By Tux Turkel email@example.com
Read the article here: http://www.pressherald.com/news/there-is-a-problem-withwind-power-i... and be sure to read the following background from last summer. This con has gone far enough and it's time the Governor uses his executive powers to come down hard on the con's artists.
FIRST REPORTED HERE ON 7/1/12 - the PPH on 7/23 has finally decided to touch.
On July 1, CMP customers suffered a 19.6% increase in electrical transmission rates. They did so rather unknowingly because to the best of our knowledge none of the state's newspapers thought this was news enough to write about -- to say nothing of connecting the dots with wind power in an investigative piece.
Here are just a few of the facts. Please consider jumping in and adding some of your own. If this state ever needed a CITIZENS' ratepayer group it is now. One comprised of thousands of citizens who want to lend their names to a true watchdog group to rein in the electricity industry in this state. An online petition might be a good first step also.
- Transmission rates went up for CMP customers by 19.6% on July 1, 2012. That is a gigantic % increase. Anyone who tries to call it anything else or otherwise minimize it is either not paying attention or has an agenda.
“The major driver for these increases is the change in federally regulated transmission rates, which for CMP will increase by 19.6% and for BHE will increase by 12%” http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleas...
- As best we can tell, the newspapers in this state did not write one sentence on this gigantic increase affecting hundreds of thousands of ratepayers, including businesses - you know, those entities who we'd like to see start hiring again. Why they did not regard this as a needed service for their readers is a mystery.
- As acknowledged by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) post below, "The July 1 rate increases reflect the costs of recent and ongoing transmission reliability upgrades".
- With regard to the 19.6% increase for CMP customers, the name of the primary driver is the so called "Maine Power Reliability Project" (MPRP) otherwise known as the $1.5 billion CMP upgrade.
- The MPUC announcement below seems to try to imply that it is not the MPUC that has had a hand in this but rather federal regulations. But that is hollow because what has wrought the causative CMP upgrade was its approval by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
- There were many who made incredibly valid arguments as to why the CMP upgrade was not needed. There were public hearings and some of the testimony can be read by downloading the following file:
- MPUC staff raised objections, including a report saying the upgrade could be accomplished for far less than the $1.5 billion pricetag, $667 million to be exact. The Portland Press Herald reported on this in 2010 writing "Maine can have a reliable power grid for substantially less money, and with far fewer transmission towers and substations, than the $1.5 billion project Central Maine Power Co. is proposing, the staff of the Public Utilities Commission has concluded. In an analysis made available late Tuesday, the PUC staff said CMP has overstated and accelerated the need for its Maine Power Reliability Program, in part by using forecasts for growth in electricity use that have become outdated since the recession started."
The link to this is http://www.onlinesentinel.com/archive/report-cmp-overstates-need-fo...
But the MPUC commisioners ignored their staff's recommendation.
- Onetime Governor Baldacci chief counsel Kurt Adams was MPUC Chairman at the time the MPUC was working on the CMP upgrade. It was later learned that he had been interviewing for several months with a wind company, First Wind, whom he would eventually take a job with. While MPUC Chairman, he also took over $1 million in stock options from First Wind according to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting who wrote a several part investigative series on this which can be read at:
- The job that Adams took at First Wind was Director of Transmission. You can't make this stuff up. Adams still works at this company which is the most active wind developer in the state. This is the company whose chief outside counsel, Verrill Dana's Juliet Browne, is married to Maine state representative Jon Hinck who sits on the Energy and Utilities Committee which last year killed all 13 citizen sponsored bills regulating wind power. These bills led to what was called the Fitts Ammendment named after EUT committee co-chair Stacey Fitts whose company's website had BOASTED “we have been very active in the development of state regulations in Maine where one of Kleinschmidt’s engineers is a member of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force". You can read about that here.
- The stated need for the CMP upgrade was reliability. It's the Maine Power Reliability Project. But what is done with a wink is that everyone at the MPUC and CMP knows that the reason the grid "needs" to be made more reliable is that the grid as it previously existed was not equipped to handle the thermal overload caused by sputtering wind and only sputtering wind. Wind is unpredictable and if it suddenly surges, the grid can be overloaded. Like you plug in too many appliances and you trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse. Except what can happen on the grid is the grid goes down and we have a widespread blackout. All because it cannot handle wind. Do not confuse this with wind's efficacy. In fact, it is a very diluted highly inefficient energy source and Maine's onshore wind resource is actually 89% below the national average. (Click here). despite the fact that hucksters like Angus King told us we were "Saudi Arabia of Wind" in good old confidence game speak. But it can once in a while surge and destabilize the grid. One way to look at this is widening Interstate 95 to 20 lanes for the one or two times a year a truck with an extremely wide load has to come through.
- The stated reason for the need for reliability was primarily population growth and the fact there had not been an upgrade in 40 years. However, it can be shown that population projections for the entire northeast (New England and NY, NJ and PA) over the next 20 years are for only 3.4% growth. TOTAL over the 20 years. You can see the data on that here. Also, anyone who pays CMP bills can read the back of the bill and know that they are paying a charge to keep the lines maintained. Every month.Hundreds of thousands of ratepayers funding maintenance every month. Every year.
- The truth finally came out on wind being the real reason for the CMP upgrade: From a news report in the Portland Press-Herald: "Galan’s statements agitated Maine’s wind power opponents, who said they suspected all along that the transmission line upgrade was motivated more by Iberdrola’s desire to develop wind power than any concerns about reliability. “This makes it clear that the (transmission line project) wasn’t about replacing lines, it was about making Maine an industrial wind site,” said Steve Thurston, co-chair of the Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power". The article can be read here.
June 28, 2012
MPUC Announces Electricity Rate Changes for CMP and BHE Customers
Augusta, Maine—New electricity delivery rates for customers of Central Maine Power (CMP) and Bangor Hydro Electric (BHE) have been approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The new delivery rates –which include distribution and transmission costs in all CMP and BHE customer classes—are effective as of July 1, 2012. These changes do not affect electricity supply prices, such as for standard offer service.
For CMP customers, the new rates reflect an overall increase of 7.1% for the delivery portion of the bill. The rate change for BHE customers is an overall increase of approximately 4.5%. Customers may see rate changes that differ from the overall levels, depending on their class of service. “The major driver for these increases is the change in federally regulated transmission rates, which for CMP will increase by 19.6% and for BHE will increase by 12%,” said Commission Chairman Thomas Welch. “CMP and BHE transmission rates cover the costs of transmission systems in Maine, as well as a portion of the costs of inter-state systems throughout the New England region. The July 1 rate increases reflect the costs of recent and ongoing transmission reliability upgrades.”
Background: Electricity in Maine is comprised of power delivery (transmission, distribution, metering and billing) which is fully regulated, and power supply (production and provision of electric energy and capacity) which is controlled by market competition. Maine electricity consumers receive delivery service from a transmission and distribution utility (like CMP or BHE), and supply service from a Maine-licensed competitive electricity provider. The Commission fully regulates the operations and rates of the transmission and delivery utilities, except for transmission rates which are regulated by the FERC. CMP and BHE are two of Maine’s three investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities. For more information, go to www.maine.gov/mpuc.
Anyone who doesn't believe the CMP "Upgrade" (Maine Power Reliability Project) was nothing but a ratepayer funded gift to the wind industry should read the following ISO-NE presentation on renewables from 2008 called "Bringing Power From The North". See slide 3.
also: See slide 5.
Citizen ratepayer group and petition anyone?
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There is a Maine filmmaker ...have seen one of his movies and it was really good. Had a lot of authenticity , which I find missing in today's stuff out of hollywood. And you know Matt Dameon was going to make the movie Promised Land about wind farms and but decided against it due to lack of interest and knowledge by us Americans. So he changed it to fracking. That movie also was authentic, to me. Matt is from New England .
"if one day there is a criminal prosecution, and there is an Erin Brockovich type movie made, I believe an apt title for the film would be "Bottleneck in Orrington". Said bottleneck is at the heart of the crime, arguably the greatest larceny in Maine history." I got chills when I read this. You are on to something!!!!!!!!!!! I tried to find the link to the FERC hearing many times.Think it has been scrubbed. But it has to be somewhere. Have never had good computer skills. It was a big deal in my own mind when I learned how to copy and paste. Felt so techy.
Martha - passing on a comment I just received:
This is the EXACT same story in NY involving First Wind. Power goes nowhere except in the ground leaving us with tons of stray voltage.
Martha, if one day there is a criminal prosecution, and there is an Erin Brockovich type movie made, I believe an apt title for the film would be "Bottleneck in Orrington". Said bottleneck is at the heart of the crime, arguably the greatest larceny in Maine history.
Prior to Stetson I being permitted , there was a hearing between US govt. and FERC over the fact that the grid in ME was at capacity . For some reason, high high up govt . pull, Stetson I and II were still built. The minutes of the hearing stated that there was a bottleneck in Orrington..no power could go past there. This is where the upgrades are to start. There was a concerted effort to close other power plants at the time. I only made two copies of this hearing and gave them away...not knowing their importance. Few things are worth mentioning now though. The Stetson I wind farm cranked up the last of 2008. The turbines only last 20 years or less. There was never room on the grid for any power generated from Stetson I or subsequent wind farms.This is why the wind farms use so much power...they are not generating it. I also saw where Bangor Hydro and Central Maine Electric agreed to pay for the "upgrades". It is not fair that their customers have to pay for this boondoggle. I use Eastern Maine Electric and we don't have to pay for it. The "upgrades" are enormous power lines which have been proven to cause a higher incidence of leukemia among children living beneath them. Guess they aren't good for anybody then. They also would be unsightly and detract from Maine tourism. Not worth it, since the turbines are about to reach their expiration date. Instead of worrying about the "upgrades" and who will pay for it, I still think those responsible for this travesty against Maine and Mainers should explain their actions in a court of law.
Meanwhile in Texas:
This in spite of the $7 billion state electric ratepayers contributed to build power lines from West Texas wind farms to cities where the power could actually be used. And that all of the taxpayer and ratepayer support produces a very small number of jobs at a cost of $1.6 million each.
Since 2006 we have been scammed, lied to, cheated and watched Maine's politicians pocket huge amounts of state and federal cash. And who is paying for it? You and me and all the ratepayers in the State of Maine. More than 50% of our energy in Maine is already clean and renewable and we are being singled out to do all the dirty work, spoiling our mountaintops, degrading our lakes and ponds with herbicides and silt, doubling up the transmission lines and their cuts through our wilderness, and cutting down immense numbers of CO2 sequestering trees. They lied when they told Baldacci we were the Saudi Arabia of wind, when we are in the lowest 89 percentile. PUC commissioners were taking cash from the Wind Industry, and many of them left government after feathering their beds to join the industry. We have one of those devious politicians currently running for Senator and it is imperative that we defeat him in November, or we will have more of these lies pushed down our throat while they continue to pocket ill gotten cash, and we continue to pay more and more. It is a scam, we know it and we have to make everyone else know it.
It would be cheaper for the electric customers to pay the landowners to not allow wind turbines to be built on their land!
— Glenn Schleede, Va.
Ignacio Galan, Chairman of Iberdrola and master of sock puppet John Elias Baldacci
"If Maine signals that it’s no longer friendly to wind power, he said, the global energy company will expand elsewhere.“We will be involved in this state once the transmission line is completed,” Galan said, “if the framework is here.”Galan made his comments to The Portland Press Herald before a news conference and celebration to kick off CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Project".
New England ratepayers are funding a $1.4 Billion dollar transmission upgrade that Maine Today 'Alternative Energy Projects at Risk' [5/13] states:
The [transmission upgrade]: "...isn't designed to handle the power that can be made available at times from new and existing alternative energy plants in northern and eastern Maine, federal utility regulators and the region's grid operator have determined."
Central Maine Power, subsidiary of Spanish wind energy company Iberdrola, (that received $867 million in US stimulus), represented to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in 2008, that this transmission project would increase opportunities for wind energy in particular.
FERC states in Docket No. EL08-74-000:
"Central Maine asserts that the Project will reduce line losses, assure a safe and secure supply of power in Maine, improve power quality and operating efficiency, increase opportunities for new renewable generation (particularly wind generation), and reduce congestion.20 Central Maine also claims that the Project will enhance reliability, decrease the risk of cascading outages, voltage collapse, and widespread blackouts, eliminate the potential for future NERC violations, and improve system performance for scheduling, outage coordination, and maintenance." [cut-follow link]
New England ratepayers' are funding $1.4 Billion for a project that does not function as Central Maine Power has on record represented it would. In fact, if we utilize this transmission upgrade for its intended purpose, we would court, "cascading outages", and, "widepread blackouts".
Maine Today Tux Turkel's article'Alternative Energy Projects at Risk': http://www.kjonline.com/news/cmp-upgradenewenergyprojectsat-risk_20...
FERC filing Docket No. EL08-74-000
125 FERC ¶ 61,079
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Before Commissioners: Joseph T. Kelliher, Chairman;
Suedeen G. Kelly, Marc Spitzer,
Philip D. Moeller, and Jon Wellinghoff. Central Maine Power Company
The planned Project consists of approximately 245 miles of new 345 kV transmission line, 74 miles of new 115 kV transmission line, 10 miles of rebuilt 345 kV transmission line, 155 miles of rebuilt 115 kV transmission line, and upgrades to Central Maine’s existing substations. The proposed transmission corridor is an approximately 370 mile right-of-way with a width of 170 to 500 feet.4 The Project’s currently estimated cost is $1.4 billion, with approximately $1.1 billion associated with transmission lines and $300 million associated with substations. Central Maine expects construction to begin in mid-2009, with a target in-service date of 2012 in order to meet its future reliability needs.
The First Rule of Iberdrola:
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