China refines 95 percent of rare earth compounds that are used in making parts for wind turbines. That same rare earth is used in making the batteries for the Toyota Prius. China may soon put limits on the exporting of these compounds and Toyota may have to open a pit mine in California to obtain what they need.

This leads me to the question, how on earth do companies like Bath Iron Works (BIW) plan to make these turbines, plus pay union scale workers to build them and hope to compete with China in a world market?

There is a petition online co-authored by Peter Woodruff, a BIW mechanic/designer asking for signatures (the goal is 50,000) from people who want turbines that may be erected in the Gulf of Maine built in the U.S., preferably Bath Iron Works.

It might be interesting to view the number of petitioners and their comments.

note: Even though I am totally against the use of wind for power generation, I find it despicable of Baldacci and others to play off the hopes and fears of Maine workers. In a depressed economy workers need facts, not hyperbole to plan for their future. Luring workers with false promises just to sell more people on the use of industrial wind shows me just how desperate Baldacci is becoming.

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Comment by Joanne Moore on March 17, 2010 at 10:41pm
Do your homework, Stan. Just yesterday a U.S. House of Representatives Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee heard testimony that the U.S. faces a potentially serious shortage of rare earth metals, without which next generation renewable energy technology for wind turbines, hybrid vehicles, cell phones, and national defense technologies don't work. The House Science and Technology Committee heard from several experts including Mark Smith CEO of Molycorp Minerals the only active producer of rare earths in the western hemisphere. He said that China produces, at present, 97 percent of the world's rare earth supply, almost 100 percent of the associated metal production and 80 percent of the rare earth magnets. Growing Chinese demand for its own rare earths will soon match if not eclipse its own internal supply and with growing demand growing at a parallel pace there is a 60,000 ton production gap that must be filled. Forecasts now predict a shortage for the rest of the world outside of China could occur by 2012.
Rare earth metals are used in the advanced nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that are found in most current model hybrids; rare earth magnets enable next generation wind turbines, electric vehicle motors and generators; and rare earth phosphors illuminate compact fluorescent light bulbs.

A ton of heavy duty and lightweight magnets are used in a utility grade wind turbine, 700 pounds of which is neodyminium.

Stan, I have been studying this issue for months and believe me, all that I have just written can be found and backed up in any simple Google search. Just Google rare earth, or go to Wikipedia. And never, ever accuse me of saying anything I do not mean or can not back up. Period.
Comment by Stan Wood on March 17, 2010 at 7:01pm
This is the kind of blog that can kill your credibility. First, I doubt "rare earth compounds" constitutes a significant component in making the turbines. Second, specifically what is the compound? I am not a big proponent trading thousands of birds for an exaggerated amount of power, but we should do a good job when we make statements supporting our cause. I think Joanne should do some statistical work.
Comment by Allen Barrette on March 17, 2010 at 9:15am
You are correct in deserts having living things. I only mentioned that because there are limited impact sights even in the desert. Europe and china and now Israel are the leaders in the electro-magnetic technology, the US could have been if we stayed on track during the Carter days. My guess is someone payed off someone to not pursue in the venture. Could it have been the oil cartels of the 70s. Some parts of California have monorails, they also are experimenting with electric trucks for use at ports and deliveries around town. The science is so easy, politics are not. This is child's play, and yes you do have to be a rocket scientist to read law and 1000 page bills leading to nowhere. Putting things in motion is expensive already why not kill two birds with with one turbine? Some high speed bullet trains used in Europe today are actually floating on a magnetic field they have limited moving parts, the technology of back-emf keeps them economical. Whether it be hydro,solar,turbine,monorail, etc, they all excite a field so why not build these monorails smack up in the middle of every highway to secure park and rides systems and generate enough energy to not only power itself but to put back to the grid not in any order. That could be a start of something sweet. It would be complicated at first but the politicians would catch on one rail at a time. Think of the Investors that would want to get in on this. Ford,Chrysler,GM can make the cars and put Americans back to work. Amtrak would want in on this because it is a track and a threat to combustion engines so on and so on, it is endless. This is where our stimulus money should be going (start up costs) not repairing bridges in the long haul. "GOT VISION"
Comment by Joanne Moore on March 16, 2010 at 5:51pm
Hydro electric is a great way for Maine to go! I even read where there is a completely submersible electric generator inside a tube that is fish and eel safe that can be set up in a river. I rode the monorail in Disneyworld but I never heard it can produce electricity. I'll have to look it up. Sounds exciting!

As one who believes wind power does not work wherever it is placed because of the constant backup it needs, may I just point out that the deserts are teeming with life. And the bird and bat kill is horrendous! Have you seen Nettie Pena's
THEY'RE NOT GREEN videos on the U-Tube? There are 10 of them. Simply amazing!
Comment by Allen Barrette on March 16, 2010 at 5:29pm
There is too much technology out there that needs to be used in electricity generation. Turbines have there place in numbers out in the plains, farmlands, oilfields, desert, and away from any living thing on earth. I think there is too much disturbing of the earth with trying to erect these massive turbines and we need to keep them off the mountains. Hydro electric is a smart way to produce the current we will need. It is not a subsidizing entity it is the main source of clean energy that Maine can produce. Motion, inertia, and momentum, is what any generating machine needs to function. The Monorail can generate massive amounts of energy why do we not use this type of transportation system. Money,Money Money. I think this would make sense rather than the same old Baldacci econmics.


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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