James LaBrecque and Canadian Hydro Destroy The Wind Lobby

Green Crony Corporatists Are Obstacles to Lowering Energy Bills, Cleaning Environment

3/28/18, by James LaBrecque,

*Editor Note*

Maine First Media asked The Governor’s Technical Advisor on Energy, James LaBrecque his opinion on House Democrats voting against lifting caps on clean and cheap Canadian hydropower.

You can read more details on the bill and the vote by clicking here.

Click here to see an “At-A-Glance” roll call of the vote provided by our friends at Maine First Project.

Read below for Mr. LaBrecque’s answer.


Democrats – Still Big Oil And lobbyist’s Best Friend for draining Maine’s Economy Into The Pockets of Foreign Corporations and Forgetting About Reducing CO2

Maine uses 100-Times more oil for heat and transportation than to make electricity. For every $2.00 we pay towards a gallon of oil that leaves the State, $17.00/MMBtu (million British Thermal Units) disappears from Maine’s economy into the pockets of oil companies.

Buying clean hydropower from our northern neighbors and paying 6-Cents a kilowatt to run high-efficiency heating systems here in Maine, keeps $11.00 of that $17. 00 in our economy. It doesn’t take long for us poor Mainer’s to fill the pockets of big corporations with a quarter-billion-dollars of cash.

My name is James LaBrecque; I am the Governor’s Technical Advisor on Energy. My first involvement with Hydro Quebec (HQ) was back in 1987 when CMP wanted to install a power line from the Canadian border down through Franklin County (Jay, Farmington, etc. area). State Representative Conrad Heeschen (D) was a State Energy Committee member back then and a spokesman for No Thank Q Hydro-Quebec, a group formed to oppose CMP’s power line.

According to a New York Times, January 15, 1989, story; Heeschen stated that “cutting through the heart of some of the last remaining wild lands would be a real travesty.”

Heeschen’ s group of group-think people who opposed one power line coming through Franklin County back then — do not oppose a cobweb of power lines and transmission lines cutting through all the area mountains today to support wind.

Maine uses far more energy for heat and transportation than for electricity. We would need to more than double all our present electrical generators if we wanted to displace our oil use with electricity. The question is, where will Maine get all its energy to generate the electricity needed to displace oil if we don’t tap into the 30+ equivalent nuclear power plants of clean hydropower from Canada.

A Democrats vote against Canadian Hydro, is a vote for big oil. They can’t say they are going to use solar and wind anymore because the facts are out that that’s a big lie. A solar panel produces less than two whiskey shot jiggers of oil a day, and most of that is generated in the summer months when we don’t use much oil for heat. Forgetting solar as a replacement for oil leaves us with wind. To displace oil with wind to heat just Maine homes that heat only with oil, the wind industry would have to install 755 Mars Hill wind mountains throughout Maine. That’s 47 mountains in each of Maine’s 16 counties.

The oil industry has vigorously opposed heat pumps because of their substantial impact on reducing home heating oil. The oil industry is friendly to solar and wind because it has no impact on reducing Maine’s oil use.

When it comes to CO2, Maine is an oil state, not an electric state. Maine has the 4th cleanest electricity in the country and uses more oil per capita for heat and transportation than any other state in the union. Buying expensive solar and wind electricity to displace the 4th cleanest electricity in the country results in a very high cost per unit of CO2 reduction.

On the other hand, using Maine’s clean electricity to run high-efficiency heat pumps that displace oil is eight times more cost-effective. In other words, for every million dollars invested in heat pumps, you would need to buy 8-Million dollars of solar panels to save the same amount of CO2.


*Editor Note*

Mr. LaBrecque has many ideas on lowering energy costs for Mainers in environmentally friendly ways.

He was recently a guest on the George Hale and Rick Tyler show on WVOM where he discussed some of these ideas. His interview is in two parts; you can listen to part one here, and part two here.

According to Mr. LaBrecque, Gov. Paul LePage has three rules for energy policy:

  1. Lower the cost of energy in Maine;
  2. Do no harm to the environment;
  3. Energy policies should be fuel agnostic.

In addition to his comments, the Governor’s Special Advisor on Energy also shared some compelling statistics with Maine First Media:

  • Displacing ONLY Maine’s oil heated residential homes with wind energy would require 755 Mars Hill Mountains worth of windmills;
  • Maine uses about 100-Times more oil for heat and transportation than for electric generation;
  • Only three states in the country have cleaner electricity generation than Maine;
  • Only 10% of Maine’s carbon footprint comes from generating electricity.
  • Maine uses more oil per capita for heat and transportation than any other state.
  • When it comes to CO2, Maine is an oil state; expensive wind farms that displace our clean electricity do very little to nothing to reduce oil or CO2 emissions.

Mr. LaBrecque asks proponents of massive subsidies and sweetheart regulations for wind energy to answer these five questions:

  1. What is the specific number of Maine mountaintops should wind industry be allowed to blow up?
  2. Can you identify each of these mountains on our state map?
  3. Can you lay out a plan on the map where all the distribution and transmission lines will be placed?
  4. Can you provide a detailed cost analysis and financial impact statement to ratepayers and taxpayers?
  5. Can you provide proof of local public support for each project?

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Comment by Dan McKay on March 29, 2018 at 10:07am

To make comment/question to the PUC about the NECEC project :

From the PUC website, locate and click on " Online Filing, Docketed Cases, Forms & RFPs " from the left hand column.
Click " Public " in the "Online Filing " Box
Click " Submit a comment in a case/docket "
Enter   2017-00232  for the case number and Click " go " 
Comment by Long Islander on March 28, 2018 at 11:53pm

Thank you Dan.

Comment by Dan McKay on March 28, 2018 at 8:57pm

Long Islander,

I believe this is the Portland Project : The line voltages seem to be local distribution, not large transmission upgrades necessary to support generation projects.

Maine Power Reliability Program
Portland Area Analysis - Solutions Assessment   3/13/2018  case # [2011-00138]
The all transmission solution that is recommended includes 17 miles of new 115 kV lines, 15 miles of
new 34.5 kV lines and upgrades or new construction at 8 substation sites.
Comment by Long Islander on March 28, 2018 at 7:58pm

I wonder whether the mystery $214 million CMP Portland area project mentioned in the BDN (but gone unnoticed by the PPH) relates to Canadian hydro or wind.

CMP proposes $214 million Portland-area electricity infrastructure upgrade

CMP turned down several requests for comment, and its detailed filing on the proposal has been termed confidential because it includes information about critical infrastructure that could pose a security threat if released.


Comment by Dan McKay on March 28, 2018 at 7:23pm
Mr. McDonald,

In fact, CMP states in their 83D NECEC proposal that 23 projects are ahead of them in the ISO-NE interconnection queue. 

Most all were proposed Maine wind and solar projects attached to other bid offers to the Mass, RFP., so I would think the costs were disclosed and evaluated against the NECEC proposal,
I do contemplate NextEra , perhaps EDP and wind friendly environmental groups,( NRCM, CLF , Renew New England ) will argue earlier placement in the interconnection queue, as well as Maine's wind goals in statute constitutes legitimate reason to halt the project.
My gut feeling is the PUC is cognizant of the fact that wind is not the pleasure of the rural parts of Maine that it once was, that Maine has exceeded it's own renewable percentage standards, that wind has proven to raise electric rates, that everyone had a fair chance in the Mass. RFP and, finally, the fact that the Governor is pushing the permitting agencies to move forward expeditiously. 
This project still awaits an interconnection study by ISO-NE.
This project will increase the transfer limits at the Surowiec South interface from 1600 MW to 2600 MW, so there is no added room for other significant proposals. Another transmission upgrade would be required to do so.
I am curious about the situation where the NECEC project's power is purchased thru a PPA with Mass. utilities, but most of Maine's wind facilities are also contracted with the same utilities. The bidding for inclusion to the ISO-NE market could get interesting, especially where wind is expected to bid into the day ahead market fpr the first time beginning June 2019.
Comment by richard mcdonald on March 28, 2018 at 6:50pm

The bigger story is the intervention of wind/solar developers in the PUC deliberations on the NECEC project and the DEP/LUPC hearings forthcoming in late Summer. I spoke with Thron Dickinson, VP Business Development for Avangrid at the public meeting in Bingham on the NECEC project. I asked him if CMP has the capacity to run the MCPC line if the NECEC line is complete. He said, "no." Constriants in the southern end of the system would prohibit more megawatts - especially another 1200MW. I asked him if CMP had completed a formal study on the constraints and the cost associated with resolving the roadblock. He said, "no." Believing anything CMP/Avangrid states about their intentions is risky at best, but I can see a new initiative coming out of the intervention process giving CMP the green light to investigate this issue and report back with feasibility and cost - I assume they've already done the work. The bottleneck will seriously impede wind/solar development in western Maine and developers and their cohorts (including Democrats) will cheer this on. Be prepared for this outcome. NextEra Large wind farms/storage and solar farm plus NRG and Eversource have big plans for the MCPC line being built. Plus CMP and their Canadian partner have a proposed  wind farm in northern Somerset they tucked into the 83D bid that went unnoticed. Stay tuned.  

Comment by Long Islander on March 28, 2018 at 5:57pm

AVANGRID Subsidiary Central Maine Power Chosen in Bid to Deliver Clean Energy to New England Grid

Massachusetts agrees to the company’s New England Clean Energy Connect from among 46 proposals as the sole solution in Commonwealth’s clean energy initiative


Comment by Dan McKay on March 28, 2018 at 4:07pm

Democrats of the Maine Legislature are a curious bunch.

Their energy policy leader is Seth Berry who has been scratching his head as to why electric rates are going up in Maine.

He is so puzzled he sponsored a bill ” proposing to establish a task force to examine the cost of the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses in this State and the factors that may cause this cost to rise”………

“The task force would include among its members representatives of consumers, producers, electric utilities, the Governor’s Energy Office, the Public Utilities Commission and the Office of the Public Advocate and Legislators. ”

Well the Public Utilities Commission requested out.

The Governor’s Energy Office requested out.

But, the NRCM requested in.

I guess it’s hard to come to the reality that in 2008 when Berry was on the energy committee that produced the Wind Energy Act and the $1.4 billion dollar Maine Power Reliability Transmission upgrade project, that such things as wind projects and huge transmission projects would cost money.

Not to mention the expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standards, the expansion of the Efficiency Maine Trust or the expanding carbon tax program, RGGI

All these costs are enumerated on the PUC website

So, I ask: why do all the democrats continue to kowtow to Berry’s position on energy ?

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 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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