At the EUT Public Hearing on 1/14/16 on LD 1513, during testimony by Ben Smith, Skelton, Taintor & Abbott counsel representing Houlton Water Company, EUT member Representative Larry Dunphy asked Mr. Smith, in essence, if the MPRP ($1.4 BILLION CMP transmission line upgrade) was built in anticipation of moving electrons for future wind projects. In essence, it would appear that Mr. Smith responded in the affirmative. You can decide for yourself by viewing the YouTube video at the link below.
Folks, I believe, along with many who have studied this, that this was an unwitting ratepayer funded GIFT to the wind industry but almost all of the corporate communications "selling" the public on this project cited its raison d'etre as "aging lines" requiring enhanced reliability:
That was BUNK. It was all about increasing reliability for planned wind power projects. Wind doesn't produce much electricity but on the windiest day, it can create electricity surges that will thermally overload the lines and take down the grid. There was a bottleneck at Orrington stopping wind produced feelgood electrons from being sent to the power thirsty McMansions in Connecticut and Massachusetts which thus stood in the way of immense profits for the wind companies. This is like tripling the number of lanes on the interstate solely for the one day a year when a wide load truck must use it. They couldn't tell Mainers that there was to be a $1.4 billion price tag on top of all the other price tags for wind. So a big lie was formulated and they made the PR effort primarily about upgrading our 40 year old lines.
It also made a fortune for CMP.
It is refreshing that the sunlight is finally beginning to shine on this huge lie. Information wants to be free and these facts will be well known and accepted one day.
The MPRP's supporters have told us that Maine ratepayers will pay "only" their share of the grid, 8%. But what they don't tell us is that we will also have to pay the same 8% on all the potential similar upgrades across the New England grid (ISO-NE), estimated by some to cost $30 BILLION. In other words, under the guise of aging lines and anything but the real culprit - crony phony wind "farms", Maine ratepayers could get stuck with a wind power transmission bill of $2.4 BILLION. And they won't even know what caused it.
If there are say, 500,000 ratepayers in this state of 1.3 million people, that's a cost per ratepayer of $4,800 to unwittingly gift the wind industry so they can play three card monte with their crony electricity game.
Ben Smith's testimony on this can be seen starting at about the 43 minute mark of the following video, graciously filmed by Eric Tuttle on Thursday. Thank you Eric.
Note: Eric Tuttle's full video of the hearing is at:
It is high time that the people of Maine are told the true costs of wind "farms". The legislature must stop doing the bidding of this feelgood politically correct industry and start serving the people on this matter.
Sweeping wind's transmission price tag under the carpet was part of the plan
"The task force ignored the need for massive new transmission line construction to move wind energy from turbines to market, which could be costly to ratepayers, disrupt habitat and landscape and engender significant opposition from towns and conservation groups."
"Kurt Adams: When the governor’s task force was doing its work, Adams was head of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, although he had already had communication with wind developer First Wind about possibly going to work for them. In their report, task force members wrote “PUC Chairman Kurt Adams and agency counsel Mitch Tannenbaum, and DEP Commissioner and Task Force member David Littell were particularly helpful to the Task Force in developing and presenting information regarding the regional energy system, electric transmission, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and other renewable energy policy issues as they relate to wind power. Adams left the PUC to take a high-level position with First Wind in May, 2008; in April, he had received 1.2 million units of equity in First Wind — akin to stock options — while he was still at the PUC. An investigation by Attorney General Janet Mills determined Adams had done nothing wrong."
"Task Force Chairman Giffen likewise had no idea how the omission occurred, and told the Center he knew of no plans to correct it.
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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My testimony to the EUT committee on LD 1513
Honorable Chairman, Co-chairman, Representatives and Senators of the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee.
In 2009, I attended several public hearings regarding the MPRP and handed out this flyer to people. I was like a voice in the wilderness against the juggernaut.
STOP THE POWERLINE EXPANSION
STOP THE PROLIFERATION OF
INDUSTRIAL WIND SITES IN RURAL MAINE
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CMP’S MAINE POWER RELIABILITY PROGRAM AND WIND POWER PROJECTS
Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power (CTFWP), http://www.windtaskforce.org/ opposes the approval by the Maine PUC of CMP’s proposed expansion of transmission lines. CTFWP understands that transmission capacity is adequate for Maine’s existing needs and supports, planned, necessary upgrades to our existing Maine grid to better service our local needs. This should be an on-going function, part of the company’s business plan. Consistent upgrades and making Maine’s local grid “smarter” and more efficient should ensure reliable delivery of electricity for decades to come without adding large transmission capacity.
However, CMP is owned by utility giant Iberdrola of Spain. CMP makes its money by transmitting electricity. It is no longer the friendly, locally owned utility we are used to. Iberdrola is the world’s second largest operator of utility scale (or industrial) wind sites (which the industry euphemistically refer to as “wind farms”). This company stands to make millions of dollars at taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ expense if the transmission lines are expanded. Not just for utility scale wind sites envisioned in Maine, but for every kilowatt that flows through Maine from Canada to destinations in southern New England. Thus, they are aggressively pursuing expansion of transmission lines that does nothing positive for Maine but will wreak havoc with our quality of place and threaten our health and well being.
Iberdrola, First Wind, Trans Canada, Angus King and others lobbied heavily for the Maine Legislature to enact the so-called Expedited Wind Permitting statute in 2008. (MRSA Title 35-A, Chapter 34-A). That statute incorporates the goals of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power (a stacked deck to ensure an outcome if there ever was one!) for installed capacity for wind energy in Maine. 2,000 MW by 2015 and 2,700 MW land-based and 300 MW off-shore by 2020. This was driven through the legislature as an emergency measure without any thought to adequately educating the public about the pro’s and con’s of utility scale wind and thus with little input from an unsuspecting citizenry. Strictly a deal to open the floodgates for ravaging rural Maine with industrial wind turbines. Wind turbines erected not for the potential of generating a substantial amount of electricity---because they do not---but rather to suck millions of dollars in subsidies from the taxpayers and expensive electricity costs from ratepayers. What the industry calls a “wind farm” is more appropriately a “subsidy plantation”.
Any way you look at it, the wind sites are the reason for the huge, health menacing transmission line expansion and without the powerline expansion, the sprawling industrial wind sites never get built!
There has been relentless pressure for years to open Maine up for sprawling industrial wind sites. Simply put, we are seen as a poor, rural state that has large tracts of land owned by a single entity. Perfect for siting a “wind farm”. Overlooked is the fact that most of the state is rated as “poor” wind energy potential, meaning that a wind turbine in Maine is likely to produce less than a quarter (25%) of its rated capacity. It doesn’t matter, as the wind industry is so heavily subsidized and given preferential market treatment that each kilowatt generated earns money in three ways: the grid must purchase it; it earns 2.1 cents production tax credit; it can be sold as a Renewable Energy Credit.
What does meeting the installed capacity of 2,700 MW mean to rural Maine? This analysis is based on the “Rollins Project” of First Wind in Lincoln as a typical installation utilizing 1.5 MW GE turbines. Rollins is rated at 60 MW, with 40 turbines, each 389 feet high from base to apex of the blades. To install these 40 turbines, it means blasting away more than 7 miles of the ridgelines of Rollins Mt. and four unnamed ridges in the Rocky Dundee area. It means a network of 60 foot wide access roads up and across all these slopes. Tying together the turbines and the feeder to the Bangor Hydro lines means 20 miles of powerlines. The total footprint of the turbine pads, access roads, powerlines, and other infrastructure means at least 1,000 acres permanently clearcut. What isn’t graveled over will be kept clear using herbicides. Thus, the silt and herbicides of the project end up washing down from the ridges into 15 lakes and ponds and into three major rivers. Please refer to www.friendsoflincolnlakes.org for more information. Click on the loon icon to view the slide show that includes photos of First Wind’s Stetson I project.
If the state were to meet the goal of 2,700 MW of installed capacity, based on the Rollins Project, it means 45 more similar sized projects. 45 X 7= 315 miles of ridgelines blasted away. If the 1.5 MW turbines are used, it means 45 X 40=1,800 turbines. 45 X 1,000=45,000 acres permanently clearcut. All this destruction of natural resources, fragmentation of wildlife habitat and disruption of the lives of people living within the impact zone of the turbines is not, remember, for 2,700 MW but 25%, or 675 MW, just a bit more than the Calpine generating plant in Westbrook, which takes less than 100 acres and is a reliable baseline generating plant, not the unreliable, unpredictable, intermittent generation of wind turbines.
Maine does not need 45 sprawling industrial wind sites
Maine does not need to expand any transmission lines
Maine does not need to destroy what we cherish to feed electricity, whether from wind sites or from Canada, to Southern New England
Stop CMP/Iberdrola’s $1.4 billion folly that threatens the health and well being of Mainers. Pull the Plug!
Contact Brad Blake: email@example.com
The real reason for the MPRP is well documented in PUC transcripts, newspaper reports and Governors Task Force on Wind Power documents. In 2012 the issue was thoroughly researched by Long Islander. Just click the tab, "Costly Transmission" at the top of this page. It was no secret that wind power was the main beneficiary of the MPRP, but the deal between Baldacci and Iberdrola was a fait accompli and there was no stopping it. Is it any wonder that Baldacci now works for Iberdrola? He finally collected what was owed.
Thank You all for pushing and pushing for the truth.
Thank you, Eric.
Thank you Rep Dunphy.
Thank you Ben Smith of Houlton Water Co.
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