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 Willem Post on June 12, 2021 at 1:00pm

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

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

 

China, India, New England and Vermont

 

Electric bus proponents often point to China to advance their interests, i.e., sell more electric buses

China has made electric buses and EVs in urban areas a priority to reduce its well-known excessive air pollution, due to: 1) using a lot of coal in dirty, inefficient power plants, and 2) vastly increased vehicle traffic in urban complexes with 15 to 30 million people each.

 

India has a China pollution problem, but not China's money and work ethic, i.e., few electric vehicles.

Those two countries emit about 45 - 50% of all world pollution and GHG.

 

The US has much less of a pollution problem than China, except in its larger urban areas. 

The US uses more domestic gas and much less coal, and nuclear is still around.

 

New England has a pollution problem in its southern urban areas.

 

Vermont, known for its cleaner air, has a minor pollution problem in Burlington and some of its other urban areas, i.e., no need to use scare-mongering to rush into expensively advancing Montpelier’s electric school bus goals.

 

Governor and Senators Seeking More Electric Vehicles and Buses with Federal COVID Money

 

The energy priorities of New England governments are driven by a self-serving cabal of RE folks. All is decided at high levels. Ordinary people rarely participate during government hearings, except those pre-selected to say the right things.

 

The cabal has powerful allies on Wall Street, which is molding the minds of people by means of generous donations to universities and think tanks. Here is an example of the resulting double-speak:

 

Vermont’s Governor: “Investing in more energy-efficient public transportation is important for our economy and environment,” the governor said. He added that the COVID money is enabling the transportation agency to replace as many as 30 buses and fund energy-efficient projects."

http://www.truenorthreports.com/governor-and-senators-seeking-more-...

 

NOTE: Each $325,000 electric school bus reduces CO2 by about 10 metric ton/y, compared to a $100,000 diesel bus. Vermont has much better CO2 reduction options. See Appendix.

 

The Vermont House Energy/Environment Committee, the VT Transportation Department, VEIC, EAN, etc., echo the same message, to "convince" legislators, people in the Governor's Office, and Vermonters, to use COVID money and Volkswagen Settlement money to buy expensive electric buses to deal with a minor pollution problem in a few urban areas in Vermont.

 

Such an electric vehicle measure would be much more appropriate in the over-crowded, down-town Boston Area and the Connecticut Gold Coast.

 

The cabal urge Vermonters to buy electric buses at about:

 

$750,000 - $1,000,000 per mass-transit bus, plus high-speed charging systems.

standard diesel mass-transit bus costs $380,000 - $420,000

 

$330,000 - $375,000, per school bus, plus high-speed charging systems.

A standard diesel/gasoline school bus costs about $100,000

https://atlaspolicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Electric-Buses-a...

 

“Free” Federal COVID Money for Expensive Electric School Buses

 

The Governor and bureaucrats are throwing COVID money, meant for suffering households and businesses, into another climate-fighting black hole.

  

Spending huge amounts of capital on various projects that yield minor reductions in CO2, is a recipe for low economic efficiency, and for low economic growth, on a state-wide and nation-wide scale, which would adversely affect state and US competitiveness in markets, and adversely affect living standards and job creation.

 

Costs of Government RE Programs

 

Vermont’s government engaging in electric bus demonstration programs, financed with COVID money, likely would prove to be expensive undertakings, requiring hidden subsidies, white-washing and obfuscation.

 

Lifetime spreadsheets, with 1) turnkey capital costs, 2) annual cashflows, 3) annual energy cost savings, 4) annual CO2 reductions, and 5) cost of CO2 reduction/metric ton, with all assumptions clearly stated and explained, likely will never see the light of day.

  

Including Amortizing Capital Cost for a Rational Approach to Projects

 

RE proponents do not want to include amortizing costs, because it makes the financial economics of their dubious climate projects appear dismal. This is certainly the case with expensive electric buses. If any private-enterprise business were to ignore amortizing costs, it would be out of business in a short time, per Economics 101

 

Capital cost of electric bus, plus charger, $327,500 + $25,000 = $352,500

Battery system cost, $100,000, for a 60 to 80-mile range.

Capital cost of diesel bus, $100,000

Additional capital cost, 352500 - 100000 = $252,500

Travel, 12,000 miles/y, the average of diesel school buses in Vermont.

https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10310

  

Summary of Costs

 

Table 1A shows the reduction in energy and operating cost, if an electric school bus replaces a diesel school bus. The maintenance data are from the electric school bus project in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

 

Amortizing the capital cost difference of only the buses is ($352,500 - $100,000) at 3.5%/y for 15 years = $21,661/y, or 180.1 c/mile, about 7.9 times the annual energy and maintenance cost reduction!! It would be greater for complete electric and diesel bus systems.

 

See COMPARISON OF ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS COSTS

  

Table 1A/Cost/mile

Energy

Maintenance

Total

Amortizing

Total

Times

c/mile

c/mile

c/mile

c/mile

c/mile

SSI

Diesel

34.5

23.0

57.5

Electric

28.4

6.4

34.8

Reduction

6.1

16.6

22.8

180.5

238.0

7.9

MA

Diesel

39.7

23.0

62.7

Electric

35.7

6.4

42.1

Reduction

4.0

16.6

20.6

180.5

243.2

8.8

Comment by Willem Post on June 12, 2021 at 12:58pm

Charging Electric Buses

 

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

 

Charging at 32F and below: No charging of Li-ion batteries is permitted, unless at an extremely low current

 

Power Failure at 32F and below:

On cold/freezing days, a multi-hour power failure could occur

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

Batteries would be irreversibly damaged, if power were restored, and charging would occur at -32F and below, unless at an extremely low current

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

Emergency diesel power facilities may be required, if a prolonged power outage.

See URLs.

 

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 operate various 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; cold children are waiting at pick up points

- On cold/freezing days, the driver would need at least 70% charge for his morning round, because travel would require more energy per mile; no one should risk having an electric bus run out of juice, with a busload of children, on cold/freezing days.

 

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 Thinklike A. Mountain on June 12, 2021 at 10:50am

Fossil Fuels Aren't Dying, They're Shifting To National And State Backed Companies

Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, thinks that the shift to government owners could wind up doing just the opposite of what activists are intending on doing.

"A shift in production to major nationally owned companies — such as in Latin America or the Gulf or Russia — carries geopolitical supply risks, while smaller independents have often demonstrated poorer safety and environmental practices,” he said.

Recall, just days ago we wrote how Saudi and Russian oil producers were actually benefitting from activism in the industry involving Western producers. Wins in the courtroom for activists against Shell, Chevron and Exxon have been a tailwind for Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and Gazprom, we wrote. The pressure for U.S. names to cut carbon emissions faster pushes more business to companies in Saudi Arabia and Russia, and to OPEC, Reuters reported.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/fossil-fuels-arent-dying-theyre-s...

Comment by Barbara Durkin on June 12, 2021 at 10:48am

Representative Faulkingham’s efforts to impose a permanent moratorium on offshore wind is wise.  

Citizens are denied transparency on costs eg.,transmission, batteries, ports & roads upgrades, and for wind LLCs needed vessels Not Included in Power Purchase Agreements PPAs. These staggering costs are socialized.

Offshore Wind Cable Failure Alone Merits a Moratorium.

Report:

“The UK has 68 export cables totalling 1,682km, and 2,152km of inter-array cables transporting 7,990MW of generation, with currently over 50 failures recorded for fully commissioned sites. “

https://wes.copernicus.org/preprints/wes-2020-56/wes-2020-56.pdf


‘More cable failures at European and UK offshore wind farms’

Global Warming Policy Forum

Editorial

29 April 2021

Lower wind speeds and cable problems hit first-quarter earnings at Denmark’s Orsted, sending shares in the world’s biggest offshore wind farm developer lower on Thursday.

The Danish offshore wind giant, Ørsted, has released its Interim Financial Report for the first quarter of 2021, and has revealed that up to ten of their European and UK wind farms are suffering from significant damage to connection cables. Repairs are currently estimated to cost in the region of 3 billion Danish Kroner (£350m) over the period 2021 to 2023...”

cut-

https://stopthesethings.com/2021/05/19/offshore-wind-power-all-at-s...

DeepWater Wind update:

“Oops … in addition to paying $114 million for the transmission cable in the first place, the poor Rhode Island ratepayers are also on the hook for a portion of the $31 megabucks to pay to re-bury the power cable that got exposed by waves, wind, and currents. And to add insult to injury, the owners are saying it will cost more than the original estimate of $31 million to fix it … double oops.”

“National Grid reaps $46M in excess profits from RI wind surcharge”

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/08/blocking-the-wind/

“Damaged offshore wind cables to cost Orsted almost half a billion dollars: CFO

Danish giant will add additional layer of protective rocks on some cable routes and conduct further seabed investigations until 2023”

https://www.rechargenews.com/wind/damaged-offshore-wind-cables-to-c...

‘Ratepayers on hook for portion of Block Island wind farm cable mess’

Clip-

“National Grid, which owns the high-voltage power line from Block Island to Narragansett, expects to pay $30 million for its share of the reconstruction, which will require horizontal directional drilling. The state’s primary electric utility will recover the expense through an undetermined surcharge on ratepayers’ bills.”

https://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/westerly/ratepayers-on-hook-for...

 

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on June 12, 2021 at 9:56am

Maine Lawmakers Pass Bill to Divest State Pension from Fossil Fuels as Oil Usage Grows

The Boston Globe is touting the growing popularity of dumping fossil fuels investments in the name of climate change and reported Maine’s bill makes it the first state to authorize divestiture.

Maine Lawmakers Move to Divest State Pensions from Fossil Fuels (br...

Comment by Nancy Sosman on June 12, 2021 at 9:49am

From Oil Sands Fact Check, comes this interview with Bill McKibben: http://oilsandsfactcheck.org/2014/09/25/video-the-truth-about-the-a...

Excerpt:

Timed to coincide with the anti-fossil fuel march in New York City over the weekend, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (RBF) led a press conference of groups announcing a pledge to divest from fossil fuels. Given that board members of RBF are heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, the media was led to believe that divestment from fossil fuels was a drastic change in practice for the foundation. Yet anyone who knows the least bit about RBF is well aware that foundation has given millions to groups that oppose fossil fuels for years.

In fact, RBF is credited for providing the financial support to launch 350.org. How do we know that? Because Bill McKibben himself reluctantly gave away those details in a little-watched YouTube video (full version of interview here) from three years ago with a news outlet called Climate Challenge.

Comment by Nancy Sosman on June 12, 2021 at 9:48am

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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We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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