BDN - What Maine Public Advocate William Harwood Says About Natural Gas

The so called "Public Advocate" (you sure about that?) says there are no easy answers about natural gas. I disagree. Maine sits on the map not far at all from mammoth natural gas deposits. The state of Maine should be doing everything in its power to petition NY and Mass to stop blocking the construction of new pipelines that would run through their states on the way to Maine. Harwood should stop listening to these so called, self declared environmental groups which are on the payrolls of so called renewable energy companies. Stop the wishy washy nonsense and fight for true energy security for Maine.

No easy answers about natural gas in Maine

April 5, 2023

By William Harwood

William Harwood is Maine’s public advocate. Prior to 2018, as a lawyer in private practice, he represented Summit Utilities, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and large consumers of natural gas.

One of the biggest energy issues facing Maine is what to do about natural gas. There is no shortage of ideas, but unfortunately no easy answers.

Natural gas is transported to us via a system of high-pressure interstate pipelines. It’s used to generate approximately 50 percent of the electricity consumed in New England. Maine’s four natural gas utilities deliver gas to approximately 50,000 Maine ratepayers who use it primarily for industrial manufacturing or domestic heating and cooking. But few people are happy with the status quo.

The challenges surrounding natural gas are clearly illustrated by two dramatically different approaches. Maine businesses, represented by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and industry by the Industrial Energy Consumer Group, want to expand the pipeline network to bring more gas into Maine, especially during the coldest days of the winter. Environmental groups want to phase out the use of natural gas in Maine.

Driving this debate is a complicated and tangled web of economic and environmental concerns. Despite recent dramatic increases in the price of gas caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the gas industry continues to promote gas as costing less than most competing energy sources. But consumer advocates point to heat pumps using electricity generated by wind and sun as more cost-effective alternatives.

Environmental groups as well as the U.S. Department of Energy identify natural gas as a fossil fuel, just like oil. They point out that natural gas releases more methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere than any other energy source. There also is a growing body of scientific research suggesting that methane gas released inside our homes is a serious public health risk that contributes to childhood asthma.

Who is right?

The industry’s response to the environmental concerns is that it is working on a new product, which it calls “renewable natural gas.” By breaking cattle manure down in a system called an anaerobic digester, the gas is captured and can be used to generate renewable energy.

The natural gas issue is exacerbated by the claims from some of our local gas utilities that they are “growth” utilities that need to expand the number of customers served in order to lower the unit cost of delivering the gas. For example, 10 years ago Summit Natural Gas Company invested more than $300 million in Kennebec County to build a system designed to serve 15,000 customers. Today there are fewer than 5,000 Summit customers. Should Summit be using aggressive promotional and marketing techniques to convince 10,000 more customers to scrap their old oil furnaces and invest up to $10,000 in new gas furnaces to be served by Summit?

Can we meet our climate goals if we allow the gas industry to grow and expand? If we decide to phase out natural gas, who is responsible for picking up the “stranded costs” of all the gas infrastructure that is no longer needed? The investors or the ratepayers?

These are not easy questions. They require careful and thoughtful research and analysis that focus on the long-term costs and benefits of our dependency on natural gas to meet our energy needs. What we need is a clear-eyed understanding of the economic and scientific facts. What is not helpful are one-sided campaign type slogans that focus only on either the advantages or disadvantages of relying on natural gas..................................

Continue reading at


Fair Use Notice: This website may reproduce or have links to copyrighted material the use of which has not been expressly authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available, without profit, as part of our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, economic, scientific, and related issues. It is our understanding that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided by law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Views: 154


You need to be a member of Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine to add comments!

Join Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine

Comment by Willem Post on April 10, 2023 at 7:02am

The utility collects the additional money to pay for expenses related to wind and solar and batteries and floater wind turbine nonsense that kill fisheries, whales, and lobsters

Comment by Dan McKay on April 10, 2023 at 6:03am


The PUC seems to be able to tell us that the Longroad wind project in Aroostook County will save us money based on wholesale prices without even disclosing the numbers, but remains silent while we pay for electricity as if NG prices are still $8.41 per million btu.

The corruption and lack of transparency with Mill's agencies are appalling.

Comment by Dudley G. Gray on April 9, 2023 at 3:47pm

Mr. Harwood is full of methane. On 04/05 he blames Russia invasion the Ukraine for high gas prices. Since August of 2022 Nat Gas has collapsed from $8.41 to presently just over $2.00 per million btu. but  we have seen no decline in supply rates caused by this price decline.  As a matter of fact if the PUC used averages to calculate a supply price increase instead of allowing the current price much of this pain could be avoided. Neither Mr. Harwood nor the PUC want lower electric rates because it does not fit their  green agenda.   Dudley Gray

Comment by Dan McKay on April 7, 2023 at 7:06am

Hang in there, Penny Gray, we're chugging out as much C02 as we can to get global warming coming your way. 

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on April 6, 2023 at 7:00pm

This guy is an embarrassment to humanity, he sold his soul to the fake green energy. Commercial solar is every bit as useless as wind, as it destroys vast acres of grass lands or forestry that absorbs tons of CO2, which actually negates any supposed advantage of these fake 'green energies' and the forestry and grass lands doesn't have a limited lifespan as does the windmills and solar which is about 20 years for both of them. So this whole article is fake as he is pushing the destruction of our forests and rolling fields for the faker y of windmills filled with contaminated oils and solar using non recyclable heavy metals that are mined by child slave labor. Not really much honor in being beholden to the thieves robbing the taxpayers through a complicit government!

Comment by Penny Gray on April 6, 2023 at 6:48pm

I'm just hoping it warms up enough for me to get my truck up the mountain before the end of May.  It's been a cold spring here in northern Maine, with three feet of snow still on the ground.  I agree that the future lies in human ingenuity and real science, not political science. I have to trust that in the end, human ingenuity will win out.  There are some brilliant humans out there, working to protect and move into the future the most precious planet any of us have ever known.

Comment by Dan McKay on April 5, 2023 at 7:51pm

Once people understand there is no threat from C02 anywhere on this planet, all species of living thing will thrive from the use of efficient use of the planet's resources. Today, it is fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro in that order. The future lies in human ingenuity, not ridiculous. political superstitions.

Comment by Willem Post on April 5, 2023 at 3:52pm

Harwood is a mouthpiece for the subsidized wind and solar grifters and grafters

Why in hell are we exporting huge quantities of LNG from Louisiana and Texas to ungrateful Europe.

Such exports drive up the price for home heating and cooling and for producing clean, low-cost, low-Btu electricity that is not screwed up by New Englands variable weather


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


(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.”

Not yet a member?

Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

Task Force membership is free. Please sign up today!

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."

© 2024   Created by Webmaster.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service