All Hands on Deck: Mega Transmission Being Shoved Down Our Throats Based on a Big Lie

May 5, 2015 - A new article this morning from the Bangor Daily News following up on Governor LePage's nomination yesterday of Bruce Williamson to the Maine PUC begins with the words:

"One of the biggest and broadest challenges ahead in the electricity world is how to pay for the grid upgrades expected to cost about $1.5 trillion nationally between 2010 and 2030, an estimate developed by consultants at The Brattle Group".

http://bangordailynews.com/2015/05/05/the-point/nominee-for-puc-dis...

WHOA. Slow down. Before you start reading the rest of the article I suggest you reread that paragraph and contemplate:

a) the enormity of that dollar figure

b) the need for residents and businesses in Maine to carefully decide whether such grid upgrades are in fact inevitable as suggested by this lead off paragraph

After all, in Maine we were sold the idea of the $1.4 Billion CMP upgrade (Maine Power Reliability Project) on the basis of needing to replace our "aging lines", when in fact the REAL REASON for this monstrous expense was for the Baldacci administration and its PUC, controlled by Kurt Adams (already interviewing at the time for the job of Director of Transmission at First Wind), to have ratepayers buy First Wind the shipping system for its electrons and hoping nobody would notice.

The FACT is that wherever in the world wind power is being installed, grossly costly new transmission is required to accommodate the fact that wind's unpredictably occurring electrons, however insignificant over the course of the year, will thermally overload the grid if new lines are not built. As recently as last week, at the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee 4/29 Public Hearing, Maine's "Public Advocate", Timothy Schneider denied this fact that increased transmission expenses in wind are due to wind proliferation after Friends of Maine's Mountains correctly made such an assertion. Schneider amazingly said FMM's assertion was false and that we are building for reliability. However, following Schneider's outrageous statement, Tony Buxton of Preti Flaherty's Energy & Utilities Practice Group got up and said FMM's assertion was in fact very true, that more than half of the MPRP was to accommodate Maine wind. Paraphrasing what Buxton said:  "I was there. I was an intervener. I was party to the stipulation. They won't stand here and say it, but everybody knew it." Apparently, the EUT Committee was shocked at this revelation.

Plain and simple, the biggest scam in the Maine wind saga to date is that that $1.4 billion transmission project, a gift to the wind industry, was sold in under the false pretense of a need for reliability due to aging lines. Folks, the need for reliability was and is not due to aging lines but rather the proliferation of wind power. Plain and simple and no two ways about it.

If we do not draw a line in the sand as ratepayers, taxpayers and citizens and do everything in our power to challenge this big lie, we will continue to be led down the road to serfdom. 

Follow the money and check all assumptions.

The article this morning: 

http://bangordailynews.com/2015/05/05/the-point/nominee-for-puc-dis...

****************************************************************

Earlier coverage on the Bruce Williamson nomination:

Knoxville News-Sentinel: UTennessee researcher nominated for seat on Maine Public Utilities Commission

Williamson said he took an interest in the Maine job after Vannoy's suggestion when they met at American Council of Engineering Companies' annual Engineering Excellence Awards. Williamson said he didn't realize at the time that Vannoy was MPUC chairman, thinking only that he was a PUC staff member.

http://www.knoxnews.com/business/ut-researcher-nominated-for-seat-o...

Bangor Daily News (watch for updates)

http://bangordailynews.com/2015/05/04/politics/lepage-nominates-ten...

Maine Biz

http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20150504/NEWS0101/150509988

Portland Press Herald  (watch for updates)

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/04/lepage-nominee-for-puc-seat-a...

Governor Nominates Economist Bruce Williamson to Maine Public Utilities Commission

May 4, 2015

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 04, 2015 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that Dr. Bruce Williamson, an economist at the University of Tennessee’s Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, has been nominated as Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). If approved by the Legislature, Williamson would join engineer and Commission Chair Mark Vannoy, and attorney Carlisle McClean, at the Commission.

In addition to his role as senior economist at the Howard Baker Center, Dr. Williamson has served as a research professor at the University’s College of Business Administration; a lecturer in advanced data analytics; and as a senior economist at the National Defense Business Institute. Prior to 2009, Dr. Williamson held various high level positions in technology, utility, telecommunications, and economic modeling firms.

“Maine is very fortunate to have such highly talented professionals working on the state’s complex energy issues,” states Governor Paul LePage. “We are excited that Dr. Williamson is willing to come to Maine to help us address our unique energy challenges and high energy costs.”

The Governor’s sentiments are echoed by Dr. Williamson’s present and former colleagues.

“As a former state commissioner, I know how important it is to have creative and intelligent individuals working on addressing energy challenges. I’m excited for Bruce and the state of Maine; you will have a high caliber economist working on these issues.” -- Suedeen Kelly, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, nominated by both President Bush and Obama, and former Chair and Commissioner, New Mexico Public Service Commission

“While we will miss Bruce Williamson at the Howard Baker Center, we are ecstatic for Bruce and his nomination. The State of Maine is lucky to have an individual of his caliber be considered for the Public Utilities Commission. I have found Bruce to be intelligent, professional, and creative and I am encouraged that he will be working to address energy and environmental challenges.” -- Dr. Howard Hall, Senior Fellow and Director of Global Security Programs, The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

Williamson earned his PhD in economics at the University of New Mexico; holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Korbel School of International Studies in Colorado; and has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

The MPUC regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities to ensure that Maine consumers enjoy safe, adequate and reliable services at rates that are just and reasonable for both consumers and utilities. The Commission oversees emerging competitive markets for some of these services. The Commission also regulates water taxis and ferries in Casco Bay, and promotes safe digging through the Dig Safe underground utility damage prevention program.

“I encourage the Legislature to move swiftly on this nomination and base their consideration on the merits and qualifications of Dr. Williamson. There is important work to do at the MPUC and I have the utmost confidence he will serve the people of Maine well,” added Governor LePage.

Williamson would replace outgoing Commissioner David Littell. He will appear before the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology in the upcoming weeks. A date has not yet been scheduled.

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEGOV/bulletins/1029079

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Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 10:37am

A great comment from a reader seen in the BDN:

How much do you think it is going to cost to build all the new transmission lines from the new northern Maine wind projects to southern New England? Answer: $Billions, and that number has not yet been added to our electricity bills. Storage? There are no commercial or industrial rated storage facilities in the USA that can produce power for more than a few hours at rated capacity and that storage costs more than the cost of the generating plant it backs up. Renewables are cost competitive? Baloney. You have upfront subsidies of 30%, you have surcharges on our electric bills (e.g. RGGI) and you have 100% subsidies on Net Metering. If renewables are so competitive why is it they need so many subsidies?

http://bangordailynews.com/2015/05/04/business/sunedison-halts-talk...

Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 10:09am

"Kurt Adams: When the governor’s task force was doing its work, Adams was head of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, although he had already had communication with wind developer First Wind about possibly going to work for them. In their report, task force members wrote “PUC Chairman Kurt Adams and agency counsel Mitch Tannenbaum, and DEP Commissioner and Task Force member David Littell were particularly helpful to the Task Force in developing and presenting information regarding the regional energy system, electric transmission, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and other renewable energy policy issues as they relate to wind power.  Adams left the PUC to take a high-level position with First Wind in May, 2008; in April, he had received 1.2 million units of equity in First Wind — akin to stock options — while he was still at the PUC. An investigation by Attorney General Janet Mills determined Adams had done nothing wrong".

http://pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/

Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 10:07am

"....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.”

http://pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-sk...

Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 10:04am

Governor Baldacci's wind task force ignored the need for massive new transmission line construction to move wind energy from turbines to market, which could be costly to ratepayers.......

http://pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-...

Comment by Art Brigades on May 5, 2015 at 9:55am

In 2010 the chief of the New England Power Grid told us that reaching wind power goals would require billions of dollars in transmission lines:  

"There aren't nearly enough wind farms even proposed yet to capture that much power, and delivering it would require spending $19 billion to $25 billion for new  transmission lines," said the ISO's president and chief executive, Gordon van Welie.

Comment by alice mckay barnett on May 5, 2015 at 8:30am

I read where the first upgrade, Maine Reliability project, was for 1400 MW of WIND.

So, without egg on their face, the PUC needs to approve that many turbines? 

BUT, we cannot allow more turbines or new transmission. I am in total agreement .

Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 7:45am

Alice - I'd say the first step is that everyone in the wind fight becomes acutely aware of the transmission scam that has been perpetrated on us. It starts with education, first among ourselves and then to anyone who will listen. The mainstream media have been a major problem. The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is on to this and hopefully will continue trying to get the word out. The newly comprised PUC must be approached. This must be stopped. Transmission is the lifeblood of wind power and so far, we've been not only tolerating the unnecessary buildout, but we've been paying for it and giving it to the wind industry. We must be relentless on this issue.

Comment by alice mckay barnett on May 5, 2015 at 7:33am

how do we stop a new transmission build out in Maine?

Comment by Long Islander on May 5, 2015 at 6:50am

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting on Maine Public Utilities Commission

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/maine-center-for-public...

Comment by alice mckay barnett on May 4, 2015 at 9:51pm

excited?  is that a qualitative word?

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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

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

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From 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?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From 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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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