Wind Power Cannot Compete with Natural Gas

Even with the massive subsidies currently available the wind industry cannot compete with abundant, clean, low cost, domestic natural gas. Low demand for electricity and an unpredictable economic situation in the foreseeable future, causing utilities to be reluctant to enter into long term power purchase agreeements at prices the wind industry needs to be profitable, has the wind industry on the ropes all over the country.
The only thing that can save it is its ability to prey upon the fears of global warming to induce government to increase subsidy levels even further, and require utilities to purchase wind generation regardless of cost with so called "feed in tariffs". Public opposition to such policies and the need for politicians to get re-elected by appearing sensitive to the economic realities of their constituents should kill this effort. Furthermore, there is no proof that wind turbines in Maine will cause a reduction in fossil fuel generation because Maine is already heavily reliant on existing renewable biomass and hydro plants for it's electricity.
Senators Collins and Snow need to hear this from the folks back home. Baldacci's ego driven ("The Renewable Energy Governor") wind power at all costs policies cannot be continued by the next administration. Gubernatorial and legislative candidates also need to hear from Mainers that wind power is a mistake that we can't afford to continue.
We continue to hear from folks like Angus King that wind power will enable all of us to heat our homes and drive electric cars and thereby stop using "foreign oil" but he provides no timetable for such a radical shift, or a way to pay for it. There is plenty of excess capacity in the grid at night to allow for recharging cars or storing electric heat at current electric rates and if such a transition made economic sense people would already be doing it.
Forgetting for a moment that wind power is unreliable, intermittant, and a grid operator's worst nightmare as more turbines are connected to the grid, turbines installed today will last 15 to 20 years, so even if there was a massive effort to convert to electric cars and electric heat in the coming years, turbines installed now would be at the end of their useful life when the transition occurred. Massive subsidies to install turbines ahead of the need for them will have been for naught, costing taxpayers and ratepayers money that would be much better spent on conservation and efficiency, so that no matter what fuel was used, it would take less energy to heat their homes.

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Comment by Art Brigades on May 8, 2010 at 6:36pm
Amen, Mr. Thurston! The Senators DO need to hear it. The "climate change bills" that they are now considering vary, but they all would make sweeping policy changes that give favor to wind power in the marketplace. They are immensely complex bills that generally seek to penalize fossil fuel and carbon-emitting generation sources. The promise of Natural Gas beneath our Marcellus Shale and in other gargantuan domestic deposits, is in the crosshairs. The wind ideologues lobbying Congress are uncomfortable that Natural Gas will be too inexpensive and reliable to allow windmills to compete. So they are seeking to hit gas with financial penalties too. The political wrangling is indicative of the huge stakes. This makes healthcare look simple.

Those coal states now paying 6 or 7 cents per kWh will surely have their Senators looking out for their interests. Iowa has installed almost 10,000 mw of wind capacity, yet they still use coal for 78 % of their electricity. They pay under 7 cents despite of -- not because of -- wind power. They just want to ship the wind power to the us cathartic greenies in the Northeast, whom they think will accept the 25 cent price tag. Olympia and Susan have muscle, supposedly. They should use it to penalize the oil and coal emitters who send exhaust our way, but they should not impose unnecessary/costly green mandates on Maine, which at almost 16 cents, already pays the 6th highest electric rates in the nation, and which has the "greenest" renewable portfolio standard in the nation.

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."


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


(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 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?" 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.”

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