D. Fowler: First Wind is doing it right

A recent opinion piece by Jonathan Carter (Aug. 11) in the Sun Journal got things very wrong on wind power, First Wind and the proposed Bingham project.

Despite its gross factual inaccuracies, the column failed to point out that wind power has meant a great deal to Maine communities, businesses and families over the past six years. Since 2007 hundreds of small Maine businesses have all served this growing industry and put hundreds of Mainers to work building in-state wind projects.

The wind projects that have been built will have lasting benefits for Maine by reducing our electricity rates, lowering host community property taxes, funding community projects and charitable causes, and supporting nature-based tourism businesses, ATV and snowmobile clubs, and conservation efforts.

Just as important as the benefits to our economy, First Wind’s five Maine wind projects are generating enough clean energy to power the equivalent of more than 90,000 Maine homes. That’s not fiction — it’s fact.

First Wind takes pride in the work we have done in Maine and in finding places to build wind projects that work in harmony with people, wildlife and the quality of place that every Mainer enjoys.

It is not always easy to strike that balance, but we believe that our Bingham project hits the mark.

The project’s turbines would be located on a low plateau that has been used for commercial timber harvesting for decades and has a network of heavy haul roads. This is not a wilderness area or national park; it is a working forest where existing uses like cutting timber, riding snow machines, hunting and fishing and enjoying the view are compatible with harvesting the wind. Environmental and visual studies show the project will have the least possible effect on both human and wildlife residents of the area.

Beyond the careful environmental measures undertaken, First Wind has entered into community benefit agreements with Bingham, Abbot, Parkman, Moscow and Kingsbury Plantation that would neighbor this project. Those communities would receive more than $6 million collectively in community benefits, with more than $2.5 million in tax revenues going to Somerset and Piscataquis counties, and another $1.2 million benefiting local outdoors organizations.

We’re proud Bingham Wind has earned the support of in the citizens of these communities — people have concluded for themselves that the project makes good sense. It will fit into the working forest, create construction and long term jobs, lower property taxes, and provide low cost clean energy for many years.

Dave Fowler is director of development for First Wind in Portland.

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Hart Daley's picture

And the lies just keep on coming.....

D. Fowler states there will be "long term" jobs...lie. Please go to every single wind project in Maine and count the number of permanent jobs being enjoyed by Maine citizens at these sites.

D. Fowler states there will be a reduction in property taxes.....1/2 lie....property taxes will initially decline but once the state recognizes the increased valuation of the town that the project is sited in they increase your property taxes, school appropriation fees and county taxes accordingly.

D. Fowler states wind generated energy will "lower electricity rates"....lie. Due to wind energies inefficient and inconsistent nature and the high costs of transmission to the grid your energy rates will actually increase. And let's not excuse the fact that supplemental energy via fossil fuel plants must constantly increase and decrease to supplement when wind is not creating energy.

Capacity ratings are always over inflated. D. Fowler states wind energy is "clean" and currently can power over 90,000 homes....if they could produce the capacity of energy they boast. Currently MAINE has all the energy it needs to power the entire state....all wind energy generated is being sold to out of state contracts in MA, RI etc. As far as being clean..yes wind is clean, but what it takes to build these industrial giants creates substantial pollution. Diesel fuels expended, fossil fuel backup (fact), mining for precious metals for the massive magnets in the turbines, NO beneficial reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere, actually all the wind projects in the state and projected projects could never match the CO2 sequestration of the trees they have destroyed in their effort to build.

Interesting that D. Fowler states wind projects are sited to exist in "harmony" with people....seeing there are complaints coming from every organized town that any wind project is sited in regarding excessive noise levels, sleep deprivation and other negative health impacts.

Why no mention of how living in close proximity to an industrial wind project will reduce your property values and marketability of your home. Who in their right mind would CHOSE to live next to a wind project. Most people who had no choice are trying desperately to sell their homes or are just walking away from their investments that have been destroyed by industrial wind projects.

Lastly, a good car salesman is not going to tell you any of the flaws, faults or undesirable issues of the car they are trying to sell you. They are in it for the money. Their livelihood depends on it. Their company demands it of them. D. Fowler is compensated by First Wind....how long do you think he'd keep his job if he told you all the truth.....about as long as it would take for them to blow him out the door.

 's picture

Mr Fowler please explain.

First Wind et. al.

They get a PPA at prices double what ISO-NE arranges for wholesale. They get tax equity at 30% of cost. They get REC's which fluctuate between 2 cents and 5 cents per MW produced. They get to sell their depreciation with 50% of value allowed in the first year of operations. You sucker a town to allow these and you recoup 80% of your development costs the first year alone. So you target podunk towns who need revenue. You make almost 9 to 13 cents per KwH on the electricity you do produce and you get credited for that amount even though the grid loses 20 to 28% in transmission losses.

 's picture

One more time...(in case you were being deliberately obtuse)

Nuclear (Fukushima disaster, Chernobyl, Three mile island), Coal (acid rain, pollution, GINORMOUS holes torn in the earth), Oil (Gulf oil leak- need I say more?).
The options left are wind (any kind, coastal or mountains), Water (dams-hydroelectric) or, solar (which doesn't work in Maine due to terrain and SNOW).
If you want an alternative energy source that doesn't pollute the planet and eventually kill us off, you can't have it be both cheap and effective. You have to choose one, and personally, I would rather choose the ones that leave a planet for my children and grandchildren to live on that doesn't require gas masks or glowing in the dark, even if it is more expensive.
Until you have better options, that suit the special requirements of our state, wind is the only viable option available at present to augment our hydroelectric resources that doesn't kill us. When a better, more viable option becomes available, then by all means, take down the wind towers. Nature will heal itself like it has for the last 4 billion years. What it cannot heal is the continued use of oil, coal, and nuclear power. In using those, not only are we killing ourselves, we are also killing the natural world that you seem so adamant about protecting.
As I said, I'd rather pay more to see a future than pay less and have no future at all... Your choice.

Norman Mitchell's picture

Wind Power

First wind power don't work it pollutes the air more that it saves the trees eat Co2 something you should have learned in grade school . Nuclear is way safer than wind power first there have been over 1050 deaths due to wind power everything from building them to planes hitting them and people being cut in half from Ice throws, also ever heard a bout the rare element mines in China they pour acid in the ground now wind power is clean and green yeah right check that out as well I see you have the web . So if its safety nuclear is very safe and it works !! Ever heard of a thorium reactor ? Check that out ! Wind power has no storage for when the wind don't blow , I mean how big would the battery be that would power the whole town when the wind don't blow ? The only power source you name that works is Hydro , and is a clean energy . As far as Coal and Oil go you tell me a better source of energy there isn't one !! Also here's a piece of logic for all you green wackos to ponder ! If the air we breath is so bad and the water we drink is so polluted then riddle me this bat man why is it that in 1900 that average man lived to be 46 and now we live almost twice as long at 78 ? I think Oil and Coal have left for me a better longer life than my grandparents had oh and by the way Oil and Coal are solar energy just FYI

Norman Mitchell's picture

Killing people for wind check it out

 's picture

WIND is a loss

WIND does not blow 75% of the time. 20-28% loss in transmission and then the WIND needs the grid to keep those red, flashing, lights on all night.

If it were not for Renewable Portfolios excluding Hydro power over 100 MW then New England could buy from Canada.

You and WIND are making up games.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Bogus BS.........

Notice how all these "windies" always use the statement like, "...clean energy to power 90,000 Maine homes..." ???

Fact: It ain't clean, bub.

Fact: It ain't going to Maine homes.

 's picture

Just keep using...

...all the clean coal Joanne. It's OK. Leave the problem to your grandchildren.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Bob, please consider this......

If hydro were to be classified as "green", Maine would be well above the 20 percent of our power coming from a green source that is mandated by government. Instead, the neo-liberal bright things consider dams to be old-fashioned and they use the excuse that dams hinder fish. Yes, many of them do but there is technology that could make them fish friendly.

One other thing - During the last heatwave not a breeze was stirring. At a time when more power was needed, wind failed miserably to deliver yet the rivers continued to flow.

I don't use coal but I can tell you who does - the backup stations that need to be built to maintain a constant flow of electricity when wind is part of the grid. And these backup stations must be kept in constant ready - sort of like keeping your car running in neutral, wasting energy, during the winter so it can be warm. Wind is very fickle. During a hurricane or heavy windstorm windmills have breaks to shut them down or else the props heat up and buckle. When everyone has their air conditioning on, wind is mearly a trickle, if that.

 's picture

Your dream...


 's picture

First Wind is doing it right

First Wind is doing it right for First Wind and others with their hands out willing to receive taxpayer/ratepayer money derived from an ill-conceived boondoggle of an energy plan. So that a few can prosper, the whole must suffer and National Pride takes a back seat in favor of corruption.

 's picture

that tune is getting really old.

I suppose you rather have the entire mountain covered in solar panels or have a mini reactor built on the town square in Carthage, right. Wait!! I'm sure it would be the reactor because the panels would take up space where trees grow and the reflections off of them might shine in a bird's eye and cause it to fly awkwardly.
Why is it that we're not hearing complaints from Byron and Roxbury? Where is all this horror that you and you ilk predicted would happen?
Shut up already, you're beating a dead horse...

Norman Mitchell's picture

No complaints

from Roxbury and Byron ? where have you been how about this news report ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4o5pNlWwpc and link as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TfAQ-SCdW8 news 13 !

 's picture

The energy that can be

The energy that can be derived from a dead horse out performs your beloved wind mills

 's picture

Me thinks...

...you have difficulty telling a horse from a cow.


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