Backlash from US states to clean energy agenda

Republican lawmakers try to thwart president’s green revamp of nation’s electricity system 

In Texas, where the legislature has been consumed by the blackout debacle, bills introduced by state House Republicans would tax renewable energy projects, keep new wind turbines at least a mile apart and require solar and wind farms to procure back-up power to cover some of their down time. The Texas Senate on March 29 passed a sweeping electricity reform bill which included an amendment forcing solar and wind farms to purchase “ancillary services” and “replacement power” to help manage fluctuations on the grid. Introduced by Kelly Hancock, a Republican from suburban Fort Worth, the language posed “a tremendous threat to the continued operation of renewable energy projects in Texas”, the Advanced Power Alliance, an Austin-based clean-energy trade group, said in an alert sent Thursday.
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Land-Intensive Renewables: Three TW of Wind and Solar = 228,000 sq. miles


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Comment by Willem Post on April 12, 2021 at 1:02pm



The turnkey capital cost for implementing the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, would be in excess of $1.0 billion/y for at least 33 years (2017 - 2050), according to a 2015 Energy Action Network annual report. If updated to 2021, the numbers would be about $1.25 billion/y for 29 years (2021 - 2050). The CEP lists many measures to reduce CO2 by up to 80%, including the building out of wind and solar systems. See URLs.


Spending on government energy programs, including Efficiency Vermont, has averaged about $210 million/y from 2000 to 2015, a total of at least $2.5 billion, but Vermont CO2 emissions increased from 9.64 million metric ton in 2000, to 9.99 MMt in 2015, an increase of 3.6%.


That means, on average:


1) These RE projects have been expensive failures for 20 years

2) These RE programs led to higher energy prices, and higher other prices, than they would have been without those wasteful programs.


Those who advocate giving the same incompetent RE folks five times as much money per year, to implement the Shumlin/Klein-inspired VT CEP, per mandate of the unconstitutional GWSA, are very far beyond rational.


Advice: When you are stuck in a pit, it is best to stop digging, and find something better to do, such as increased energy efficiency, which would reduce CO2 at a very low cost per metric ton. See Appendix.


New England has Unfavorable Conditions for Wind and Solar


Some areas of the US are favorable for wind and solar systems, because of good winds, such as from North Dakota to the Mexican Border, and the sunny US southwest.


NE has very poor conditions for wind systems, except on its pristine ridge lines, and some offshore areas

NE has the most unfavorable conditions for solar, except the rainy US northwest.


As a result, the costs of wind and solar electricity, c/kWh, would always be significantly greater in NE, than in the more favorable areas.


In the windy areas, owners of very large-scale wind systems are paid about 5 c/kWh; they are said to be “competitive” with traditional fossil power plants.


However, these owners would need to be paid about 9 - 10 c/kWh, if there were no subsidies, including the Production Tax Credit, PTC, of 1.8 c/kWh; tax credits are like gifts, they are much better than deductions from taxable income.

The PTC, started in 1992, has been in effect for 28 years!! It looks like it will never end.


Warren Buffett Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. "For example, 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."


Green Mountain Power, GMP: Vermont utilities buy about 1.4 million MWh/y of hydro power, at 5.7 c/kWh, under a 20-y contract, from Hydro Quebec. The HQ electricity is not variable, not intermittent and does not cause midday solar bulges


GMP, a Canadian company, does not want to buy more hydro power from HQ, because that electricity would just be a “pass-through”, on which GMP would make minimal profit. HQ has the electricity and is eager to sell it to Vermont.


Instead, GMP wants to install solar/battery system combos all over Vermont. as part of its expensive micro-grid strategy. The solar electricity (already very expensive; see table 2) is variable, is intermittent and causes midday solar bulges. However, the batteries would very-expensively take care of those grid-disturbing deficiencies.


The 90% of production, bypassing the batteries, likely would be charged to the GMP rate base at 11 to 12 c/kWh

The 10% of production, passing through the batteries, likely would be charged to the GMP rate base at about 21.6 c/kWh


The solar/battery combo strategy is much more profitable for GMP, even though it would lead to significantly increase electricity costs for Vermonters.


Both systems come with: 1) grants from various sources, 2) 30% federal investment tax credits, plus state FITs, 3) 100% depreciation over 5 years, plus 4) deduction of interest on any borrowed money. The tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the taxes GMP would have to pay on net profits.


Vagaries of Wind and Solar in New England 

This article describes:


1) The variability and intermittency of wind and solar;

2) Multi-day, simultaneous wind/solar lulls.

3) Duck-curves due to midday solar output bulges.


Here is an example of a 6-day summer lull.


Here is an example of a multi-day winter lull.


Midday solar output, on sunny days, often is more than needed. The “100%-RE-in-Vermont” folks want to charge the unused electricity into battery systems and discharge it during peak demand hours. They propose a $1.2 billion down-payment on “Fortress Vermont”.


- About $900 million would be for new battery systems, during the 2020 – 2025 period.

That would serve a solar installed capacity of 1000 MW in 2025.

At least $2 billion would be required to serve 3000 MW by 2050, per CEP

The battery capacity would be about $900 million/($750/kWh) = 1200 MWh, i.e., 300 MW delivered for 4 hours. 


- About $300 million would be to pay solar system owners whose electricity outputs would be curtailed during high winds and very sunny days, during the 2020 – 2025 period.


Area Requirements of Energy Sources in New England


An August 2009 study for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory examined land-use data for 172 projects, representing about 80% of the installed and targeted wind capacity in the U.S., and found an average area of 85 acres/MW.


This study includes all area aspects of an energy source.

According to Tom Gray of the American Wind Energy Association, the average total land use for wind
is 60 acres/MW. Table 1 assumes an average of (85 + 60)/2 = 72.5 acre/MW


A 1000 MW CCGT plant on 343 acres produces 5.5 times the electricity of a 1000 MW solar plant on 8100 acres, i.e., solar needs 5.5 x 8100/343 = 130 times the land area of a CCGT plant to produce a MWh


A 1000 MW nuclear plant on 832 acres produces 6.2 times the electricity of a 1000 MW solar plant on 8100 acres, i.e., solar needs 6.2 x 8100/832 = 60.4 times the land area of a nuclear plant to produce a MWh


The CCGT and nuclear electricity: 


1) Is not season/weather-dependent,

2) Is not variable 

3) Is not intermittent

4) Has minimal CO2 

5) Has near-zero particulates

6) Costs less than 5 c/kWh for legacy plants, and about 10 c/kWh for new plants 

See table 1. See table 2 for solar costs.


Table 1/Source




Ridge line




New England


acre/1000 MW

miles/1000 MW


































Subsidies and Costs of Wind, Solar and Battery Systems


The owning and operating cost of wind, solar and battery systems, c/kWh, is reduced by about 40 - 45%, due to subsidies, such as:


1) Generous state and federal tax credits

2) State and federal grants

3) Accelerated depreciation write-offs over about 5 years, much shorter than the normal 20 to 25-year, write-off period for utilities.

4) Deductibility of interest costs


However, because no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101, the subsidy costs are “socialized”, i.e., added, in one way or another, onto:


1) The rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers,

2) Taxpayers, by means of extra taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills and fuel bills.

3) Government budgets

4) Government debt

5) Prices of goods and services other than electricity

6) Ratepayers, taxpayers the costs of: 1) grid extensions/augmentations, 2) grid support services, and 3) battery systems 


If the subsidies had to be paid by owners of wind, solar and battery systems, the contract prices paid to owners would need to be:

- At least 19.6 c/kWh, instead of 11 c/kWh, in case of large-scale solar

- At least 16.4 c/kWh, instead of 9 c/kWh, in case of ridge line wind. See table 1

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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