LePage Administration Proposes Maine Energy Policy Overhaul


Below, Jeremy Payne of the wind industry decries unpredictability as an enemy of his business. I say that a good business person will figure out a way to make money in the face of unpredictability -- these are not business people, rather these are rent seekers expecting guaranteed gargantuan gains on the backs of the little person, Joe Ratepayer and Jane Taxpayer.


Also, Phil Bartlett using the term "short notice" to describe the Governor's bill is hypocrisy at its finest considering the heinous expedited emergency wind law was pushed through the legislature hastily and with nary a single word of debate. A bill that would transform Maine with almost two thousand wind turbines, each twice the height of the tallest building in the state.


Transformation of the core essence of our state to exploit the veritable non-resource of wind where we are 89% below the national average in energy potential per square mile.


See the following for the indisputable facts supporting this:




LePage Administration Proposes Maine Energy Policy Overhaul


05/17/2011 Reported By: Susan Sharon

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With the ink barely dry on a bill to reform Maine's health insurance system, another bill to overhaul Maine's energy policy is also being fast-tracked in the Legislature. Sponsored on behalf of the LePage administration, the bill was only submitted a few days ago. Today it was given a public hearing and it's scheduled for a work session at the end of the week. The administration says the bill will keep a lid on electricity costs. But critics say it's a major policy departure that could hurt investment and jobs in alternative energy and make the state more dependent on fossil fuels.


Titled "An Act to Reduce Energy Prices for Maine Consumers," LD 1570 sounds innocuous enough. But critics say it's misleading and deserves much more scrutiny.

Current law requires that electricity providers in Maine get at least four percent of their supplies from renewable sources such as wind, biomass, tidal and hydro power. And the amount increases by one percent each year until it reaches 10 percent in 2017. This bill freezes the amount at four percent and eliminates the required one percent a year increase.

"If we keep the four percent where it is and do not increase it by the six percent over the next six years, the upside potential--we could save Maine ratepayers $42 million," said Ken Fletcher, director of the Governor's Office of Energy Independence.

Fletcher told lawmakers on the Energy and Utilities Committee that Maine's electricity prices are too high. And while $42 million may not seem like a lot to give Maine ratepayers, Fletcher says it should provide a little break without chilling major investment in renewables. That's because the one percent annual increase in renewables equates to development of just 13 wind turbines a year.

"I do not honestly believe that stopping at four percent and not increasing a percent a year equivalent to 13 turbines will kill jobs in the state of Maine," Fletcher said. "I am more concerned that our continued high electricity prices has a much greater impact on job elimination and/or prevention."

Jeremy Payne of the Maine Renewable Energy Association disagrees. He says inconsistency and unpredictability are the enemies of development, and that freezing the renewable portfolio standard is exactly the kind of negative message that will send investment dollars fleeing from Maine.

"The obvious question that will be asked by investors is: Can we rely on Maine or should we assume that the rules may be changed in the middle of the game?" Payne said.

Payne says Maine's renewable portfolio policy has led to $2 billion worth of investment in the last few years, with $17 million paid in property taxes annually and $120 million in supply chain spending. But there are some who are skeptical about that investment that they complain is subsidized by the federal government.

"We very prominently support energy efficiency as low hanging fruit. However, we also prominently decry robbing Peter to pay Paul and paying for those efficiencies with monies that are ill-gotten," said Chris ONeil, who represents the group Friends of Maine Mountains, which opposes wind development in interior Maine.

O'Neil calls the bill a "good first step" toward preventing the government from telling energy consumers what they can and cannot buy. Central Maine Power also supports the bill.

But among those in the opposition is Beth Nagusky of the group Environment Northeast. Nagusky is the former director of the Office of Energy Independence under Gov. John Baldacci. She says the renewable portfolio standard--or RPS--was adopted as a way to protect Maine consumers from becoming overly dependent on any one energy source. She says if it becomes too expensive, there are several escape mechanisms in current law.

"That if the Public Utilities Commission or ultimately the Legislature believes that the cost of the RPS exceeds the benefits it's providing Maine people that we can suspend it. That's currently in the law now. We don't need to suspend it until that decision has been made," Nagusky said.

The LePage Administration's energy bill also restricts the ability of the Public Utilities Commission to arrange for long-term contracts to lower the price of electricity to ratepayers, and instead requires Legislative approval of them.

"There's a real concern here that major policy is trying to be driven through on very short notice," says Democratic Sen. Phil Bartlett, of Gorham, who serves on the Energy, Utilities and Technology committee. "You know this wasn't part of some collaborative process where Democrats and Republicans were engaged. This really came out of the blue."

Even the state's public advocate is urging lawmakers to proceed slowly. Testifying neither for nor against the bill, Dick Davies said it could take up to a year to do a complete analysis of the factors influencing the price consumers pay for electricity.




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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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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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