University of Maine Fails Wind Power Data Test

The $2 million University of Maine wind turbine experiment, the state's only wind experiment that actually measures electricity, continues to fail the data test, not to mention the viability test.

When this grossly wasteful and expensive experiment began, great promises were made by the University about openly sharing data on electricity production and how much in supposed cost savings (ha!) could be truthfully attributed to the turbine.

It's been about a YEAR since real live data has been reported as promised.

The University continues to post the tired snippet below about fixing the data reporting. Ha!

But what is new is a reference to having produced 164,808 KWH over the past three months. If we assume this figure to be accurate, a straight line projection (12 months / 3 months x 164,808 KWH) results in an annual projection of 659,232 KWH.

Except for one thing - that the last three months are some of the windiest of the year in Maine and during large stretches of the year there is hardly a breeze? So what is the actual projection - 500,000 KWH annually at best?

And what about the inevitable long periods of future breakdowns?

If 500,000 annual KWH is about right, that would equate to about a 10% capacity factor, give or take. MISERABLE. No other word for it.

So when will the University share the true learning, painfully experienced first hand - that wind power absolutely, positively doesn't work as promised? As the Kool-aid soaked era of Baldacci administration wind boosting recedes into the past, it is high time that the University announces the real lesson learned about doing one's homework and not blindly following feel good dogma du jour -- with the same fervor that went into promoting this future pile of rusting junk.

The suffering citizenry is relying on the University to do its job and deliver the truth. Loudly. A single courageous act of telling the truth could stop the transmogrification of Maine and suffering of its people. It's your duty.


Related reading: The University of Maine's $2 Million wind turbine experiment (PDF)

and for an article that tells it like it is, please read the following  masterpiece on Maine wind power by Alan Farago.

COMING UP: May 15, 2012 - the three year anniversary of this failed  experiment. 

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Comment by Long Islander on February 19, 2012 at 12:56pm

Learning from Others’ Mistakes:
What Europe’s Experience with Renewable
Mandates and Subsidies can Teach Texas

Comment by Whetstone_Willy on February 15, 2012 at 8:59am

I believe the state government needs to make a lot of retractions and corrections.

I would like to see John Baldacci investigated and jailed. Maybe he could put little wind turbines on the license plates he could make in prison.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on February 15, 2012 at 8:48am

I think Baldacci should get real and retract the lies about getting off foreign oil..don't you?? YIKES

Comment by Whetstone_Willy on February 14, 2012 at 6:37pm

Comment by Rick Conrad on February 14, 2012 at 5:19pm

    Failure is the best teacher. Obviously someone has learned enough to not post the data. 

Comment by Whetstone_Willy on February 14, 2012 at 3:31pm

Comment by Harrison Roper on February 14, 2012 at 10:45am

Long Islander has it just right:  The turbine was shut down for 210 continuous days last year, ending last November 16 when it was suddenly running again and reported 17,749 KWH power production. But the promised data was not reported. 

  The next power report was December 3; 48, 938 KWH; then, on Dec. 18;  75,328 KWH. At that time, I calculated 17%  CF for the previous 30 days.. The next data report was December 29: 94, 610 KWH for 45 days; 13.9 %  CF.

  That output report stood for 45 days, the entire length of January,  and until  today (February 14), when 164,908 KWH was reported.  No other data has been reported- nothing about rotor rpm, bearing temperature, wind speed at ground and rotor, wind direction, humidity, air temperature, blade pitch, etc. that was promised, and no explanation is made.. It is now just three months until the turbine's third anniversary - I won't hold my breath.   Harry Roper  Houlton/Danforth

Comment by Willem Post on February 14, 2012 at 10:28am


The University of Maine, UM, decided to install a 600 kW wind turbine made by RRB Energy Ltd, an Indian company, at its Presque Isle Campus. Results from a 20-month wind resource assessment indicated the campus receives enough wind for a community wind project, not a commercial wind project. 

Community wind power is defined as locally-owned, consisting of one or more utility-scale or a cluster of small turbines, totaling less than 10 MW, that are interconnected on the customer or utility side of the meter. The power is consumed in the community and any surplus is sent to the utility which supplies power as needed.

The purpose was to generate power and to use the wind turbine as a teaching tool for the students. Because it is almost impossible to obtain operating data from the vendors, owners and financiers of wind facilities, UM, to its credit, decided to make available all of its wind turbine operating data.

Capital Cost and Power Production

Estimated capital cost $1.5 million

Actual capital cost $2 million; an overrun of 33%

The project was financed by UM cash reserves and a $50,000 cash subsidy from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Estimated useful service life about 20 years.

Predicted power production 1,000,000 kWh/yr

Predicted capacity factor = 1,000,000 kWh/yr)/(600 kW x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.190

Actual power production after 1 year 609,250 kWh

Actual capacity factor for 1 year = 609,250 kWh/yr/(600 kW x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.116; a shortfall of 39%

Value of power produced = 609,250 kWh/yr x $0.125/ kWh = $76,156/yr; if O&M and financing costs amortized over 20 years are subtracted, this value will likely be negative. 

Actual power production after 1.5 years 920,105 kWh

Actual capacity factor for 1.5 years = (920,105 kWh/1.5 yrs)/(600 kW x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.117

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."


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.”

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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

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Vince Lombardi 

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