U of Maine: Fire not unusual for wind turbines

What I would add to this article is that apart from the UMPI wind turbine's fatal fire, it was a complete disaster in terms of electricity production, never getting anywhere near its going in goals. An unmitigated disaster, as thoroughly documented on this website..

“Our experience with wind was not successful,” said UMPI Chief Business officer Betsy Sawhill Espe. “We found out that the fire was not totally unusual for wind turbines, so we wanted to look at something more reliable moving forward.”

by David DiMinno
December 2, 2021

UMPI to install $1.2 million solar field by end of the year

Excerpts

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The University of Maine at Presque Isle is building a $1.2 million mid-sized solar array project to power the campus.

The solar installation is expected to save the university $42,000 a year on energy costs, and will produce 460,000 kilowatts of electricity annually. It is also expected to save 326 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

This is not UMPI’s first renewable energy project. In 2009, the university built a wind turbine to provide more sustainable energy to the campus. But the turbine caught fire in April 2018 and the project was discontinued. Attempts at new renewable energy have been delayed since then, due to higher than expected bids, changes in the project scope and the COVID-19 pandemic.

A condition of the insurance money received from the wind turbine fire was that it had to be used for a renewable energy project, so UMPI invested it in the solar array.

“Our experience with wind was not successful,” said UMPI Chief Business officer Betsy Sawhill Espe. “We found out that the fire was not totally unusual for wind turbines, so we wanted to look at something more reliable moving forward.”

The solar array will help offset increased energy costs on the UMPI campus. The Zillman Family Greenhouse provides fresh grown food for the university, but propane costs to keep it heated are very expensive. The solar project should help balance those expenses, Sawhill said................

...............The solar array will have a total 848 panels, which will be double sided in order to catch light that has been reflected off the ground as well. The panels will be split into 53 racks.

“Efficiency of solar cells has continued to increase,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “As iconic as the turbine was, it had considerable cost associated with it. The solar project can be added onto later, and is definitely more manageable with maintenance.”

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Help from Versant Power will allow the solar array to be connected to the campus grid. The solar installation is located just south of the wind turbine pad.

https://bangordailynews.com/2021/12/02/news/aroostook/umpi-to-insta...

ADDITIONAL READING:

The UMPI Wind Turbine Debacle and Cover Up

************************************* 


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Comment by Willem Post on December 8, 2021 at 11:11am

Regarding the IMPROPERLY SITED wind turbine.

I would be VERY SURPRISED, if there were ANY reduction of CO2, because:

1) Various folks of UMPI, and other entities, have emitted a lot of CO2 trying to get the "neer-do-well" wind turbine to properly operate, over many years

2) The CO2 and toxic fumes of the fire

Always look at the A-to-Z picture.

I am surprised, UMPI is running its campus on batteries.

That would be SOOOOO much SEXIER!!!

That would pour even more money down the the blackhole drain.

Hell, it is not THEIR money, but the GOVERNMENT'S money, that was pilfered from the near-empty pockets of hard-working Mainers.

WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide...

Grid-scale Battery System Operating Cost in New England

 

I found no usable information regarding real-world operating costs, after googling on the internet for many hours.

I decided the cost categories of operating a rental property are similar to a battery system.

 

1) The owning and operating cost of a rental property usually involves a down payment, say 20%, and a mortgage for 80%. The annual owning and operating cost of the property includes: 1) the cost of the mortgage, and 2) other costs, such as heating, cooling, electricity, taxes, upkeep/repairs, etc. Both costs must be offset by the rental income to break even.

 

2) The owning and operating cost of a battery system usually involves a down payment, say 50%, and a bank loan for 50%. The annual owning and operating cost of a battery system includes: 1) the cost of bank financing at, say 3.5%/y, and 2) the owner’s return on investment at, say 9%/y, and 3) other costs. The three costs must be offset by the income of the services performed by the battery system to break even.

 

Battery System Operating Modes

 

- Arbitrage mode relates to charging at night, when rates are low, and discharging during peak demand hours, when rates are high see table 4.

- Midday solar surge mode relates to reducing the daily midday solar surge to avoid destabilizing the grid. See table 4

- RNS and FCM Charge Reduction mode relates to reducing a utility’s peak demand to reduce ISO-NE transmission and forward capacity charges. See next section

- Regulation mode relates to fine-tuning voltage and frequency of the grid (not considered in this analysis)

 

RNS and FCM Charge Reduction

 

Regional network services, RNS, are based on the utility peak demand occurring during a month

Forward capacity market, FCM, are based on the utility peak demand occurring during a year.

 

If a utility would have an average peak demand of 800 MW, a 1 MW/4 MWh battery system could reduce the demand by 800 kW (battery discharging from 90% full to 10% full), and thus reduce the RNS and FCM charges imposed on utilities by ISO-NE. The potential savings from peak shaving are estimated below.

 

RNS: 2020 RNS forecast = $129.26/kW-yr /12 = $10.77/kW-month. See page 7 of URL

If a utility could capture 800 kW during the peak hour of a month, the savings would be 800 x 10.77 x 12 = $103,408

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2021/07/a03_tc_2021_...

 

FCM: 2020 FCM forecast = $5.30/kW-month. See URL

If GMP could capture 800 kW during the yearly peak hour, the savings would be 800 kW x $5.30 x 12 = $50,880
This value multiplied by the reserve margin of 1.2, yields $61,056

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2020/02/20200218_pr_...

 

RNS + FCM cost reduction = $164,464/y

 

NOTE: With more utilities dreaming of a pot of gold to be gotten with battery systems, the high value of the RNS and FCM reduction may be temporary. ISO-NE needs to raise a given quantity of funds with RNS and FCM fees. If ISO-NE does not collect enough money, it merely will increase these fees, or other fees.

 

Amortizing Turnkey Capital Cost

 

The turnkey capital cost of New England battery systems, in 2021, would be about $700/kWh, delivered as AC to a high voltage grid.

Capital cost = 4,000 kWh x $700 = $2.8 million

This cost does not include 1) disposal costs of the batteries, and 2) any owning and operating costs

 

Amortizing based on 50% borrowed from a bank at 3.5%/y for 15 years, and 50% investor money at 9%/y for 15 years

Cost of amortizing = $72,624/y

See URL and Appendix

https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2019/07/f65/Storage%20Co...

 

Other Costs were assumed at $67,002/y

 

O&M costs are for: 1) power electronics, 2) thermal management, 3) HVAC of enclosures, 4) control and monitoring, 4) staffing, 5) miscellaneous items, such as site protection, lighting, insurance, taxes, upkeep/repairs, etc.

 

Assumptions

 

- A battery system able to deliver 1 MW of power for 4 hours, i.e., a rating of 1 MW/4 MWh

- Battery normal operation from 15% full to 80% full, to achieve a 15-y life.

- Battery real-world annual capacity factor at 50%

- Daily charging:

70% night-time from grid, at 3.5, wholesale + 1.6, ISO-NE charge = 5.1 c/kWh; the all-in wholesale cost. See table 5

30% mid-day solar from grid, at 19.84 + 1.6 = 21.44 c/kWh; the all-in solar cost. See table 5

- Electric rate during peak demand is 7.5 + 1.6 = 9.1 c/kWh

- System efficiency 80%, A-to-Z basis. See Appendix 

- No battery system aging. See Note

- No State and federal subsidies, such as 1) tax savings due to depreciation and loan interest deductions; 2) cash grants; 3) tax credits; 4) waving of various state and local taxes, fees and surcharges, etc., which politically shifts the cost of solar to other entities, to make solar electricity appear less costly, and to enable an owner to sell his solar production at a politically palatable cost of about 11.0 c/kWh, instead of an expensive-looking cost of about 17.74 c/kWh. See Note and table 5

- Battery amortizing cost is allocated to arbitrage and mid-day solar surge modes

  

NOTE: In the real world, the battery owning and operating cost/kWh would be reduced by at least 45%, due to various subsidies.

However, no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101

Costs are politically shifted from owners to ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts

 

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

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

 

NOTE: Battery system aging at about 1.5%/y (all components, not just the battery) would decrease the capacity of the battery system, and increase the cost/kWh by at least 1.5%, each year

 

Table 4

Grid

ISO-NE

Total

Total

Battery

cost

allocation

Arbitrage

Fraction

kWh/d

c/kWh

c/kWh

$/d

$/y

Charging cost

0.7

2500

3.5

1.6

89.25

32576

Discharging revenue

0.7

2000

7.5

1.6

127.4

46501

Gain

38.15

13925

97738

Midday solar surge

Charging cost

0.3

2500

19.84

1.6

160.8

58692

Discharging revenue

0.3

2000

7.5

1.6

54.6

19929

Loss

106.2

38763

41888

RNS and FCM gain

164464

Net gain

139626

Amortizing

72624

 

Net gain

67002

Other costs

67002

Net gain

0

Comment by Willem Post on December 8, 2021 at 11:08am

The 12 MW floating wind turbine project turnkey capital cost, including grid extension/augmentation from wind turbine to mainland grid would be at least $60 million

Assuming the owners earn 9%/y on their investment, and a 20 year life, the ANNUAL amortizing cost would be $6.478 million

The cost of electricity would be 12.317 c/kWh. This is only the amortizing cost

All other costs are IN ADDITION.

This compares with an average NE WHOLESALE price of 5 c/kWh, which has been the same, starting in 2009 to the present, courtesy of low-cost, low-CO2, clean-burning, DOMESTIC gas plants, and low-cost, near-zero CO2, DOMESTIC nuclear plants, which produce electricity at less than 5 c/kWh

Maine floating offshore

Turnkey, $million

60

Amortize, $million/y

6.478

Turbine, MW

12

h/y

8766

Annual CF

0.5

Electricity cost, c/kWh

12.317

Comment by Penny Gray on December 4, 2021 at 5:51pm

UMPI clammed up right away when the highly touted turbine failed to measure up to their projections, which is very unfortunate.  Learning and progress cannot happen without transparency and open dialogue. Could this be why we're still fumbling about in the dark ages of energy production?

Comment by Long Islander on December 4, 2021 at 5:37pm

I believe the following pages are where one should find information on the UMPI wind turbine.

www.umpi.edu/wind

 https://www.umpi.edu/sustainability/

When I just went there I got dead pages.

From 2009:

UMPI-2009.pdf

Note that the solar panels supposedly produce 460,000 kWh per year and avoid 326 tons of CO2 and the wind turbine set out to produce 1,000,000 kWh per year and avoid 572 tons of CO2. In other words, the solar produces only 46% of the wind turbine's electricity goal, but avoids 57% of the CO2. Did the CO2 output associated with the grid's electricity production somehow change?

UMPI promised to educate the PUBLIC on its learning from the wind turbine experience. Has the public ever seen that? I don't think so. Why not? Because it grossly underperformed all the going in goals and was nothing more than a monument to the consequences of not doing one's homework?

Comment by Penny Gray on December 4, 2021 at 7:50am

So UMPI gave up on industrial wind and turned to equally unreliable and diffuse solar to save money and the planet?  And this is a university?  Every time I drive past Colby's "solar field" proudly located right next to I-95 in Waterville and it's cloudy, or it's night time, or it's winter and the panels are covered with snow which is never cleaned off, I wonder if we'll ever follow science based energy policies.  

Comment by Willem Post on December 4, 2021 at 6:09am

WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide...

“All-in” Electricity Cost of Wind and Solar in New England

 

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

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

 

Pro RE folks point to the “price paid to owner” as the cost of wind and solar, purposely ignoring the other cost categories. The all-in cost of wind and solar, c/kWh, includes:

 

1) Above-market-price paid to Owners 

2) Subsidies paid to Owners

3) Owner return on invested capital at about 9%/y

4) Grid extension/augmentation

5) Grid support services

6) Future battery systems

 

Comments on table 4

   

- Vermont legacy Standard Offer solar systems had greater subsidies paid to owner, than newer systems

 

- Wind prices paid to owner did not have the drastic reductions as solar prices.

 

- Vermont utilities are paid about 3.5 c/kWh for various costs they incur regarding net-metered solar systems

 

- "Added to rate base" is the cost wind and solar are added to the utility rate base, used to set electric rates.

 

- “Total cost”, including subsidies to owner and grid support, is the cost at which wind/solar are added to the utility rate base

 

- “NE utility cost” is the annual average cost of purchased electricity, about 6 c/kWh, plus NE grid operator charges, about 1.6 c/kWh

for a total of 7.6 c/kWh.

 

- “Grid support costs” would increase with increased use of battery systems to counteract the variability and intermittency of increased build-outs of wind and solar systems.

 

NOTES:

1) NE wholesale grid price averaged about 5 c/kWh, starting in 2009, due to low-cost CCGT and nuclear plants providing at least 65% of all electricity loaded onto the NE grid, in 2019.

 

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

https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf


2) There are Owning costs, and Operating and Maintenance costs, of the NE grid

ISO-NE charges these costs to utilities at about 1.6 c/kWh. The ISO-NE charges include: 

 
Regional network services, RNS, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a month

Forward capacity market, FCM, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a year.

 

Table 4/VT & NE sources

Paid to

Subsidy

Grid

GMP

 Added

ISO-NE

Total

NE

Times

 

 

paid to

support

 

to rate

RNS+

 

utility

 

owner

towner

cost

adder

base

FCM

cost

cost

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

Solar, rooftop, net-metered, new

17.4

5.2

2.1

3.5

20.9

1.6

29.8

7.6

3.92

Solar, rooftop, net-metered, legacy

18.2

5.4

2.1

3.5

21.7

1.6

30.8

7.6

4.05

Solar, standard offer, combo

11.0

6.74

2.1

11.0

1.6

21.44

7.6

2.82

Solar, standard offer, legacy

21.7

10.5

2.1

21.7

1.6

35.9

7.6

4.72

Wind, ridge line, new

9.0

4.1

2.4

9.0

1.6

17.1

7.6

2.25

Wind, offshore, new

12.1

5.4

2.8

12.1

1.6

21.9

7.6

2.88

 

Sample calculation; NE utility cost = Purchased, 6 + (RNS + FCM), 1.6 = 7.6 c/kWh

Sample calculation; added to utility base = 17.4 + 3.5 = 20.9 c/kWh

Sample calculation; total cost = 17.4 + 5.2 + 2.1 + 3.5 + 1.6 = 29.8 c/kWh

 

Excludes costs for very expensive battery systems

Excludes costs for very expensive floating, offshore wind systems

Excludes cost for dealing with shortfalls during multi-day wind/solar lulls. See URL

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide...

 

“Added to rate base” is for recent 20-y electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in NE.

“Added to rate base” would be much higher without subsidies and cost shifting.

Areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW have lower c/MWh, than NE

 

Comment by Art Brigades on December 3, 2021 at 8:45pm

The Trustees thought about all that. But Dr. Zillman was in the room to remind the that reason, math and science have no place in academia.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on December 3, 2021 at 8:31pm

The wind turbine cost $2 million I think. And then there may have been additional big expenses. So why is the insurance funding something that costs "only" $1.2 million?

Also, the expected $42,000/year savings would seemingly represent an annual return on investment of 3.5%. The stock market over long periods of time historically would beat that return by double or triple. Am I missing something?  If you figured a conservative annual return of 7%, the stock market would grow the $1.2 million into $8.5 million by the 30-year mark. Anyone want to guess how well this solar installation would be working in year 30? Did I hear someone say "decommissioning costs"?

Comment by Art Brigades on December 3, 2021 at 7:42pm

Those Aroostook kids who used to pay for college picking potatoes...

Now they can shovel off the panels.

Presque%20Isle%20Weather.pdf

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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