UMPI officials reviewing options on wind turbine after fire

If anyone still doesn't believe that the media works for the wind industry, why is it that the Bangor Daily News has never published a story on this fire? We are two weeks away from beginning this wind turbine's tenth year of operation and there has never been an investigative piece in any of the Maine media exposing the total failure of the turbine, to say nothing of the cover up of its abysmal performance by the University of Maine. This cover up continues, despite the university's promises to share all information.

May 02, 2018

According to the engineer’s findings, the turbine experienced an arc flash that caused an electrical fire. Officials with Vestas have declared the nacelle a total loss, though the tower and foundation are reusable, and will be providing the University with the costs for options ranging from decommissioning of the turbine to replacement of the unit................UMPI President Ray Rice said. “Whatever option we take, we want it to be one that best meets the needs of our campus, creates the safest environment for our community, and establishes the longest-term sustainable solution for UMPI.”


From 10 years ago in the Bangor Daily News

Collins said that “creative approaches to energy,” such as the turbine installed by UMPI, “are what we need on a national scale to achieve American energy independence.”

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Comment by Penny Gray on May 4, 2018 at 6:24pm

Now available at Amazon Books: "Total Loss; How Creative Approaches To Energy Production Crashed the American Grid".  Cover shot a close-up of the burned out nacelle.

Comment by arthur qwenk on May 4, 2018 at 11:28am

A Freedom of Information Request should be filed by anyone who is Maine resident concerning this UMPI important issue, requesting info on fire, cost, output over the years and financial losses and other costs.

Comment by Penny Gray on May 3, 2018 at 12:47pm

I can try to get down there to get a photo, that's the stretch of Route 1 that has all the planets on it.  This could be "Planet Vestas".  Obviously a fiery planet and quite a tourist attraction.

Comment by Frank J. Heller, MPA on May 3, 2018 at 11:00am

Ah, another 'monument' tourists should see...any photos of Rt. ONE with burn't turbine in background we can distribute to tourist and vacation media? ....or Sen. Collin's office...or???

Comment by Long Islander on May 3, 2018 at 10:59am

The original annual goals were 1,000,000 KWH, $100,000 in cost savings and 572 tons of carbon avoided. The 1,000,000 KWH goal quietly disappeared from the website many years ago. Revisionist History 101.

The 1,000,000 KWH were widely missed, yet the other two goals remain intact. How can that be given the three figures should be directly related?

Comment by Penny Gray on May 3, 2018 at 10:46am

"An expert from the company, who specializes in examining turbines that have experienced major malfunctions and fires, began an investigation into how the fire occurred." Vestas has its own experts for investigating these "errors"?  How common are these major malfunctions and fires? The insurance company expert investigated and concluded the malfunction that caused the fire was an arc flash but it's going to take the Vestas investigator a couple of months to figure out the cause.  In any event, the turbine stands beside Route One as a burned up effigy to the wind power industry.  Odd that the BDN hasn't covered any of this.

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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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