Study group proposes modest goals for Maine renewable energy storage

A commission that studied the potential for projects to store excess renewable power generated in Maine has recommended that the state set a short-term goal of reaching 100 megawatts of capacity by 2025 to send an important signal to investors and developers.

The non-binding target is modest compared with what states such as Massachusetts and New York are proposing, and it doesn’t commit any state money. Still, the proposal recognizes the “value and benefits that strategic investment in energy storage can provide to energy consumers and the electrical grid,” according to the commission’s final report.

The recommendations, contained in a 16-page report, will next go the legislative committee that handles energy and utility issues.

Energy storage projects represent an emerging trend that dovetails with Maine’s ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by making a wholesale transition to renewable energy. They provide a potential power supply solution for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

The transmission lines connecting Maine’s far-flung renewable generators to the regional electric grid sometimes are too weak to carry all their power. When that happens, grid operators order generators to reduce output – or even stop running – to prevent overloading and jeopardizing reliable service. The practice is called curtailment.

Increased energy storage capacity in Maine would reduce curtailment and help squeeze more usable power out of existing sources of renewable energy generation.

The commission also recommended that the state create an incentive for energy storage projects that are paired with renewables such as solar and wind. That could happen by boosting the contract price for new projects shown to benefit ratepayers or the grid. It said the Governor’s Energy Office should develop and propose more robust energy storage targets as part of a future, in-depth energy storage study.

Read the full article here:

https://www.pressherald.com/2020/01/08/study-group-proposes-modest-...

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Comment by Penny Gray on January 9, 2020 at 7:02am

I wonder how many of the study group members live off grid and are truly familiar with what they're talking about?

Comment by Willem Post on January 8, 2020 at 10:42pm

Values for 2018 are represented in below table. SEE URL

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

 

NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind

%

NE Solar

%

Ridgeline

Large-scale

c/kWh

c/kWh

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting

18.8

100

23.5

100

Less cost shifting

2.4

13

2.1

9

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

16.4

87

21.4

91

Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4

7.4

39

Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4

9.6

41

Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

9.0

48

11.8

50

Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-more-wind-and-solar...

 

This URL shows wind and solar prices per kWh would be at least 50% higher without direct and indirect subsidies. They would be even higher, if the costs of other items were properly allocated to the owners of wind and solar projects, instead of shifted elsewhere. See below section High Levels of Wind and Solar Require Energy Storage.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/economics-of-tesla-powe...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant...

http://www.usu.edu/ipe/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/UnseenWindFull.pdf

 

This URL shows about 2/3 of the financial value of a wind project is due to direct and indirect subsidies, and the other 1/3 is due to electricity sales.

http://johnrsweet.com/Personal/Wind/PDF/Schleede-BigMoney-20050414.pdf

 

- Indirect subsidies are due to federal and state tax rebates due to loan interest deductions from taxable income, and federal and state MARCS depreciation deductions from taxable income.

 

- Direct subsidies are up-front federal and state cash grants, the partial waiving of state sales taxes, the partial waiving of local property, municipal and school taxes. See URLs.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

 

Any owner, foreign or domestic, of a wind and/or solar project, looking to shelter taxable income from their other US businesses, is allowed to depreciate in 6 years almost the entire cost of a wind and solar project under the IRS scheme called Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, MARCS. The normal period for other forms of utility depreciation is about 20 years.

 

Then, with help of Wall Street financial wizardry from financial tax shelter advisers, such as BNEF*, JPMorgan, Lazard, etc., the owner sells the project to a new owner who is allowed to depreciate, according to MARCS, almost his entire cost all over again. Over the past 20 years, there now are many thousands of owners of RE projects who are cashing in on that bonanza.

 

Loss of Federal and State Tax Revenues: The loss of tax revenues to federal and state governments due to MARCS was estimated by the IRS at $266 billion for the 5y period of 2017 - 2021, or about $53.2 billion/y.

The IRS is required to annually provide a 5y-running estimate to Congress, by law.

The next report would be for the 2018 - 2022 period

 

The indirect largesse of about $53.2 billion/y, mostly for wind and solar plants^ that produce expensive, variable/intermittent electricity, does not show up in electric rates. It likely is added to federal and state debts.

 

Most of the direct federal subsidies to all energy projects of about $25 billion/y also do not show up in electric rates. They likely were also added to the federal debt.

 

Most of the direct state subsidies to RE projects likely were added to state debts.

 

The additional costs of state-mandated RPS requirements likely were added to the utility rate base for electric rates.

 

* BNEF is Bloomberg New Energy Finance, owned by the pro-RE former Mayor Bloomberg of New York, which provides financial services to the wealthy of the world, including providing them with tax avoidance schemes.

 

^ In New England, wind is near zero for about 30% of the hours of the year, and solar is minimal or zero for about 70% of the hours of the year. Often these hours coincide for multi-day periods, which happen at random throughout the year, per ISO-NE real-time, minute-by-minute generation data posted on its website. Where would the electricity come from during these hours; $multi-billion battery storage, insufficient capacity hydro storage?

 

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68227.pdf

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/tax-equity-investors-b...

 

Warren Buffett Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit." 

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/e...

Comment by Willem Post on January 8, 2020 at 10:37pm

"The transmission lines connecting Maine’s far-flung renewable generators to the regional electric grid sometimes are too weak to carry all their power. When that happens, grid operators order generators to reduce output – or even stop running – to prevent overloading and jeopardizing reliable service. The practice is called curtailment.

Increased energy storage capacity in Maine would reduce curtailment and help squeeze more usable power out of existing sources of renewable energy generation."

This is total crappola.

Maine should not waste a penny on it.

The wind electricity sent to the weak grid would be very expensive at about 10 c/kWh with subsidies, about 18 to 20 c/kWh without subsidies and without cost shifting.

Curtailment* will be FAR cheaper. It is practiced in many countries BECAUSE USING STORAGE WOULD BE TOO EXPENSIVE.

Just pay the owners of wind turbines about 10 c/kWh for the electricity they COULD have generated.

Looks to me like a no-brainer, as long as no one games the system.

 

* Curtailment is reducing the wind turbine output during high wind conditions to avoid overloading the weak rural grids 

Comments on Below Table

 

Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

 

An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar. See table.

 

In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.14. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh. See table.

 

In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

 

Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

 

Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

 

NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

 

The subsidy percentages in below table are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

 

Values for 2018 are represented in below table.

 

NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind

%

NE Solar

%

Ridgeline

Large-scale

c/kWh

c/kWh

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting

18.8

100

23.5

100

Less cost shifting

2.4

13

2.1

9

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

16.4

87

21.4

91

Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4

7.4

39

Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4

9.6

41

Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

9.0

48

11.8

50

 

Comment by richard mcdonald on January 8, 2020 at 9:37pm

"Boosting contract price" simply means we pay more for stored renwable nergy we don't need. Mills needs to be voted out in 2022

 

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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