One month ago, on January 1, 2011, the UMPI website had gone blooey, showing no data, so as a surrogate for 1/1/11, we'll use the KWH recorded on 12/29/10 - 1,029,982. To see the 12/29/10 production, please look at the Excel screenshot dated 12/29/10 at
Today, project to date KWH's stand at 1,057,220, an increase of 27,238 for the month, or 879 KWH per day. That represents a capacity factor of 6.1% for January 2011.
The turbine was down for part of the month, but such is the real world. Project to date capacity factor stands at only 11.7%.
The wind industry claims that a single turbine will be less efficient than a wind "farm" (of many turbines) because a turbine breakdown will hardly affect the farm. But consider that an array of 10 turbines has ten times the odds that a turbine will malfunction. Over time it's all the same - it should wash.
The wind industry claims that Presque Isle is not a great site for wind, but neither are many of the spots being scoped out by the wind companies. While they will shoot for the windier spots (few and far between in Maine), they will settle for lower wind locations because of all the artificial financial incentives brought to them by our meddlesome government courtesy of our wallets.
Hopefully the University of Maine's electricity and economic experts will one day soon reflect on this $2 million sole state experiment with land based wind and tell us its implications for the Baldacci administration's plan of placing 1,800 four hundred foot tall turbines all over the state, along with the requisite hundreds of miles of new wind-required costly monster transmission and roads. That plan is currently being carried out, so time is of the essence one would think.
Beyond their terrible capacity factors in Maine, Baldacci's sprawling industrial wind complexes produce electricity that is always too little, too late.
The main reason that wind power is so expensive is that it is not compatible with the grid and such compatibility could be 30 years off, if that. The grid must line up in advance sufficient electricity to meet demand, which can be forecasted quite accurately the day before based on weather forecasts, historical usage, etc. Additionally, it must line up added standby electricity in case demand exceeds expectations. In lining up this electricity, the sources must be reliable and predictable – and wind thus cannot be included and is not included.
To ensure adequate supply in Maine, natural gas-made electricity is often lined up in the day ahead electricity market. Thus, when wind simply “happens” the next day, it is always an added and unnecessary layer over and above what has been already lined up. Until we can store it, this will be the case.
Ratepayers are forced to pay for this wind electricity, and because in doing so they are buying more than what is needed, they are wasting their money – this simple reality is what causes wind power to be so incredibly expensive.
Attempts can be made to cut back certain types of natural gas generators, but the practical reality is that the grid keeper just ignores wind’s contribution. And when they do try to mirror wind's ebb and flow with natural gas, the natural gas combustion produces excessive CO2, like an inefficient car in stop and go traffic. But in essence, the grid keeper, for whom wind is a worst nightmare, simply ignores wind's too little too late contribution.
The one place where it is not ignored is on our electric bills.
Also, because of this incompatibility with the grid, claims about displacement of fossil fuel and CO2 emissions in Maine are patently false.
The transmission lines it requires also add to the cost - about $4,000 to $5,000 per Maine household. This calculation is based on Maine ratepayers having to pay for 8% of the estimated $30 billion in similar windpower-required transmission upgrades across ISO New England, "the grid".
Out of state companies, trampling our "quality of place" and then Baldacci's PUC making Maine ratepayers pick up the tab to build the wind companies the transmission they need to ship their product to southern New England consumers who get the expensive wind electrons shoved down their throats thanks to RGGI, the northeast cap & trade organization chaired by Maine PUC commissioner David Littell. And the Baldacci administration sold the project in under the false pretense of "aging lines".
When will we take our state back?
See the 2011 UMPI turbine performance log at: