LePage Energy Adviser Reacts to the AP's Fake News About Univ of Maine Wind Turbine

On July 26, 2018, in an article headlined "LePage adviser repeats tall tale about UMPI wind turbine" which appeared in a number of newspapers including the Sun Journal, Jim LaBrecque, the "Technical Adviser to the Governor" was quoted as saying that the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) uses outside power to turn the blades of the University of Maine's wind turbine.










For the article, which inadequately, particularly within this context, described energy expert LaBrecque as a refrigeration technician, the AP interviewed university spokeswoman Rachel Rice who apparently said:

- wind is required for the blades to turn.

- there were electric motors to swivel the unit, operate a cooling fan and run hydraulics but that has nothing to do with the blades turning.

- The turbine, which was dedicated in 2009, was damaged by fire in April, and the university is deciding whether to repair it. It produced annual energy savings of $100,000 while in operation.

However, the article did not provide any quotes from Mr. LaBrecque, the subject of the piece, or as some might say, the hit piece by the "drive by media."

In any event, the next day, thanks to WVOM's George Hale Ric Tyler Show, Mr. LaBrecque was able to give his side of the story. Also, thanks to WVOM, you can listen to Mr. LaBrecque's response to the AP article at the following link. 

Listen here:


So turn up your speakers, give it a listen and decide whose story you believe. And send the link to all your friends because we don't know if the press will ever provide further coverage investigating the conflicting views of reality between AP, the University of Maine and Jim LaBrecque.

For those who don't have speakers or who would rather quickly read what Mr. LaBrecque said, the following is a hastily prepared partial transcription. Please don't hold me to every syllable or punctuation mark. Unlike the AP or the staff at UMPI, I don't get paid to do this and had to take time out of my schedule to do this. 

Return to this post later as commentary may be added.

George Hale Ric Tyler Show - July 27, 2018



Partial Transcript:

WVOM: Jim LaBrecque’s title is “Technical Adviser to the Governor on Energy”

Unless otherwise indicated, the following is all Jim LaBrecque speaking.

Dick Hill and I, when they first put up the UMPI wind tower would watch the numbers and watch the numbers go negative at night. Dick told me that he found out that they “motor” that blade at times and that’s why they’d USE kilowatt (kWh) in the night – that at those times it wasn’t producing anything. They don’t put a separate motor on it – a motor and a generator is exactly the same thing. You have a shaft coming out of a motor….if you put a gas engine on the shaft and turn the motor, it becomes a generator; it puts electricity out the other end……but if you put electricity on the end it turns the shaft like a motor – so that’s how they can motor it. So it isn’t a separate little motor that somebody secretly put in this as one of the press, I think the Free Press in Rockland tried to say……When I was at a wind conference in the Civic Center in Augusta on January 24, 2011, Professor Zillman, president of the university at the time, when I asked how much it cost to motor it he responded “it doesn’t cost much to motor that, I don’t know what the cost is but before we motored it we used to get calls all the time saying it must be broken, why isn’t it running, it must be broken, what’s going on, he said after we started motoring it then the phone calls stopped.” Now he said that to the audience. That correlated nicely with the negative numbers that Dick Hill and I would see……………………………….


………….I can’t understand why the press would miss the big story on this and get into such trivial matters. This project does not save them money. This is what I’m going to challenge the press on today. They are not saving $100,000 a year. As a matter of fact it’s costing them more than $123,000 a year plus operation and maintenance costs that were so high that Professor Zillman at the conference in 2011 said he couldn’t find a contract that they could sign because he couldn’t make enough money to pay for the contract to take care of the maintenance because the maintenance was so high on that. And that thing only produced  a capacity factor of a dismal 12.7%.................

………….. They continue with this because the press isn’t covering this. Why isn’t the press covering not just the fact that this has been a dismal loser but a major, major failure. Why don’t the press call somebody like myself as I can lead them in the right direction. I did talk to Marina Villaneuve at the Associated Press in Augusta yesterday and she said “send stuff”  so I’m going to send stuff and she told me a David Sharp – he’s the one who wrote this wire and he’s the guy who put me in as a refrigeration service technician, so I think David has a little bit of a slant but I tell you what, when you have the university paying $370,000 a year for their electricity and just to cover the cost, you’ve got a $2 million project, that’s what that windmill cost $2 million, if you just look at 5.25% cost of money, that’s $193,000 just for payments alright. And they produced the best year $70,000, so they have to pay $193,000 and at best produce $70,000 and they try and tell the public they’re saving $100,000 and that’s a big lie and where is the press on those big factors, Shame on the press. They never cover anything that has to do with the facts. Shame on David Sharp if he’s not going to cover this stuff. They just exposed themselves. This is ridiculous stuff.

A caller calls into the show

At this point they took a phone call that for me represented a highly suspicious caller. The reason I say this is the caller said things like there are four to five sides to every story and the purpose was just research which was the university’s mission. He said it’s just not as black and white as Jim was describing it.

Jim LaBrecque resumes

They claimed on May 14, 2009 when it was dedicated and politicians congratulated them on a successful project. Now, at these ribbon cuttings you always see these politicians and the press there at ribbon cuttings but I have never seen a news story from AP or anybody where they have gone to an anniversary where they say this UMPI project has been a success. Never have I seen that and they’re not covering that. Windmills are old, mature technology. There’s no experimenting with this (as the caller suggested). It’s all very calculated black and white calculations and engineering. Now they said they were going to save $100,000 a year and that they were going to avoid 572 tons of CO2 (a year). Neither one of those things happened. After one year of failure they reduced their claim of 1,000 megawatt hours a year to 700 megawatt hours a year. But they didn’t reduce the amount of money they claimed they were going to save – they cut almost in half their projection of what they were going to make in electricity but they didn’t cut back on how much money they were going to save or how much CO2 they were going to save. They kept those numbers the same. THAT’S FRAUD. And the press, where is the press and why aren’t they covering this stuff?


……………………. They try to minimize my position here when they take somebody in the senate who was a gym teacher and a wrestling coach and they make him Chair of the Energy Committee and they call that good. And somebody with my 47 years of experience in the energy field they are trying to minimize. Shame on the AP.

Listen here:


Unfortunately, one radio program and podcast does not have the same audience as, for example, the Sun Journal owner Reade Brower's newspaper holdings in Maine which, for example, include every daily newspaper except the Bangor Daily News and 19 weeklies.  Hopefully other media will become curious and this will get some traction. After all, the sorts of things going on here are arguably a microcosm of what happens nationally when the government hands out billions of dollars for a power source as useless as wind.

RELATED MUST READ - Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting: Maine’s newspaper industry is now unlike any other in the country


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Comment by Long Islander on August 2, 2018 at 12:17pm

From July 20, 2010

UMPI Quietly Revises Its Wind Turbine Goal

If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. And if you don't like your oft stated annual wind turbine goal of over 1,000,000 KWH, just change it to 700,000, which is exactly what UMPI has done on its website very quietly. In fact, the UMPI website has been WIPED CLEAN of any mention of the long stated primary goal of producing 1,000,000 KWH per year, which previously had been prominent on the site. Perhaps this simply reflects the reality that in Year One, ended 5/14/10, only 609,268 KWH were produced.


Hopefully UMPI will explain why it has changed the goal and reveal its learning for us as promised.

What would also be useful is to understand how the long stated goal of 1,000,000 KWH per year has dropped but the goal of 572 tons of CO2 avoided and the goal of over $100,000 in electricity charges have not been similarly adjusted.

Originally, 572 Tons of CO2 avoided were predicted per 1 Million KWH. That figure has now effectively increased to 817 Tons of CO2 per 1 Million KWH (572/0.7). That represents a stunning increase of 43%.

This project, which started at $1.5 million, snuck up to $2.0 million and is still racking up big maintenance costs, represents a major expenditure.......................................................................

Read the full post here:


Comment by Stephen Littlefield on August 1, 2018 at 8:30pm

More fraud, more lies, more deception, when it comes to big wind it never seems to stop! We need to stop the madness of big wind! Our mountain tops don't grow back after these monstrosities are planted on the top with roadway cut into the mountain sides and power lines connecting them! The destruction is forever, these pinwheels are temporary and when they fail the owners walk away!

Comment by Dan McKay on August 1, 2018 at 6:36pm

A teachable moment offered by a wise old professor simply ignored by an ignorant press. I will challenge any of those reporters to match their professional credentials against the credentials of Mr. LaBrecque.

Comment by Long Islander on August 1, 2018 at 3:36pm

Drive-by praise from politicians. What do they have to say now? But disregard what Gov Baldacci says now as he's the vice chair of Avangrid, the nation's second largest wind company. 


Letters from our politicians declaring the wind turbine the greatest thing since sliced bread. Baldacci even talks about it getting us off foreign oil. Does he even know we almost never burn oild to make electricity?





Then there's UMPI president Don Zillman describing how the University of Maine Board of Trustees approved this $2 million (and counting) stupidity:

The University prepared carefully for a discussion of the wind project
at the September meeting of the Trustees. It asked permission for a
$2 million total cost project that would install a mid-size wind turbine on
campus property. The president and CFO were armed with data and
prepared for the wide variety of questions that the project could legitimately
have raised, including the possibility of instinctive dislike of wind
power or too bold a campus entrepreneurial activity. Instead of a grilling,
UMPI encountered a love fest. The president followed the old lawyer's
advice: "When the judge rules for you, shut up and sit down."
UMPI had its emphatic "Yes" in five minutes.
Complete abdication of fiduciary responsibility one would think. Where was that thing they require of their students - homework?
Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on August 1, 2018 at 2:05pm

Wake up everybody. The media are not our friends and no longer watchdogs looking out for us. Au contraire. They are by and large "owned" by he who pays the piper to call the tune. When it's important enough, the tune they play is for the government, as conspiratorial as that sounds.

DOWNLOAD PDF: censorship-master-plan-decoded.pdf

Or read the report at the following link: https://www.scribd.com/document/383918384/The-Censorship-Master-Pla…

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on August 1, 2018 at 1:00pm

of course we KNOE wind turbines which turn with NO wind need oil to run and  a switch- all turbines need that OUTSIDE power to work and people never think that through or just do not care and believe the lies


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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