Representative Mike Michaud declared that the strength of our economy depends on investments in renewable energy almost two years ago. The exact date was May 14, 2009 and the exact occasion was a statement he released congratulating the University of Maine on "a job well done" in constructing and commissioning its industrial size wind turbine.
A copy of Rep. Michaud's statement is available by clicking on the green link below.
In less than one month, on May 14, 2011, we will mark the two year anniversary of this experiment.
What is Congressman Michaud saying now? What does he think of this experiment now that we have had two years to observe it? Or was his statement a simple drive by statement with no intentions of ever following up?
This turbine was originally slated to cost $1.5 million, but somewhere along the way the cost jumped to $2 million. During its first 23 months it has broken down on at least two occasions. In fact, it has not worked since February 18, i.e., the last two months. So maintenance costs are sure to add substantially to the $2 million cost. The once $1.5 million turbine is now headed towards a cumulative cost of $3 million.
During the 23 months, the turbine has turned in an overall capacity factor of 11%, a truly miserable number, but not unexpected. The reality is that such a capacity factor or close to it, is what most of the industrial wind complexes in Maine produce. The big difference here is that UMPI publishes its performance figures and the commercial wind companies hide them, telling the public (who funds their truly massive subsidies - their lifeblood) that it is none of their business.
The press was very interested in publicizing UMPI's wind turbine commissioning as well as virtually all of the wind industry's false promises. But then there is very little follow up.
Whether Congressman Michaud will follow up and register his disappointment and decide to revisit and reassess all of the wind industry's false promises remains to be seen. But don't wait for him to just do this, as politicians make promises and issue statements and often never look back. Therefore, it's up to YOU to ask him to reassess. He's your representative, he works for you and these funds are your money.
Might not there have been more pressing needs within the state university system for what is now on its way to becoming a $3 million feelgood foolishness? With all due respect, how is flushing our tax dollars down the toilet of useless renewables going to help our economy Congressman?