Boston Herald Editorial on the "No Hydro" Rule, etc.

Revisit renewables
By Boston Herald Editorial Staff
Saturday, September 18, 2010

National Grid has testified that its contract with Cape Wind is the best way of meeting new state requirements that a portion of electricity come from renewable sources. Yet Cape Wind’s extravagant $2 billion pricetag - yesterday’s revelation added another $66 million to dismantle the structures at the end of their 25-year lifespan - ought to prompt repeal of these absurd requirements.

Attorney General Martha Coakley jawboned the parties into a 10 percent reduction in the initial price for the offshore wind farm’s electricity, now 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour with an annual 3.5 percent increase if the entire project is built. This is more than twice the typical current cost for electricity (exclusive of transportation charges) in the state.

What is the point of renewables? Avoiding net emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief gas behind alleged global warming.

Other agendas, however, must have been in play when the requirements were set. First, nuclear-generated electricity, which emits no greenhouse gases at all, can’t be counted toward the renewable quota, currently 5 percent of sales. (Nuclear generation is about 11 percent.)

More oddly, emission-free hydroelectric power, available at favorable rates from Canada, cannot count unless it comes from small projects, 50 megawatts or smaller. (Hydro now provides a bit less than 2 percent.) It’s senseless to barricade the cheapest avenue toward your objective, a fact that Vermont realized in dropping its “no hydro” rule recently.

About a quarter of Massachusetts’ electricity comes from coal and more than half from natural gas, which produces half the emissions of coal. Vast new discoveries of natural gas mean low prices for many years. A better low-emissions strategy - that is if one is truly needed - would encourage retirement of old coal plants with replacement by new natural gas plants.

This debate had ceased to be about clean air or greenhouse gases and become an exercise in ideologically driven agendas.

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Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on September 19, 2010 at 11:36am
It is high time that low cost Canadian hydro be looked at along with the obstacles that have been put in the way of hydro, such as qualifying as a renewable. Isn't that what rain and snow are? To date, there has been no investigative reporting in Maine that studies the thinking that went into the prejudice against hydro in attaining Maine's renewables goals. I suspect that what would be shown is a major shaping of the rules to benefit special interests.

But now the people - and more importantly, the voters are watching.

It would be nice if states like Mass would throw out the "no hydro" rule, as described in the article. Maybe then Mass would buy inexpensive power from Canada and stop torturing quietude-seeking Mainers at the other end of their power cords.

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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