 5 to 6 years, much more rapid than normal utility equipment write-off schedules of 10 to 20 years. Having tax savings earlier, instead of later, is financially more advantageous.

- The exemption of equipment purchases from the state sales tax and from the education property tax.

- Selling wind electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 9 - 10 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors (CFs), such as New England.

- Selling solar electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 13.5 - 14.5 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors, such as New England.

- Selling renewable energy credits, RECs, which lower the utility purchased RE energy cost by up to 50%.

- Loan guarantees by the federal and state government, which lower the interest rate of the funds borrowed from private entities, because the federal and state government assume the risk of the loans.

 

NOTE:

Wind ITC and Wind PTC decrease in 2017, 2018, 2019, and expire in 2020.

Solar ITC decreases in 2020, 2021, and expires in 2022.

Solar Cost in Sunny Areas With Low Turnkey Capital Costs: The electricity cost of PV solar projects (heavily subsidized and with cost shifting onto the general public of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage), is competitive with fossil in areas of the US with low turnkey capital cost, $/MW, and exceptional sunshine, high CFs, such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, etc.

 

Solar in Variable Cloudy Areas With High Turnkey Capital Cost: The electricity cost of PV solar projects (heavily subsidized and with cost shifting onto the general public of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage), is far from competitive with fossil in areas of the US with high turnkey capital cost, $/MW, and marginal sunshine and variable cloudy weather, low CFs, such as New England, etc.

 

Example of Subsidies and Pricing for Utility-Scale Commercial Solar in Vermont: In Vermont, a typical PV solar system, 2000 kW, turnkey capital cost about $5.9 million ($2950/kW), produces about 2794 MWh/y and has revenues of about $365,000/y. See URL for all numbers.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-speed-renewable...

 

The competitively auctioned, heavily subsidized, electricity is sold to utilities at 13.36 c/kWh, but higher-quality electricity (not variable, not intermittent, steady, 24/7/365) could have been bought by utilities at the NE annual average midday wholesale price of about 6 c/kWh.

 

The net cost to the utility would be as shown in the table 2, which is less than midday wholesale, all made possible by the various subsidies and the cost shifting onto the general public of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage.

 

If the upfront ITCs and RECs, and other subsidies were repealed, and the cost shifting of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage were properly charged to owners, and the write-off period would be a more normal 15 years (for capital equipment), instead of an extremely generous 5 years, the electricity would need to be sold to utilities for at least 20 c/kWh, more than 3 times NE midday wholesale prices. In Vermont, and likely the rest of New England, utility-scale solar definitely is not competitive with NE wholesale prices.

 

It is clear, the subsidies and cost shifting create a sort of fantasyland in the eyes of the lay public, which unfortunately appears to include most legislators. The public is bamboozled with a rosy, feel good mental image of wind and solar being competitive, and that all can be renewable.

 

During the first 6 years, the equivalent of about $3.5 million/$5.9 million = 59% of the turnkey capital cost was collected by owners as subsidies. The $3.5 million excludes the waver of sales taxes and real estate school taxes, another subsidy. The $3.5 million consists of:

 

1) Upfront federal and state investment tax credits, ITCs.

2) Taxes not paid due to rapid asset depreciation in about 5 years, much shorter than normal.

3) Excess over NE wholesale prices paid to owners. See table 3 in URL.

 

It is obvious, the intent of any carbon taxes would be to increase NE wholesale prices to make wind and solar look better and boost RE businesses. Warren Buffett, et al., would be all in favor of that. See table 2.

 

Table 2/Electricity Cost

 c/kWh

No subsidies, no cost shifting

20.00

PPA price

13.36

Excess over midday wholesale, 13.36 - 6

7.36

Less renewable energy credits, RECs

 3.00

Net cost to utility, 13.36 - 3

10.36 

 

Example of Competitively Auctioned PPA Pricing of Large-Scale Solar in Vermont: Table 3 shows the PPA prices of 4 competitively auctioned projects under the Vermont Standard Offer Program.

 

The 14.90 c/kWh of the Elizabeth Mine project, not Standard Offer, is comparable to those competitively auctioned projects. The price would have been 13.90 c/kWh, but the owners were forced to make an $85,000/y “contribution” to state and local government programs for 25 years. See table 3 and URLs.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-speed-renewable...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/from-brownfield-to-gree...

 

If the upfront ITCs and RECs, and other subsidies were repealed, and the cost shifting of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage were properly charged to owners, and the write-off period would be a more normal 15 years (for capital equipment), instead of an extremely generous 5 years, the electricity would need to be sold to utilities for at least 20 c/kWh, more than 3 times NE midday wholesale prices.

 

Table 3, Auctioned Projects

Start

Type

Production

Capacity

Rate

Paid

 

MWh

kW

c/kWh

$/y

Champlain Valley Solar Farm

Jul 24, 2015

Solar

2,794

2000

14.41

402,615

Otter Valley Solar

Aug 30, 2017

Solar

2,769

2180

13.38

370,492

Pownal Park Solar

Dec 30, 2016

Solar

2,794

2200

10.96

306,222

Sudbury Solar

Apr 18. 2016

Solar

2,540

2000

14.40

365,760

Total

 

10,897

8,380

13.26

1,445,090

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Mine

2017

Solar

8,675

7000 DC

14.90

1,292,575

 

Example of Subsidies and Pricing for Roof-Mounted, Residential Solar in Vermont: A simple spreadsheet analysis shows, the electricity cost of a grid-connected, residential, 4 - 6 kW, roof-mounted, solar system, turnkey capital cost about $4000/kW, would be about 18 c/kWh (heavily subsidized). 

 

NOTE: The CF of roof-mounted systems usually is less than 0.145, because roofs of residences usually are not properly south-facing and properly angled, unlike large-scale field mounted systems. 

 

The utility buys the electricity from the residence owner at about 19 c/kWh, which it could have bought for midday wholesale at about 6 c/kWh.

 

Whereas, a 30% federal cash grant, plus State cash grant, would be available, depreciation write-offs would be allowed only for a commercial entities. The residential electricity cost would be about 23 - 25 c/kWh, if no federal and state cash grants and no cost shifting onto the general public of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage. See table 4.

 

Table 4/Electricity Cost

 c/kWh

No subsidies, no cost shifting

 23 - 25

With subsidies, with cost shifting

 18 - 19

Utility pays to owner

 19

Excess over wholesale, 19 - 6

13

 

New England Wholesale Electricity Prices: New England electricity prices, as purchased by utilities on the NE wholesale market are:

 

- Annual average about 5 c/kWh since 2009

- Late night/early morning about 3.5 cents

- Midday, solar electricity at high levels, about 6 cents

- Late afternoon/early evening, peak hours, wind and solar electricity usually minimal, about 7 to 8 cents. 

 

Replacing Gas and Nuclear with Wind and Solar: New England wholesale prices have averaged about 5 c/kWh for steady, 24/7/365 electricity since about 2008. See table 5.

 

Table 5/Fuel

% NE Generation

Cost, c/kWh

Remarks

Natural gas

 50

 5

 Low-CO2 emitting, clean (no particulates), domestic fuel

Nuclear

 26

 5

 Low-CO2 emitting, clean (no particulates), domestic fuel

 

Just imagine the adverse impact on NE electric rates, if all the gas and nuclear electricity were generated by:

 

1) 500-ft.-tall wind turbines on pristine ridgelines at about 9.5 c/kWh (heavily subsidized and with cost shifting)

2) Offshore wind turbines at about 20-plus c/kWh (heavily subsidized and with cost shifting). See URL.

3) Tens of thousands of acres of PV panels on open meadow lands (heavily subsidized and with cost shifting)

4) At least $10 billion for grid investments to connect wind turbines and PV panels

5) The cost of the other generators having to operate less efficiently (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more wear and tear/kWh) to provide the required peaking, filling-in, and balancing, 24/7/365, whenever the variable, intermittent wind and solar electricity would be insufficient to satisfy demand.

6) The cost of capacity payments to ensure these traditional generators would be kept economically viable, and would be fueled, staffed and ready to generate electricity, 24/7/365, as needed by demand.

 

NOTE: Items 4, 5, and 6 usually are charged to ratepayers or taxpayers, as are the subsidies of items 1, 2, and 3. See URLs.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-very-expensive-offsho...

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

 

Deficiencies of Wind and Solar: To compare LCOEs and PPA pricing of wind and solar plants and traditional plants is beyond rational, because wind and solar plants cannot be base-loaded and are not dispatchable. In fact, wind and solar could not even exist on the grid without the support services of the traditional generators (gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, bio),

 

- Most of which can be base-loaded and/or can be dispatchable.

- All of which provide grid-stabilizing, synchronous rotational inertia (wind has near-zero, and solar has none).

- Most of which can perform the required peaking, filling-in and balancing, 24/7/365, when variable, intermittent wind and solar are insufficient to meet demand.

 

Also, with increased build-outs of wind and solar, robust connections to other grids and energy storage would be required to cover multi-day wind lulls and lack of sun (at night and winter) and seasonal variations. See URLs.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/german-renewable-energy...

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

 

Batteries for Reducing Grid Disturbances due to Wind and Solar: In the future, there will be many PV solar systems tied to a distribution grid. Increasing the capacity, MW, of those PV solar systems would decrease the stability of the distribution grid, especially during variable-cloudy weather.

 

Wind is notoriously variable 24/7/365, as its speed and direction is constantly changing; this is especially the case on NE 2000-ft. high ridgelines. Each wind turbines operates at a different speed, which affects the stability of the voltage, frequency, and negative reactive power factor (taking reactive power from the grid reduces stability). The combined output of 10 or 20 wind turbines would be “fuzzy”, in non-technical terms.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-reality-of-wind-ene...

 

NOTE: In case of the Vermont Lowell Mountain, 63 MW, wind turbine system, the “fuzziness” was too excessive for the grid operator, ISO-NE, to allow the electricity to be fed, via a substation, into the high voltage electric grid. GMP, the owner, was ordered to curtail output and to install a $10.5 synchronous-condenser system, which took over one year, to provide:

 

- The required stability of the voltage, frequency and positive reactive power factor to the grid (providing reactive power to the grid increases stability), and 

- Synchronous rotational inertia, as do all other traditional plants.

 

Some wind systems use large-scale battery systems for “smoothing” (taking out the fuzziness). Using the battery systems for energy shifting storage would be uneconomical, except in special cases, such as for grids on remote islands.

 

Batteries to Reduce Distribution Grid Disturbances due to Solar: Battery systems, tied to distribution grids with many PV solar systems, are used in California and Germany for “smoothing” (taking out the “fuzziness”), especially during variable cloudy weather. GMP has a program to install Tesla Powerwall 2.0 battery units at ratepayer premises. The units act as dampers, which work as follows:

 

- The varying DC electricity of the PV systems is fed as AC into the distribution grid.

- The battery systems absorb electricity from, or provide electricity to the grid, as needed to maintain distribution grid stability.

- DC to AC inverters of the battery systems are about 85%, 50%, and 10% efficient at 20%, 10% and 2% outputs, respectively, i.e., 50% of the converted electricity is lost as heat, if charging and discharging occur at less than 10% of inverter capacity, unless multiple inverters are used.

- The system round-trip loss, AC to DC into battery, DC to AC out of battery, is about 20%, on an annual average basis. 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-reality-of-wind-ene...

 

NOTE: Such charging and discharging has nothing to do with storing solar energy during the day for use at night, as is sometimes claimed.

 

Typically, in damping mode, the battery system would be charged to 60 to 70% of rated capacity, MWh, so it can be charged up to 90 to 95% and discharged down to 50 to 20%, depending on the battery type. The charge controller prevents charging above 90% and discharging below 20% to preserve battery life.

 

Typically, in damping mode, the charging-discharging range usually would be within 60% to 70% range, i.e., this charging and discharging generates significant heat (energy is wasted), as it may occur at less than 10% of inverter capacity, unless multiple inverters are used. As more systems are added to the distribution grid, additional battery capacity would be required.

 

In the future, some folks want to use, with owner permission, the batteries of EVs that are in use, and the retired batteries of EVs that otherwise would be discarded. 

 

Wind and Solar Dependent on Traditional Generators: Wind and solar could not exist on the grid without the support services of the traditional generators (gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, bio), which perform the peaking, filling-in and balancing, 24/7/365, when variable, intermittent wind and solar are insufficient to meet demand. With increased wind and solar, connections to other grids and energy storage also would be required to cover multi-day wind lulls and lack of sun (at night and winter) and seasonal variations.

 

That means these generators need to 1) more frequently start, stop, 2) operate at part load, 3) and ramp up and down, which increases fuel/kWh, CO2/kWh, and wear and tear/kWh. The amount by which the wind and solar CO2 reduction is offset due to these inefficiencies ranges from 20% to 50% in areas with higher wind and solar penetration, such as Texas, Ireland, etc.

 

In case of wind, that means one wind MWh displaces one traditional MWh, but that traditional, inefficiently generated MWh required 20% to 50% more fuel and had 20% to 50% more CO2 than it would without wind.

 

NOTE: As installed wind capacity increased over the years, the Irish government predicted a reduction of expensive gas imports. When this reduction was much less than predicted, an investigation was made to determine the reason. More fuel was consumed, and less CO2 was reduced. See Irish example in URL.

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

 

In addition, the traditional plants provide synchronous rotational inertia (wind has near-zero, and solar has none), which is necessary for grid stability. However, their economic viability (having to produce less MWh and in an inefficient manner) is threatened by wind subsidies.

 

The various subsidies encourage wind and solar plant owners to produce electricity even when wholesale prices are low. They are allowed to do this because of preferential access to the grid, whereas the traditional plants are ordered by the grid operator to reduce output, thereby flooding the grid with heavily subsidized wind and electricity, driving down wholesale prices (not ratepayer electric rates) even lower. That makes it uneconomical for traditional plants to stay in business. See below “Duck Curve” section.

 

In New England, with high construction costs, plus one of the poorest solar conditions in the US, the solar prices/kWh are likely not going to decrease for at least the next 5 to 10 years, unless a major technological improvement occurs.

 

The California Duck Curve: States get into a madhouse situation when various 100% RE politicians, bureaucrats and RE businesses conspire to legislate the make-up of the California electricity system, in the process creating the so-called “Duck Curve”.

 

California officials could have foreseen this situation, as exactly the same has been happening in southern Germany during the past 5 years.

 

In California, PV solar generation requires traditional generators to ramp down (combustion generators become unstable below 50% output) from about 18 GW at 7 am to about 12 GW at 10 am. PV solar generation is highest from about 10 am to 4 pm. Often electricity has to be exported to other out-of-state grids or stored (round-trip loss about 20%) or dumped.

 

Then, a rapid ramp up from about 12 GW at 4 pm to 25 GW at 8 pm takes place, while solar is rapidly disappearing, which means many generators have to rapidly ramp up, and electricity has to be imported from out-of-state grids and obtained from storage.

 

Such a Rube Goldberg system wastes electricity, faster wears out equipment and has poor economics, but that appears to be OK, because pro-RE folks claim California is a leader trying to save the world.

https://www.caiso.com/Documents/FlexibleResourcesHelpRenewables_Fas...

 

The German Duck Curve: The German grid is directly connected to nine bordering countries, and indirectly to many others. Most of Germany’s solar systems are in south Germany, which has more sunshine, than rainy, foggy, windy north Germany. Germany lacks major, north-south, transmission lines.

 

On a sunny summer day, the solar electricity production is very high and is transmitted to nearby countries, which have spare balancing and filling-in capacity; in case of France, it merely runs less water through its hydro turbines.

http://euanmearns.com/the-myth-of-a-nuclear-free-austria/

 

That solar energy has an Energiewende, legacy cost of at least 25 c/kWh, but is “exported” at near zero, sometimes at negative wholesale prices; a form of dumping. Some countries have complained, such as Poland and Austria.

 

The output of the traditional generators cannot be reduced too much, because BMW, Daimler Benz and Siemens have important industrial plants there that require steady electricity, 24/7/365, year after year.

 

The Future New England Duck Curve: At present the NE grid has about 1900 MW of solar before and after the meter. Page 20 of the URL shows the NE duck curve with increasing solar. Because solar is near zero at 7 pm, it cannot help reduce peak demand, except if battery systems were used, but that would be extremely costly.

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2017/02/2017_reo.pdf

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/tesla-powerwall-2-0-for...

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

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