As with any new market, changes take awhile, but the added costs from the new, Maine wind market are real and coming fast.
Wind Timeline Costs:
1. ITC, federal program using tax-paid or more correctly, future tax-paid funds plus interest, which grants a wind development company 30% of the costs of construction.
2. Long term contracts with regional utilities lasting 15 to 20 years that sell energy output. This attracts investors, quelling fears of lower cost resources bumping wind out of the on-going market. With Long tern contracts, wind is guaranteed to be part of the market and lower, alternative resource costs get concealed due to non-entry, scaling back the opportunity for ratepayer cost relief.
3. Bundling of renewable energy credit assets and pre-selling at fixed prices. Again, a favored investment feature which gets quick returns. Renewable Energy Credits are purchased by electricity suppliers from wind plant developers and the cost passed on to the ratepayer. The developer can do whatever he wants to do with this money, it's value is well above plant costs.
4. Transmission upgrades costs to accommodate remote siting of wind plants, which become part of the delivery billing on ratepayer bills. As wind is incrementally added, transmission costs, likewise, are incrementally built and added to costs.
5. Reliability costs associated with integrating wind into the wholesale market due to wind's natural, intermittent tendencies. Critical time/load compensation engineering and methods increase costs for the sake of reliability. It is hidden within the many regional wholesale markets, but, it is considerable.
6. It is extremely disastrous to concentrate wind plant installation within set aside geographical areas, which extenuates the intermittent nature and corresponding reactions from system operations and other nearby generators. A market with sputtering exporting and importing of electricity raises costs far above a market developed from harmonious, dispatchable generation interaction.