Maine Sierra Club member: Mills outlines bold energy vision in State of the Budget address

Where does one start? Answer: Grab the air sickness bag.

February 28, 2023

Let’s start using the vast, clean and free resources of wind and solar to provide our electricity while creating good jobs for Mainers.


On Feb. 14, Gov. Mills gave the annual State of the Budget address. Among the many positive items in this address, the governor boldly stated: "I am announcing tonight that I am directing my Energy Office to draft legislation requiring that 100% of our electricity come from clean energy by 2040." This advances the current clock on such an achievement by 10 years - no small change. It is a change that we, Sierra Club Maine, enthusiastically embrace.

The governor succinctly gave three reasons to do this. Firstly, "...we will reduce costs for Maine people." One hardly needs to look beyond this winter's explosive increases in electricity rates to support that reason. Bills have doubled or more for many residential and business customers compared to as little as two years ago. As USA Today reports, this is largely because of increases in natural gas prices. Related increases in oil, propane and kerosene prices for heating have been as burdensome as increases in electricity prices. As the Maine electricity grid becomes "cleaner," with energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar, the volatility of fossil-fuel pricing will begin to disappear while relentless upward steps in energy costs for households and businesses will be a thing of the past by 2040 under the governor's initiative.

Secondly, the governor stated: "...create new jobs and career opportunities that strengthen our economy." Today, the jobs in Maine's energy economy are largely in the distribution side of energy rather than its production. The current energy jobs will not only be replaced in the clean energy economy, but also multiplied by the needs of new infrastructure. Replacement of heating systems, build-out of electric-vehicle charging stations, appropriate weatherization, manufacturing and assembly of solar and wind generation equipment, and upgrades to our electrical grid will all create new, well-paying jobs for Maine people. A Maine Governor's Energy Office report suggests that Maine could see tens of thousands of new jobs to build, install and maintain wind turbines for the Gulf of Maine wind farms.

Thirdly, the governor said: "... protect us from the ravages of climate change." While we recognize that Maine's contribution to overall global emissions of greenhouse gases is relatively small, a just energy transition requires all global citizens to do their part. Already, Maine is seeing a shift in seasons that drives ecological regions northward, is seeing rising sea levels at the coast that bring damaging waves to shoreline infrastructure and is experiencing extreme weather events, such as the record-breaking deep freeze on nearby Mount Washington on Feb. 3. These occurrences will be often costly for Mainers and will become more so with time unless we reduce fossil-fuel emissions.

Although the concept of "clean" energy in the governor's presentation includes the approximately 50% of Maine's electricity that comes from biomass burning and from hydropower, we wish to see Maine move away from heavy dependence on these sources by 2040. Because managed forests are now often being associated with net positive greenhouse-gas emissions, we don't believe the 2040 goal should be met by increased biomass burning. Hydropower has come under more scrutiny recently because of the emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from the impounded areas behind hydroelectric dams. Lastly, we mention nuclear power, of which Maine has zero now. Until the problem of how to deal with the extremely toxic waste produced in nuclear fission is solved, we cannot allow new nuclear power generation in Maine....................................

David von Seggern is a member of Sierra Club Maine and a retired seismologist from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Portland.

The full piece can be read at:


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Comment by Penny Gray on March 3, 2023 at 10:24am

This sort of fantasy drivel makes me wonder if any of these people went to school.  Obviously math and science were ignored, critical thinking banned, and mass formation psychosis practiced religiously.  My heart goes out to the elderly and most vulnerable, and to Maine's natural environment, its inland and coastal waters and its wildlife, both land/air based and marine.  Our quality of life is about to take an abrupt and perilous nosedive.

Comment by Dan McKay on March 1, 2023 at 5:58pm

                          FANBOY AND THE GOVERNOR   

       Let's fill in the blanks for this wind fanboy. The governor's plan to get 100% of electricity from clean energy by 2040 must include 100% electricity from sources that can be called upon to produce nameplate generation at a moment's notice. Wind and solar cannot produce on-call nameplate electricity for at least 70% of the time.
       Electricity providers supplying Maine customers must have 51% of Class 1, Class 1A and Class II resources in their portfolio in 2023. This means the purchase of renewable certificates is required to prove to the state that the providers have, in fact, participated in the scheme to fool the fanboys into thinking Maine is utilizing 51% of all the electricity consumed in Maine from " Clean energy" Actually 51% of the electricity in the provider's portfolio has the price of renewable certificates attached to the "supply" portion of everyone's bill. This is not a reduction in the price of electricity, it is an addition to the price. Fanboy must have kool-aid running in his veins.
     Now, buying renewable certificates does not mean the electricity physically running your refrigerator is made up of 51% "clean energy" . It could be 100% uncertified energy, meaning it is not given the gift of renewable certification, but it is also energy that does not rely on the wind and/or sun. Nobody gets electricity from wind and solar during windless nights or windless, cloudy days. It is physically impossible.
     So, what happens if the provider can't get enough renewable certificates to comply with the governor's plan, whether it is 51% or 100%?   They pay a penalty called the “alternative compliance mechanism” and pass that cost onto retail customers. The scam is the provider can pay the penalty and send electricity from any source of generation.
The scam is the provider pays for renewable certificates or penalties and is prevented from independently participating in a pure competitive market and sending the customers the real "reduced cost" product. 
   So, we want to have comparisons to reveal how the scam is "in the numbers" This is best shown by " long term contracts" procured by the Maine PUC as directed by laws enacted by Maine legislators and signed by the governor and promoted by the Sierra Club fanboys. As described by one of Maine's utilities: " the Legislature has enacted various programs to support the development of renewable power which have required: (1) that the Commission procure generation; and (2) that the utilities enter into contracts for the purchase of generation facility output and then sell or otherwise dispose of that output as directed by the Commission. The Commission’s practice over the past several years has been to have the utilities sell this generation facility output into the wholesale energy market." 
      The wholesale energy market is operated as a competitive market and favors no generation resource over any other generation. Solar, wind and other so-called "clean energies" get no extra money for participation in this market. When market prices are lower than the contract price paid by the utility, the ratepayers subjected to "long term contracts" pay the difference. As part of the scheme, the developers of the "clean energies" offer the pricing arrangement that they desire to the PUC and this becomes the pricing arrangement the utilities must accept. Most of these pricing arrangements have an annual escalation of price associated with them. Most of the time the ratepayers see increased costs from these contracts. Another fanboy information blank.
    For a few months in 2022, natural gas prices soared to three times normal prices. They have come back closer to normal as supply caught up with demand. But fanboy will use the spike that occurred in gas prices to spin a tale of concurrence with the governor's claim of "..we will reduce costs for Maine people."  
    Unfortunately, the standard offer supply price has been set for the entire year of 2023 and was offered and approved during the time of spiked gas prices.
    What does natural gas prices have to do with electricity? It is the dominant electricity producer in New England and almost always sets the price of electricity in the wholesale market. ( The price in comparison with "clean energies"). Fanboy and the governor are declaring price reductions based on a very narrow time frame. 
   It is unbelievable how fanboy and the governor will blank out facts to make their case.
Comment by arthur qwenk on March 1, 2023 at 2:10pm

Maine's legislature (left wing) is doing all that they can to bankrupt its citizens and destroy any business potential , small that it may be, for the future.

The  self serving elitist politicians are allowed to do this because of a passive citizenry, who seems to not   really want any development at all. They may  get their  wish  if this imbecilic energy policy is not reversed.


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 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?" 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.”

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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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