FIGHT FARMERS FIGHT, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT - Aroostook power line would cut across Maine farms

One lie begets other lies. Here, the original lie is Maine's misguided rush to wind power such as evidenced in the state's expedited wind law which opened the gates for wind developers to tun roughshod over the state. If that insanity which started some 15 years ago was the crime, these transmission lines are the getaway car. For all the hucksters' claims about providing inexpensive electricity and saving the planet, the reality is that these wind developers are not exploiting the wind "resource", but rather the resources of the production tax credit, REC's, corrupt legislators, environmental group hand maidens, stupidity, gullibility, the good intentions of wholly uninformed citizens, special interest laws designed for their exclusive use, an incomprehensibly favorable press, etc.

The company behind the King Pine Wind Farm is none other than the gang from First Wind, well known to those who have fought wind power in the state. A considerable amount of the content on this website covered First Wind in the website's early years. (Simply use the SEARCH boxes on this site, putting in First Wind. Or put in names like Kurt Adams or Paul Gaynor. Or SunEdison, the company First Wind morphed into. Or names of backers DE Shaw or Madison Dearborn. Or S. Donald Sussman. Or Naomi Schalit. )

If science, economics, truth or justice were to prevail, the King Pine Wind Project would be dead in the water. And then of course, so would this equally insulting and totally corrupt power line.


Aroostook power line would cut across Maine farms


by Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli
4 weeks ago

The proposed route of the Aroostook Renewable Gateway power line cuts diagonally through the middle of Daniel MacPhee’s organic farm. 

And like many landowners along the LS Power route from southern Aroostook County to Coopers Mills, MacPhee is concerned about his farm’s future.

“I feel like they decided that farms are the path of least resistance. It’s open land already,” said MacPhee, who owns Blackbird Rise, an organic and native seed farm in Palermo near the end of the proposed transmission route.

In February, the Maine Public Utilities Commission selected New York-based LS Power and Long Road Energy’s King Pine Wind Project in Aroostook County for the gateway project. LS Power will build the transmission lines that connect to the New England grid and King Pine will generate the power. 

The Maine Legislature approved LS Power’s transmission line but not the proposed route in late June. Gov. Janet Mills signed it into law. 

But landowners and some lawmakers question how the law was passed without the proposed route, and want to know why LS Power is not following existing corridors that would keep the transmission lines off their land.

Every time he asked LS Power representatives about using existing corridors, they told him that those go over state lands and state lands were off the table, MacPhee said.

Residents and landowners have expressed concerns about the proposed LS Power transmission line route for the Aroostook Renewable Gateway. (LS Power)

Parts of the proposed route run adjacent to existing corridors, but the company made adjustments because there were hundreds of homes in some areas and other obstacles, such as environmental constraints, tribal lands and state lands, said Doug Mulvey, an LS Power vice president.

Mulvey said LS Power avoided state lands because the company would need additional approval from the Legislature to use those parcels. 

Under Maine law, developers must get two-thirds approval from the Legislature for transmission projects that cross state lands. 

Prior to the June vote on the transmission line, Sen. Rick Bennett told the Legislature that he was concerned about voting without the route or the rates.

“The people of Maine have told us that they want our review of these projects and they want us to vote and make a decision,” he said. “There is this notion of ‘trust the PUC, trust the developers, we’ve got it covered.’ But the people of Maine have been burned in the past.”

Bennett shares their skepticism and asked that the Legislature come back for a special session to vote on the transmission line when more information, like the route, becomes available. 

“They are trying to follow the path of least resistance, and when I say that, it is the path of least resistance politically, not having to go back to the Legislature to get a two-thirds vote,” said Steve Ingalls of Stetson. “It just doesn’t make sense why are they not using one of these other corridors? Why are they just plowing through organic farms?”

LS Power talked with more than 700 landowners during the recent information sessions regarding the proposed route and has fielded more than 400 phone calls and written correspondence from concerned landowners, Mulvey said.

“We gained a lot of information from landowners, and the route is not final,” he said. “It is subject to change.”

LS Power is required to receive community feedback so it can improve its proposal, Christine Kirby, communications director for Maine Senate President Troy Jackson’s office, said Friday........................

........................If the route passes through someone’s land, LS Power will purchase easement rights but not the land, Mulvey said. It will work with appraisers to obtain the value of various types of land — wooded, cleared, farm and residential — and it will pay landowners at least fair market value for the easements, he said. 

Ingalls, whose Stetson home is on a lake, said that if the proposed route is used, he will have to look at 150-foot transmission towers when he sits on his dock. There is a dip in the land across from him where the route will go up about an 80-foot ridge, which likely will be visible from many places in town, he said.

The transmission line passes through several of his neighbors’ properties, and they are concerned about wildfires, Ingalls said, referencing a recent Aroostook County fire started from a transmission line failure and California wildfires

He pointed to a recent Vermont and New Hampshire project, the Twin States Clean Energy Link, between Canada and the United States as an example of an alternative approach. 

The 211-mile, 1,200 megawatt transmission line will run through Vermont and New Hampshire using state highways for a new underground line that will come above ground when it reaches an existing utility corridor in New Hampshire, he said. 

MacPhee, who has a little less than 75 acres, 50 of which are forested and the rest open fields, farms organic seed that he sells to seed companies and also native plant seed that he harvests for milkweed. Additionally, he and his neighbor farm several acres of vegetables. 

MacPhee said it’s hard to quantify the impact this will have on his farm, which is on the eastern leg of the southern section of the route from Etna to Coopers Mills.

“Will people want to work with me under those lines or will I want to grow things under those lines?” he asked. 

And the wide open corridor through his farm could attract snowmobilers and ATVers to drive over his perennial crops, plus provide a path for foraging deer, he said. 

The people from LS Power were good at listening during the meetings, MacPhee said, but he has yet to see if they will act on what they heard. 

“I hope that they did an honest first draft and want to get feedback,” he said.



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Comment by Art Brigades on August 30, 2023 at 11:22am

Yes, Penny farmers do love their land. But look around at all the former farms that are now solar "farms." Like the biggest one in Maine (Farmington).

Farming is a tough life, and not always lucrative. Around the world, nation and this state, we've seen thousands of farms convert to renewable energy sites. Easy money talks, and it's hard to blame folks for "selling out" when the rent-seekers come knocking, dirty moneybags in hand. 

So don't take for granted that all farmers will hold on. The rent seeking "developers" are relentless.

Comment by Penny Gray on August 28, 2023 at 7:19pm

Farmers love their land.  They'll fight to the bitter end to protect it.  What remains to be seen is how many Mainers stand behind them.

Comment by Willem Post on August 28, 2023 at 8:13am

Maine utilities will be forced to buy that highly subsidized wind electricity at about 9 to 10 c/kWh.

That power line will have an annual capacity factor of about 0.3, which would increase to about 0.8, only during short term, windy periods, a highly inefficient way to operate a power line, which usually operate at an annual CF of about 0.6.

That means the owner of the transmission line will charge high fees/kWh, about 2 times the normal rate.

That variable wind electricity could not be fed into the grid, unless there is a fleet of quick-reacting power plants to counteract the ups and downs of wind output, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, which of course is not for free.

Those power plants require more Btu/kWh, emit more CO2/kWh, and produce at a higher c/kWh, and produce less kWh/year, than they would, if wind were absent, plus such  plants have more wear and tear

The owners of such plants get paid by ISO-NE for “grid support services”, which are charged to NE utilities, which charge them to ratepayers.

The Owners of the wind system likely are multi-millionaires looking for lucrative, 20-y tax shelters, while living in the poshest areas of the world, and who are laughing all the way to the bank, because they managed to screw hundreds of farmers out of a decent living, with help of the bought-and-paid-for ignoramus Legislators, Mills, and lapdog Media, who hide behind “fighting global warming”

Comment by Dan McKay on August 28, 2023 at 5:24am

I salute the citizens who are willing to stand up and stop this project. Maine people treasure the land and especially land that they work for they are a proud people and a benefit the state appreciates. LS Power has to relinquish their desires to turn Maine land into an undesirable waste land for their love of money. Wind projects never, ever will save ratepayers money. They destabilize the grid with unpredictable operations causing the grid operator (ISO-NE) to pay millions of ratepayer dollars to stop a critical natural gas plant from closing. Each additional wind project with attached billion-dollar transmission superstructure corrupts the smooth operation of power transfer to homeowners, commercial businesses and Maine manufacturers.

Because our legislative body is unwilling to stand against this land grabbing misadventure, landowners throughout the state must unite to send New York based LS Power and Boston based Longroad a no thank you, we do not want your project.

Comment by Art Brigades on August 27, 2023 at 11:12pm

All these years the wind weasels have had their sights set on Aroostook, but the one thing that stopped them dead was the lack of a connection to southern New England. If this transmission line that was put on greased skids by politicians gets built, the views of and from Katahdin will be irreparably marred.  For what?  25% of the juice that would have been delivered by the NECEC line that went down in flames (temporarily) when it went to statewide referendum. Low quality, high cost, part time, unpredictable, taxpayer/ratepayer subsidized wind power blasting away our mountains?  Or 24/7 reliable hydro power paid entirely by Massachusetts customers. Has Maine lost its mind?  These farmers deserve our thanks. 


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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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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