PPH - A first in northernmost Maine: Utility ran on 100% solar power for a few hours in early May

May 10, 2024

Stephen Singer
Press Herald

EXCERPTS

Solar energy provided all the electricity needed to power a service area of more than 11,000 customers in northern Maine for a few hours in early May, marking a first in the large, sparsely populated region that relies on a Canadian grid for its electricity.
Unlike other regions in the state that are linked to the New England electricity grid, the Fort Kent area in northernmost Maine is connected to New Brunswick Power Corp...........................
..................Northern Maine is unique, the outlook said, because most of its generation is from renewable resources. Solar accounts for a little less than 10% of the region’s 109-megawatt capacity, with the bulk coming from wind and hydropower, according to the independent system administrator......................

Versant said it expects similar energy conditions in the Fort Kent area on sunny days in the spring and fall when conditions are best for solar energy production and mild temperatures drive down electricity demand.
The ability to rely on the sun’s rays for power – even for a few hours – is partly the result of a decentralization of power generation that allows smaller producers to feed electricity into the grid.
“Reimagining the purpose of our grid, built originally for the one-way delivery of power, is no easy task in a rural state with diverse needs,” Versant President John Flynn said.
In contrast with the electric grid’s original, one-way economic model – sending power from the utility to its customers – decentralized forms of energy production, known as “distributed generation,” are increasingly producing power that is sent to a utility, which in turn supplies its customers with electricity.


“I think it’s a great day for the state of Maine to generate its own electricity and not have to go out of state,” said Bob Cleaves, co-founder and principal investor of Dirigo Solar, which feeds power to Versant.
The Portland-based solar developer has three projects in development at Limestone, Masardis and Sherman, Cleaves said. Begun in 2015, Dirigo has invested $150 million in Maine and operates seven solar projects, he said, generating more than 100 MW of solar that’s cheaper for Versant customers than the state’s standard offer, which is the default supply........................


Dirigo sells its power to Versant for 3.5 cents a kilowatt hour, and customers pay 7 cents – significantly less than the 11.3-cent per kWh standard offer.
Cleaves credited a 2019 Maine law for the expansion of solar power in the state by broadening incentives in a policy known as net energy billing. The incentives have attracted strong interest from solar developers while drawing criticism for being too generous at the expense of electricity ratepayers who subsidize the program.
“As a result, there was, until 2019, very little home-grown load,” Cleaves said, referring to electricity consumption............................


https://www.pressherald.com/2024/05/20/a-first-in-northernmost-main...

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Comment by Dan McKay on May 21, 2024 at 8:57am

Whoever made this statement: "Dirigo sells its power to Versant for 3.5 cents a kilowatt hour, and customers pay 7 cents – significantly less than the 11.3-cent per kWh standard offer" is either confusing wholesale prices with retail prices or is intentionally misleading the readers.

The PUC, who is the bookie for the legislature of Maine, provided the terms of the contracts between Versant Power and Dirigo Solar. That's right, it is a gamble using the wholesale market prices exactly like a bookie would provide betting odds on sporting events. Only the bookie never loses in this scenario, the ratepayers are on the hook. 

The Terms, or Bet, as you like, from the PUC website: "The Contract Energy Price in each hour shall be $34/MWh (3.4 cents/KWh ) in Contract Year 1, with 2.5% annual escalation for each Contract Year thereafter"

The 5-year price will be $38.47/MWh (3.847 cents/KWh)

The 10-year: $43.52/MWh

The 15-year; $49.24/MWh

The 20-year: $55.71/MWh

Dirigo Solar pockets the sales of renewable energy certificates (REC) from these projects, probably as a participant in the Massachusetts REC market which is generally pays the highest price in the New England States and can be more than $40/MWh (4 cents/KWh). The REC market is another government betting scheme that gets paid by the perpetual loser, the ratepayer.

They also utilize federal subsidies which pay 30% of the construction costs.

Dirigo Solar is doing favors for Dirigo Solar and only Dirigo Solar.

 

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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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/

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