Bills to energize renewable-power development in Maine go to governor / Mills signs wind bill

Bills to energize renewable-power development in Maine go to governor

By Tux TurkelStaff Writer

Clean-energy supporters are celebrating the pending passage of two bills that they see as catalysts to advance a new wave of renewable power development in Maine.

The first, L.D. 1494, will update Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, a policy that requires increased production of electricity from indigenous sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. The RPS bill aims to double the percentage of renewable power sold in the state to 80 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. The Senate approved the measure unanimously, the House by a 93-48 margin.

The second, L.D. 1711, would expand a range of solar electric projects, most notably by increasing an arbitrary cap on the number of customers who can receive power from a community solar farm from nine to 200. It was approved with a 32-2 vote in the Senate and 93-52 in the House.

Both bills were on their way Wednesday to Gov. Janet Mills. The governor, a Democrat, has voiced support for clean-energy polices and for blunting the impacts of climate change. She is expected to sign them in the coming days............................................................

Progress on the RPS goals will be measured by a future report to the Legislature’s energy committee.

RPS policies are in place in 29 states and Washington, D.C. They recently were the subject of an economic study discussed in a Forbes magazine article, which explored the paradox of rates rising at a time when the cost of renewable generation is falling.

The working paper generally found that retail rates went up, while the carbon emissions associated with climate change dropped only modestly. Among other things, it blamed the added cost of transmission lines and need for quick-start power plants to back up the intermittent output of solar and wind.

Payne said those factors vary, based on a region’s fuel mix and the distance from energy projects to population centers. In Maine, he expects many of the anticipated community and commercial-scale solar projects to be near grid connections, reducing the need for costly transmission upgrades.

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Mills signs wind bill, announces plans to advance offshore energy

The bill will direct regulators to approve a power contract that advances the University of Maine's long-delayed offshore wind project.

By Tux TurkelStaff Writer

Stalled efforts to test a floating wind farm off the Maine coast got back on track Wednesday after Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation directing the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, a first-of-its-kind wind project in the United States.

“With the innovative work being done at the University of Maine, our state has the potential to lead the world in floating offshore wind development,” Mills said. “This long-overdue bill will move us in that direction.”

Mills also announced two collaborative efforts to put the state back in the game for offshore wind energy research.

First, Maine has accepted an invitation from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to participate with New Hampshire and Massachusetts in a federally led Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Regional Task Force on offshore wind. The goal is to identify potential opportunities for renewable energy leasing and development on the outer continental shelf.

Mills also announced that she will create the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative. The state-based program will identify opportunities for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine and determine how Maine can best position itself to benefit from future offshore wind projects, including opportunities for job creation, supply chain and port development, and offshore wind’s impact on Maine’s energy future.

The initiative also will promote compatibility between potential future uses and existing uses, such as Maine’s commercial fishing and maritime industries...........................The Maine Aqua Ventus program is supported by $39.9 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. The pilot project seeks to deploy two UMaine-designed floating turbines off Monhegan Island.

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Comment by Willem Post on June 22, 2019 at 10:10pm


I had not seen the Maine design until recently.

Immediately, I thought this is a Rube Goldberg.

A similar design was analyzed at the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands, some years ago.

High winds and waves were simulated.

After much testing, it was finally shelved.

The Netherlands also does not have deep water ports, just as Maine.

The Norwegian design is not only less costly, but far more suited for the purpose, and has been PROVEN to work.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on June 20, 2019 at 9:56pm

Well put Willem, many points I have put forth for years. I tried discussing this with Matt Jacobson when he was the front man for offshore wind, I asked about deflection limits before failure, he blocked me from further comments! The bottom line is there is no way on a floating platform to stop the movement, IT"S FLOATING! These 500-600 foot towers magnify that movement exponentially and in some cases violently, and these high tech composite blades have limits to the amount of deflection the=at they can withstand. The likely hood of these temperamental systems withstanding many Nor'easters is in my mind questionable, but no one wants to talk about the facts it's all unicorns and rainbows! Which is really nothing more than BS!! That that is what the citizens of Maine will foot the bill on,, BS!! Thank You Comrade Mills and your foot kissing minions!

Comment by Willem Post on June 20, 2019 at 1:41pm

This demonstration project is unique in that: it will mount two 6 MW wind turbines to floating semisubmersible concrete hulls called the VolturnUS, and designed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine.

The patented VolturnUS hull technology has been demonstrated in independent reports to reduce the cost of offshore wind

I think the Norway has a much better design.

The only reason for the more complicated Maine design is the lack of deep harbors in Maine.

During a storm with high waves the 600 ft tall wind turbines would be swaying back and forth.

600-ft Tall Turbines Highly Visible From Mohegan Island, Plus Infrasound


The 600-ft tall Hywind wind turbines would be highly visible from Mohegan Island, if they were located TWO MILES east of the island.


At that distance, the problem would not be just cyclical, audible noises keeping people awake, but also low frequency infrasound, which can travel many miles, and passes through walls of houses, and can be felt but not heard, and has been shown to have adverse health impacts on people and animals.


The FAA-required aviation beacons would be clearly visible during nighttime. BTW, they would need to be located about 15 - 20 miles away from Mohegan Island to be unobtrusive to the Islanders.


Here is a research report of daytime and nighttime visibility of wind turbines that are about 3 to 4 MW and about 500 ft tall. See URL with photos.


“Study objectives included identifying the maximum distances the facilities could be seen in both daytime and nighttime views and assessing the effect of distance on visual contrasts associated with the facilities. Results showed that small to moderately sized facilities were visible to the unaided eye at distances greater than 42 km [26 miles (mi)], with turbine blade movement visible up to 39 km (24 mi). At night, aerial hazard navigation lighting was visible at distances greater than 39 km (24 mi). The observed wind facilities were judged to be a major focus of visual attention at distances up to 16 km (10 mi), were noticeable to casual observers at distances of almost 29 km (18 mi), and were visible with extended or concentrated viewing at distances beyond 40 km (25 mi).”


One has to feel sorry for all the residents of Mohegan Island, but the bureaucrats in Augusta, Maine, do not care about that, because there are not enough votes to stop them. Those bureaucrats are hell-bent to use federal and state grants, subsidies, taxpayer and ratepayer money of already-struggling Joe and Jane Worker to save the world, and to enrich a host of multi-millionaires seeking tax shelters. See Appendix.


Some Questions


Who are these Aqua Ventus multi-millionaire owners pushing for this expensive project?

How much would be the subsidies?

What would be the energy cost/kWh?

How long would the project last before it would have to be repaired?

How would it be repaired?

Would any special ships, facilities be required?

Does Maine have the required, at least 100-meter, deep-water port?

Is anyone looking at the entire picture on an A to Z basis, or are Maine bureaucrats just dreaming/prattling about castles in Spain?

Does anyone think the Norwegians would not want to make money to maintain/service and provide spare parts for their Hywind wind turbines?


Extremely Adverse Impact on CMP Electric Rates


LePage’s energy director, Steven McGrath, has focused exclusively on the cost of electricity from the demonstration project.


The rate is at least FOUR TIMES above wholesale market value, reflecting the custom design and experimental nature of the platforms.


It would start at 23 cents per kilowatt-hour in the first year, escalating at 2.5% per year to 35 cents after 20 years.


The PUC estimates it would add up to $208 million over the term, or about $10.5 million a year from Central Maine Power ratepayers. Maine Aqua Ventus had calculated the extra cost would add 73 cents a month to the average household electric bill, in the first year of operation, more thereafter..


That is a total rip-off, because Massachusetts pays only an average of 8 - 9 c/kWh over the life of the project.

Main bureaucrats need to learn from Governor Baker.


NOTE: The above prices should be compared with NE wholesale prices, which have been about 5 c/kWh since 2008, courtesy of abundant, domestic, low-cost, low-CO2 electricity from gas at about 5 c/kWh, and low-cost, near CO2-free electricity from nuclear at about 4.5 - 5.0 c/kWh.


This project is insanity on STEROIDS.


One has to feel sorry for the already-struggling Joe and Jane Workers in Maine who will ultimately pay for all this.


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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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.

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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."

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