Landmark bill passed by House and Senate seeks to sell off Maine’s fossil fuel investments

EXCERPTS:

Maine could become the first state where lawmakers order 'divestment' from fossil fuels, although changes to the bill could slow the process.

Divestment advocates hailed the bill’s passage as a landmark moment that helps put Maine at the forefront (at least among state governments) of an international campaign that they say has solid ethical and financial footing. Youth climate activists, environmental groups and state retirees led the fight for the bill in Maine.

“As the Gulf of Maine keeps heating, so does the pressure on the fossil fuel industry: divesting sends a truly powerful message, and to have Augusta join in adds real weight,” Bill McKibben, an author, early advocate for divestment and c0-founder of the group 350.org, said in a statement after the House vote. “This action is a gift to the planet – and also to the pensioners of the Pine Tree State, freeing them from the money-losing investments in gas and oil that are also undercutting the landscape into which they will someday retire.”

The bill, L.D. 99, would require both Maine’s state treasurer and the board of the state pension fund, known as MainePERS, to divest from fossil fuels by January 2026. That process would include selling off any current holdings and not investing in specific types of companies that either hold fossil fuel reserves, operate coal-fired power plants, are involved in extraction or operate infrastructure used for fossil fuels.

“It is not up to us to direct a pension fund how to do what their specialty is, and their specialty is investing,” said Rep. Bruce Bickford, R-Auburn. “That is what they do. We don’t do that as a body. It’s not our role. It’s not our role either to pick winners and losers in the business community.”

Read the full article at:

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-turbines-and-fore...

MEANWHILE, Charles Schwab's sector analysis 6/12/21

https://www.schwab.com/resource-center/insights/content/schwab-sect...

 

Maine lawmakers near bipartisan deal to ban offshore wind in state waters

Excerpts:

“I’ve been working across the aisle to try to make a bill that gives the fishing industry a seat at the table,” said Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, a Republican and lobsterman from Winter Harbor.

He’s been a standard-bearer in the industry’s fight against ocean wind. This month, Faulkingham won a key committee’s unanimous support for turning the governor’s time-limited moratorium on near-shore wind projects into a permanent ban.

Faulkingham initially declined further comment, pending some final wordsmithing of the measure.


In a later statement, Faulkingham emphasized that while he is supporting the committee’s compromise measures in order to improve the lobster industry’s position, he still opposes wind-energy projects anywhere off Maine’s coast, including near Monhegan Island.

Read the full article at:

https://bangordailynews.com/2021/06/11/politics/maine-lawmakers-nea...

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Comment by Nancy Sosman on June 15, 2021 at 8:12am

"Lithium batteries play a key role in this transition: they power electric vehicles and store energy on renewable grids, helping to cut emissions from transportation and energy sectors. Underneath the Atacama salt flat lies most of the world’s lithium reserves; Chile currently supplies almost a quarter of the global market. But extracting lithium from this unique landscape comes at a grave environmental and social cost."

Comment by Nancy Sosman on June 15, 2021 at 8:09am
Comment by Willem Post on June 14, 2021 at 3:51pm

ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS SYSTEMS NOT COST-EFFECTIVE IN NEW ENGLAND AND CANADA

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-bus-systems-l...

Charging Electric Buses

 

Normal Operation at 32F and below: On cold/freezing days, an electric bus battery would use on-board systems to heat itself, as needed, during parking and driving.

 

Charging at 32F and below: Li-ion batteries cannot be charged below 32F. Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium would occur on the anode. This is permanent and cannot be removed with cycling.

Plating results in: 1) loss of range, 2) sharp dendrites could create shorts in battery cells, causing failures/fires, if exposed to rough road driving, or other stressful conditions. 

 

Power Failure at 32F and below:

Partially full batteries, connected to dead chargers, could empty themselves to prevent freezing.

As an alternative, buses could be towed to a warm garage, then charged.

See URLs.

 

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/12/electric-bus-inferno-in-hano...

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/263036/why-charging...

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_at_high_and_lo...

 

NOTE:

- Batteries have miscellaneous losses to provide electricity to on-board systems, similar to Tesla and other EVs  

- On cold/freezing days, an electric bus should be ready for service as soon as the driver enters the bus

- On cold/freezing days, the driver would need at least 70% charge, because travel would require more energy per mile

 

NOTE:

If the battery temperature is less than 40F or more than 115F, it will use more kWh/mile

The higher efficiency range, charging and discharging, is 60F to 80F.

Batteries have greater internal resistance at lower temperatures.

Pro-bus folks often point to California regarding electric buses, but in New England, using electric buses to transport children would be a whole new ballgame, especially on colder days. See URLs

 

NOTE: Where would the electricity come from to charge and protect from cold, expensive batteries during extended electricity outages, due to multi-day, hot and cold weather events, with minimal wind and sun, as occur in California, Texas and New England?

Emergency standby diesel-generators? Emergency standby batteries?

 

https://www.wired.com/story/electric-cars-cold-weather-tips/

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1127610_keep-your-parked-elect...

Comment by Willem Post on June 14, 2021 at 3:47pm

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

Energy Action Network: EAN, prepared a report listing the measures required to “meet Paris by 2025”. That goal is mandated by the Global Warming “Solutions” Act, GWSA, and in accordance with the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan.
https://www.eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAN-report-2020-fi

 

EAN claims, without providing calculations, replacing 90,000 vehicles of the VT LDV mix, with 90,000 EVs would reduce CO2 by 0.405 million metric ton/y, or 4.5 Mt/EV/y, tail-pipe basis.

 

VT-DPS artificially reduced the CO2 of the VT electrical sector from 1,000,000; 810,000; 490,000; 190,000; and 130,000 Mt, for 2015 through 2019. These values are almost entirely based on “paper” power purchase agreements, PPAs, VT utilities are required to have with in-state and out-of-state power generators. If utilities did not have such PPAs, they would be stealing!

 

VT utilities physically draw about 95% of their electricity supply from the VT/NE high voltage grid.

ISO-NE monitors/records these draws on a real-time basis, and apportions the draws according to the provisions of the PPAs.

 

GMP had a PPA for 30.8% of its supply, at 4 c/kWh, with Seabrook Nuclear plant in 2020

ISO-NE allocates 30.8% of the GMP draw to Seabrook, which gets paid accordingly.

The same with the 55.4% of “Large Hydro” at 5.6 c/kWh, which is mostly Hydro-Quebec.

It is called “Settlement Process”; every grid has such a process to pay electricity producers connected to the grid.

 

Conveniently, VT-DPS declared nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, biomass, farm methane, etc., as having zero CO2 emissions, for bookkeeping purposes. The physical reality is quite different, according to 100% of realistic scientists and engineers.

 

Accordingly, GMP can claim to be “95% CO2-free”, because it signed “paper” PPAs to buy more nuclear, etc.

GMP does not have to invest one dime to comply with “being politically green”.

Legislators know it, and encourage it with subsidies. See URLs

 

https://greenmountainpower.com/energy-mix/
https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_Update_1990-2017_Final.pdf

 

Electricity travels, as electromagnetic waves, at near the speed mpg light, i.e., about 1800 mile in 0.01 second, i.e., from northern Maine too southern Florida in 0.01 second! The electrons largely vibrate in place at 60 cycles per second. It is pure nonsense to talk of a “Vermont Energy mix”, or a “New Hampshire energy mix”

 

https://vermontbiz.com/news/2021/may/20/vermont-makes-progress-carbon-reduction-new-state-report
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-electric-vehicles-in-new-englan

Comment by Willem Post on June 14, 2021 at 3:45pm

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House (as they are in almost all people's houses)

 

My annual electricity consumption increased about 50% (the various taxes, fees, and surcharges also increased), after I installed three Mitsubishi, 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.

The heat pumps last about 15 years.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-o...

 

They are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, well-sealed/well-insulated house. It has 2” of blueboard (R-10 vs R-0.67 for 8” concrete) on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab which has saved me many thousands of heating dollars over the 35 years.

 

Before heat pumps, my heating propane was 1000 gal/y, after heat pumps, it was 830 gal/y, a reduction of 170 gal/y, or $310/y, at $2.399/gal. Additional electricity costs were $609/y. I am losing money

Domestic hot water, DHW, heating, requires about 200 gallon/y

 

My existing Viessmann propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 15F or less, because heat pumps have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat; a perverse situation, due to the laws of Physics 101!!

 

The heat pumps would be slightly more efficient than electric resistance heaters at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature. It would be extremely irrational to operate air source heat pumps, at such temperatures.

 

I have had no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges. Vermont forcing, with subsidies, the addition of expensive RE electricity to the mix, would make matters worse!!

 

Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y; I am losing money.

 

There likely will be service calls and parts for the heat pumps, as the years go by, in addition to annual service calls and parts for the existing propane system; I am losing more money.

https://www.myamortizationchart.com

 

NOTE:

If I had a highly sealed, highly insulated house, with the same efficient propane heating system, my house would use very little energy for heating.

If I would install heat pumps* and would operate the propane system on only the coldest days, I likely would have energy cost savings.

However, those annual energy cost savings would be overwhelmed by the annual amortizing cost, i.e., I would still be losing money, if amortizing were considered.

 

* I likely would need 3 units at 18,000 Btu/h, at a lesser turnkey capital cost. Their output, very-inefficiently produced, would be about 27,000 Btu/h at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.

 

NOTE: VT-Department of Public Service found, after a survey of 77 heat pumps installed in Vermont houses (turnkey cost for a one-head HP system is about $4,500), the annual energy cost savings were, on average, $200, but the annual amortizing costs turned that gain into a loss of $200, i.e., on average, these houses were unsuitable for heat pumps, and the owners were losing money.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-sou...

Comment by Kenneth Capron on June 13, 2021 at 12:30am

Just curious, but couldn't the fuel industry reverse the play and stop shipping gas and heating oil to Maine?

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on June 12, 2021 at 3:15pm

Leaks Show Maricopa Audit Will Deliver
We MUST Begin Fighting the Cover-Up, Propaganda, and Lies.
There was a time when having truth on our side would be enough to make things right. In 2021, it's going to take more than that.
https://truthbasedmedia.com/2021/06/12/leaks-show-maricopa-audit-wi...

Comment by Willem Post on June 12, 2021 at 1:07pm

WORLD AND US PRIMARY ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND CAPITAL COST

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/world-total-energy-con...

 

World energy consumption is projected to increase to 736 quads in 2040 from 575 quads in 2015, an increase of 28%, according to the latest from the US Energy Information Administration, EIA.

See URL and click on PPT to access data, click on to page 4 of PowerPoint

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/

 

Most of this growth is expected to come from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and especially from countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia.

 

Non-OECD Asia, which includes China and India, accounted for more than 60% of the world’s total increase in energy consumption from 2015 through 2040.

 

PARIS AGREEMENTS

 

China, India, and other developing Asian countries, and Africa, and Middle and South America need to use low-cost energy, such as coal, to be competitive. They would not have signed up for “Paris”, if they had not been allowed to be more or less exempt from the Paris agreements

 

Obama agreed to commit the US to the Paris agreements, i.e., be subject to its financial and other obligations for decades.

However, he never submitted the commitment to the US Senate for ratification, as required by the US Constitution.

Trump rescinded the commitment. It became effective 3 years later, one day after the US presidential elections on November 3, 2020.

 

If the US had not left “Paris”, a UN Council likely would have determined a level of renewable energy, RE, spending, say $500 billion/y, for distributing to various poorer countries by UN bureaucrats.

The Council would have assessed OECD members, likely in proportion to their GDPs.

The US and Europe would have been assessed at 100 to 150 billion dollars/y each.

The non-OECD countries likely would continue to be more or less exempt from paying for the Paris agreements.

 

SUMMARY OF CAPITAL EXPENDITURES FOR THE WORLD AND US

 

The analysis includes two scenarios: 1) 50% RE by 2050, and 2) 100% RE by 2050.

The CAPEX values exclude a great many items related to transforming the world economy to a low-carbon mode. See next section.

 

50% RE by 2050

 

World CAPEX for RE were $2,652.2 billion for 2010-2019, 10 years

World CAPEX for RE were $282.2 billion in 2019.

World CAPEX for RE would be $24,781 billion for 2019 - 2050, 32 years; compound growth 5.76%/y

 

US CAPEX for RE were $494.5 billion for 2010 - 2019, 10 years.

US CAPEX for RE were $59 billion in 2019.

US CAPEX for RE would be $7,233 billion for 2019 - 2050, 32 years; compound growth 8.81%/y

 

100% RE by 2050

 

World CAPEX for RE were $2,652.2 billion for 2010-2019, 10 years

World CAPEX for RE were $282.2 billion in 2019.

World CAPEX for RE would be $60,987 billion for 2019 - 2050, 32 years; compound growth 10.08%/y

 

US CAPEX for RE were $494.5 billion for 2010 - 2019, 10 years.

US CAPEX for RE were $59 billion in 2019.

US CAPEX for RE would be $16,988 billion for 2019 - 2050, 32 years; compound growth 13.42%/y

 

SUMMARY OF "BIG-PICTURE" CAPEX FOR THE WORLD AND THE US

 

World More-Inclusive CAPEX

 

The above CAPEX numbers relate to having 50% RE, or 100% RE, in the primary energy mix by 2050, which represents a very narrow area of “fighting climate change”. See Appendix for definitions of source, primary and upstream energy.

 

This report, prepared by two financial services organizations, estimates the world more-inclusive CAPEX at $100 trillion to $150 trillion, over the next 30 years, about $3 trillion to $5 trillion per year

https://www.investmentexecutive.com/news/research-and-markets/fundi...

 

NOTE: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that an average of $3.5 trillion per year will be needed just in energy investments between 2016 and 2050 to achieve the 1.5-degree target.

https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/us-must-halve-emission...

 

US More-Inclusive CAPEX

 

The ratio of World CAPEX for RE / US CAPEX for RE = 16,988/60,987 = 0.279

 

A more-inclusive US CAPEX could be $27.9 trillion to $41.8 trillion

 

The US CAPEX could be less, because, at present, the world is adding a quad of RE at about $58.95 billion, compare to the US at about $102.78 billion.

 

It is unclear what accounts for the large difference.

Part of it may be due to differences of accounting methods among countries.

 

NOTE: The CAPEX numbers exclude costs for replacements of shorter-life systems, such as EVs, heat-pumps, batteries, wind-turbines, etc., during these 30 years. For comparison:

 

Hydro plants have long lives, about 100 years.

Nuclear plants about 60 years

Coal and gas-turbine plants about 40 years

Wind turbine systems about 20 years

Solar systems about 25 years

Battery systems about 15 years

Comment by Willem Post on June 12, 2021 at 1:06pm

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

Ridge Line Wind Turbine Systems

 

Any NE wind systems would need to be located where the winds are, i.e., on pristine, 2000 ft-high ridge lines, which would require:

 

1) Significant blasting to provide spacious erection areas for the 450 to 500 ft-high wind turbines

2) Several miles of heavy-duty, 50-ft wide access roads to reach and connect the erection areas

3) Extensive facilities for managing any rain and snow-melt water flows, including infrequent heavy rain-falls

 

The wind systems would devastate the already-fragile, mountain-top ecologies, which would have significant impacts further down the mountains. No self-respecting environmentalist, or sensitive human being, could ever approve of such wanton, highly visible, noisy, environmental destruction.

 

The owners of other generators, mostly CCGT plants, are forced to expensively vary their outputs to counteract the variability of wind, 24/7/365.

 

The CCGT plant owners are not compensated for their increased wear and tear, lesser operating inefficiencies (greater Btu/kWh, greater CO2/kWh), and revenue losses. Those costs are shifted, in one way or another, to the rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers.

No cost ever disappears, per Economics 101.

 

Those costs are not charged to owners of wind systems, because that would “rain on the wind parade”

 

Lowell Mountain: The 63-MW wind turbine system, aka Kingdom “Community” Wind, on Lowell Mountain, owned by GMP, involved so much destruction that it “merited” a Manchester Guardian report, with aerial photos, a few years ago.

 

On top of that, it took about $20 million to connect that wind system to the NEK high voltage grid. It required:

 

1) A new synchronous condenser system, $10.5 million, to protect the high voltage grid

2) A new substation

3) Extensions/upgrades of high-voltage power lines, to ensure the rural grid would not be excessively disturbed, as the variable output might otherwise take down the entire northern Vermont grid.

 

- ISO-NE, the NE grid operator, on occasion, requires output curtailments, despite all these measures.

- GMP charges costs of the Lowell wind system to the rate base, subject to review by the VT Public Service Commission, PUC

- GMP uses various subsidies to reduce taxes it would have to pay on net profits, similar to Warren Buffett.

 

Offshore Wind Turbine Systems

 

The below image shows an output simulation, MW vs calendar time, based on actual, high-wind-speed, weather data, if 1,600 MW of offshore wind turbines would be located south of Martha’s Vineyard Island, MVI.

 

The almost 1,600 MW downward spikes of output, in a few hours, are far from trivial. They would create major havoc, if fed into the existing Cape Cod grid. ISO-NE has made studies of the impacts on existing grids, and costs of grid upgrades/extensions.

The wind turbines would be about 850 ft tall, with highly visible flashing strobe lights, even at 25 miles south of MVI.

 

The flat lines at the top of the image are due to the automatic limiting of the wind turbine output by feathering the rotor blades, to avoid high-speed winds destroying the wind turbines.

 

As shown, all of a sudden, the wind dies, and wind output spikes down from almost 1,600 MW to near zero, then, the wind suddenly reappears, and wind output spikes up from near zero to almost 1,600 MW.

 

During weather with high wind speeds, wind output is extremely variable, as proven by the image! 
ISO-NE has to make sure such extremes would be manageable under various scenarios, i.e., no surprises!

 

Existing CCGT plants, several thousand MW, would have to be in good operating condition, staffed and fueled, i.e., ready and able, to rapidly adjust outputs to counteract such extreme spikes.

 

Future Build-outs of Offshore Wind Turbine Systems

 

- MA, RI, and CT are planning to have 8460, 880, and 4160 MW, respectively, a total of 13,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035, much greater than the above 1600 MW.

- If the same simulation were made for 13,500 MW of wind turbines, the up/down spikes would be at least 10,000 MW

- The existing CCGT plants would be inadequate to counteract them, i.e., output curtailments would be required.

- The 2035 date has a ring of urgency to it, but likely would be unattainable in the real world. See page 13 of NE-pool URL

 

It would take at least 20 years to build out 13,500 MW wind turbines off the coast of New England, plus large-scale solar systems to reduce the NE grid CO2/kWh by about 30%

 

With that much wind and solar, the NE grid would become very unstable. The NE grid would need:

 

1) Curtailments of wind output, kWh, on windy days

2) Curtailments of solar output bulges on sunny days

2) Major connections to the Canadian grid

3) Grid-scale batteries, with a capacity of 3 to 4 TWh; turnkey capital cost about $1.5 to $2 TRILLION, at $500/kWh, delivered as AC

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2020/02/2020_reo.pdf

https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/reality-check-regarding-utility-scale-battery-systems-during-a

 

NOTE: Nearby countries import German overflow electricity, when it is windy and sunny, at low grid prices (because of a German surplus), and export to Germany, when it is not windy and not sunny, at high grid prices (because of a German shortage). 

The Netherlands is one of the major beneficiaries.

German households get to “enjoy” the highest electric rates in Europe, about 2.5 times as high as the US

Denmark, another wind country, is second!

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/04/08/germanys-windexitold-wind-turbines-dismantled-without-replacementlooming-massive-power-outage/

 

Maine Offshore Wind Turbine Systems

 

The ocean waters near Maine are deep. Almost all offshore wind turbines would need to be floating units, anchored at the seafloor with at least 3 long cables.

The 700-ft tall wind turbines would need to be located at least 25 miles from any inhabited islands, to reduce the visuals, especially with strobe lights, 24/7/365

The wind turbines would be far from major electricity demand centers, such as Montreal and Boston.

Transmission systems would be required to connect the wind turbines to demand centers

All that would make the cost of electricity produced by these wind turbines more expensive than those south of MVI.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/deep-water-floating-offshore-wind-turbines-in-maine

 

Maine is in active discussions with stakeholders to add 751 MW of onshore wind turbines.

Maine is not in active discussions with stakeholders to add offshore wind turbines, as shown by the interconnection proposals on page 13 of URL

https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf

Comment by Willem Post on June 12, 2021 at 1:04pm

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

 

The turnkey capital cost to implement the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, would be in excess of $1.0 billion/y for at least 33 years (2017 - 2050), according to a 2015 Energy Action Network, EAN, annual report. If updated to 2021, the numbers would be about $1.25 billion/y for 29 years (2021 - 2050). See URLs.

 

http://eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EAN-2015-Annual-Report-... 

https://outside.vermont.gov/sov/webservices/Shared%20Documents/2016...

 

Spending on government energy programs, including Efficiency Vermont, has averaged about $210 million/y from 2000 to 2015, a total of at least $2.5 billion, but Vermont CO2 emissions increased from 9.64 million metric ton in 2000, to 9.54 MMt in 2015, a decrease of 1.0%.

https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/document... 

 

That means, on average, these RE programs:

 

- Have been expensive underperformers for 15 years

- Led to higher energy prices, and higher other prices, than they would have been without those wasteful programs.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-is-going-to-hel...

 

Giving the same RE folks six times as much money per year, to implement the CEP, per mandate of the unconstitutional Global Warming “Solutions” Act, GWSA, would be very far beyond rational.

 

Vermont’s CO2 is about the size of a dot at the end of a sentence. See Image and URL

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/04/16/eia-u-s-co2-emissions-declin...

 

WORLD 2021 ANNUAL ENERGY REPORT

https://privatebank.jpmorgan.com/content/dam/jpm-wm-aem/global/pb/e...

 

WORLD AND US PRIMARY ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND CAPITAL COST

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/world-total-energy-con...

 

 

 

Warren Buffett Riding the Subsidy Gravy Train

 

Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate, for example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit." 

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/e...

 

Green Mountain Power, GMP, Riding the Subsidy Gravy Train

 

Vermont utilities buy about 1.4 million MWh/y of hydro power, at 5.7 c/kWh, under a 20-y contract, from Hydro Quebec. The HQ electricity is not variable, not intermittent and does not cause midday solar bulges

 

GMP, a Canadian company, refuses to buy more hydro electricity from HQ, because that electricity would just be a “pass-through”, on which GMP would make minimal profit. HQ has plenty of electricity and is eager to sell it. This approach requires no subsidies!!

 

GMP rakes in millions of our hard-earned money, by investing in: 1) utility-scale solar/battery combos, 2) leasing heat pumps and 3) wall-hung Tesla batteries for playing “catch the peak games”.

 

GMP rides the subsidy gravy train, a la Warren Buffett, and plays the “green, forward-looking utility” role.

 

Per standard Wall Street practice for tax-shelters, the cash value of the subsidies is about 45% of the project turnkey cost, which includes the costs of: 1) financing, 2) subsidies, 3) owner’s return on investment, plus, the subsidies are “front-loaded”, i.e., about 40% is recovered by GMP in the first 5 years, the other 5% in the remaining years, i.e., skimming the fat off the milk for GMP in the early years, and long-term increased costs for ratepayers and taxpayers.

 

https://solarplusllc.com/macrs-and-bonus-depreciation/

https://norwichsolar.com/vermont-commercial-and-industrial-solar-in...

https://vermontbiz.com/news/2019/october/22/owner-gmp-and-vermont-g...

 

Cost Shifting from Owners to Ratepayers and Taxpayers

 

The owning and operating cost of wind, solar and battery systems, c/kWh, is reduced by about 45%, due to subsidies. However, because no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101, the subsidy costs are “socialized”, i.e., added, in one way or another, onto:

 

1) The rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers

2) Taxpayers, by means of extra taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills and fuel bills

3) Government budgets

4) Government debt

5) Prices of goods and services other than electricity

 

If the subsidies had to be paid by owners of wind and solar systems, the contract prices paid to owners would need to be:


- At least 19.3 c/kWh, instead of 11 c/kWh, for large-scale solar

- At least 15.5 c/kWh, instead of 9 c/kWh, for ridge line wind. See table 1 and URL

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na... 

 

Shifting Grid Costs

 

Many small-scale solar systems and/or a few large-scale solar systems on a distribution grid would excessively disturb the grid, especially at midday. Battery systems, with sufficient capacity could counteract the output variations of those solar systems.

 

Wind and solar systems could not be connected to the grid without the services of the CCGT plants, i.e., shutting down CCGT plants, and artificially diminishing/obstructing their domestically produced gas supply, advocated by pro RE folks, would not be an economic option for decades, if ever, because of the high costs of battery systems.

 

1) The cost of extension/augmentation of electric grids to connect widely distributed wind and solar systems (not paid by wind and solar system owners)

 

2) The cost of services rendered by other generators, mostly CCGT plants, which counteract the ups and downs of weather/season-dependent, variable, intermittent wind and solar outputs, 24/7/365 (not paid by wind and solar system owners).

 

3) The cost of battery systems to stabilize distribution grids, due to variations of the solar and wind system outputs (not paid by wind and solar system owners).

 

Shifting Owning and Operating Costs

 

The combined effect of cost shifting, determined behind closed doors, increases a project’s annual cash flow, i.e., “left-over-money”, to provide an ample profit for the RE system owner.

 

RE system owners are happy, having the “ears” of friendly politicians, saving the world from climate change, and claiming: “See, my project is profitable and competitive”, while everyone else gets hosed.

 

1) Grants from various sources, such as the VT Clean Energy Development Fund

2) 26% federal investment tax credits, plus state FITs. Tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the taxes GMP pays on profits

3) 100% depreciation over 5 years; the normal for utilities is 20 to 25 years. Write-offs reduce GMP taxable income

4) Deductions of interest on borrowed money. Interest deductions reduce GMP taxable income.

5) Various O&M payments are waved, such as sales tax, fees, property tax, school tax, municipal tax, etc.

6) RE system owners sell their output at two to four times NE wholesale market rates, which have averaged about 5 c/kWh starting in 2009, courtesy of:

 

- Low-cost, low-CO2, very-low-particulate, gas-fired CCGT plants

- Highly reliable, very-low-CO2, zero-particulate, nuclear plants

- Low-cost, very-low-CO2, zero-particulate, hydro plants Canada.

 

 All-in Cost of Wind and Solar

 

Pro RE folks always point to the “price paid to owner” as the cost of wind and solar, purposely ignoring the other cost categories. The all-in cost of wind and solar, c/kWh, includes:

 

1) Above-market-price paid to owners 

2) Subsidies paid to owners

3) Owner return on invested capital

4) Grid extension/augmentation (not paid by owners)

5) Grid support services (not paid by owners) 

6) Future battery systems (not paid by owners)

 

Comments on table 1

  

- The owners of legacy systems were paid much higher prices, than owners of newer systems.

 

- Vermont legacy “Standard Offer” solar systems had greater subsidies, up to 30 c/kWh paid to owner, than newer systems, about 11 c/kWh

 

- Wind prices paid to owner did not have such drastic reductions as solar prices.

 

- Vermont utilities are paid about 3.5 c/kWh for various costs they incur regarding net-metered solar systems

 

- "Added to the rate base" is the cost wind and solar are added to the utility rate base, which is used to set electric rates.

 

- “Traditional cost”, including subsidies to owner and grid support, is the cost at which traditional is added to the utility rate base

  

- “Grid support costs” would increase with increased use of battery systems to counteract the variability and intermittency of increased build-outs of wind and solar systems.

 

NOTES:

1) The prices should be compared with the NE wholesale grid price, which has averaged about 4.2 c/kWh, starting in 2009, due to low-cost CCGT and nuclear plants, which provided at least 65% of all electricity loaded onto the NE grid in 2019.

 

- Wind, solar, landfill gas, and methane power plants provided about 4.8%, after 20 years of subsidies

- Pre-existing refuse and wood power plants provided about 4.6%

- Pre-existing hydro power plants provided about 7.4%

- The rest was mostly hydro imports from the very-low-CO2 Canada grid, and from the much-higher-CO2 New York State grid

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix/

https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf


2) There are O&M costs of the NE grid, in addition to wholesale prices.

ISO-NE pro-rates these costs to utilities, at about 1.6 c/kWh. Charges for: 

 
Regional network services, RNS, are based on the peak demand occurring during a month

Forward capacity market, FCM, are based on the peak demand occurring during a year.

 

3) Each local utility has its own O&M grid costs, in addition to item 2, some of which are detailed on electric bills.

 

4) Vermont utilities buy electricity from various sources; average cost about 6 c/kWh, plus ISO-NE charges of about 1.6 c/kWh, for a total of 7.6 c/kWh.

 

Table 1/Vermont & NE sources

Paid to

Subsidies

Grid support*

GMP

 Added to

Total

Traditional

Times

owner

to owner

cost

adder

rate base

cost

cost

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

Solar, residential rooftop, net-metered, new

17.4

5.2

2.1

3.5

20.9

28.2

7.60

3.7

Solar, residential rooftop, net-metered, legacy

18.2

5.4

2.1

3.5

21.7

29.2

7.60

3.8

Solar, com’l/ind’l, standard offer, combo

11.0

6.74

2.1

11.0

19.84

7.60

2.6

Solar, com’l/ind’l, standard offer, legacy

21.7

10.5

2.1

21.7

34.3

7.60

4.5

Wind, ridge line, new

9.0

4.1

2.4

9.0

15.5

7.60

2.0

Wind, offshore, new

12.1

5.4

2.8

12.1

20.3

7.60

2.7

 * Excludes future battery costs

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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