Save the mountains

Highland Plantation is targeted for a grid-scale, 48-turbine, wind energy development. This proposal, put forth by Highland LLC, is of mammoth proportions and will change the area's way of life. We have quiet, clean water, animals, birds and fish, and I feel that we may lose all of that if the turbine development comes here.

Our ecomony depends on tourists who come to Maine to experience life the way it should be. Our culture depends on the land. The native animals depend on land that is unspoiled by development; and we have a sky free of man-made lights.

That is all going to change unless our voices are heard in Augusta. I am asking for the help of my fellow Mainers.

If I thought these turbines were the answer to our energy problems, I would learn to except them, but after listening and reading up, I'm not convinced that they are. I don't think enough Maine people know the facts, but I hope that, by raising awareness, they soon will.

Much much more needs to be learned about these projects before it is too late for Maine, where life is as it should be.

I beg the public to help the communities surrounding Highland Plantation save their mountains and their way of life.

Paula Huff, Lexington Township

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 's picture

  How many times do we have

 

How many times do we have to repeat that Maine already produces more electricity than we use or will use in any of our lifetimes given growth projections? We do not need wind sites and the build out to capacity of transmission lines based on the few times per year wind turbines might actually crank out their nameplate capacity.  

Building another power plant on the old Maine Yankee site or the Wyman site on Cousin's Island, feeding into existing and underutilized transmission lines, would solve any foreseeable increase in electrical usage in the part of Maine that is actually growing. Based on the Calpine plant in Westbrook that replaced Maine Yankee's output, consider this: That 540 megawatt generating plant was built on less than 100 acres about ten years ago for $300 million. This plant was built totally with investor funds in the real marketplace. Let's say a similar plant these days would be $500 million. That is $930,000 per MW.

The state's goal is 2700 MW of installed capacity of wind by 2020. Using a capacity factor of a generous 25%, that equals 675 MW. Based on the Rollins Project of First Wind proposed for the Lincoln Lakes area, to meet the state's goal would mean 45 Rollins-sized projects. Rollins will cost $120 million. Multiply by 45 and the cost soars to $5.4 Billion for those 670 MW, or $8 million per MW. Now add in the $1.4 Billion dollars for the transmission line expansion. Then consider, based on Rollins, that all the wind turbine sites will blast away over 350 miles of ridgelines and permanently clearcut more than 50,000 acres of carbon sequestering forests.

Now compare these two scenarios. Which one makes the most economic sense? Which will cost taxpayer's money? Which will produce the less expensive electricity? Which will be reliable and predictable?

Industrial wind sites are the most assinine, unnecessary follyI have ever witnessed in my many years. All fed by greed to make money off taxpayer subsidies that we can ill afford given the crisis with the national debt. It is insane and must be stopped.

 's picture

We will save a helluva lot

We will save a helluva lot more oil by weatherizing homes instead of giving millions to the wind companies. This has the added benefit of creating lots of jobs that will result in lots more tax revenue here. Wind is asking for tax incentives, not paying their fair share of the tax burden. They want their cake and eat it too. And they are getting it. 

We have hydro power, tidal potential, pellet technology. But conservation is going to give us the biggest bang for the buck, by far.

Wind really is not reliable enough to warrant the kind of money that we are putting into it right now. Lets put the money where it will do the most good, immediately. You cannot convince me that making construction jobs to destroy Maine mountains is good just because it is creating jobs. We know better than that.

 

 's picture

maineexile "The one source

maineexile "The one source that is fairly reliable is wind power...."

Wind power has been found to not be a reliable source of power. First, the wind speed has to fall within certain parameters, not too low, not too high. Second, because the wind doesn't blow when demand is the highest, we must always have conventional power plants at the ready. In fact, 4000 windmills in California in an area that is touted as having some of the best wind in the country, only produce electricity 1% of the time at peak demand. The output of these industrial turbines in this large "farm" over the course of 9 years averaged less than 20% of installed capacity. Wind proponants always "estimate" that turbines output somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of installed capacity. This is a high estimate.  This is part of their fuzzy math used. But generally, they they are talking to people who don't have much idea about math. However, when you hear numbers that say that an installation will have enough power to provide electricity to 30,000 homes, you would do well to question whether that is based on installed capacity numbers or whether it is based on estimates at the lower more realistic output. At 20%, which is a realistic number, that 30,000 homes becomes enough electricity for 6,000 homes. Now, given that the government just gave $115 million to First Wind, that is the equivilant of paying $19,000 for the electricity to each of those homes. Electricity that they will charge us more for. It doesn't take an economics degree to see that is not the best use of our hard earned tax money. Unless, of course, the government wants to put that money into my home. But they aren't. That money is going to the wind company. We get no benefit. In fact, they are rubbing salt in that wound by adding the billions of dollars (no exaggeration) to our electric bills so that we can also pay for the power lines to carry that electricity. I am shocked that people (yes, republicans too) aren't revolting over this taxpayer theft by our government officials. Hey, wait just a minute. Maybe some of the tea party members would be interested in this tax scam. I don't believe being mad about getting ripped off belongs to either party. None of us like it.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

This is what happens to a

This is what happens to a mountaintop: The whole area has to clearcut.(causing the loss of carbon sink and raising carbon dioxide level)  Access roads have to be built wide enough to support trucks 150 feet long for the blades. The tops of the mountains have to be leveled by blasting and excavation and huge pads have to built with steel and cement for the foundations. (Remember, this is not done by hand-lots of gasoline and deisel, causing CO2s to rise.) The area around each turbine has to be packed hard and roads from one turbine to the next have to be built. In order to insure no vegetation will grow, massive spraying of herbicides is needed. High voltage lines have to be erected to  connect all the towers and connect into the grid.  A sub-station must be built to house all the equipment, etc. And don't forget all the massive transportation for all the parts and equipment, from foreign countries in many cases.

The motors of the turbines need a huge amount of fluids to keep them working. In cold weather, these fluids must be heated with electricity or they turn to gel. And the strobe lights are run from electricity. The fluids often leak and during a power outage, the whole thing shuts down. The wind must be blowing between 25 to 55 miles per hour. 25 to get the rotor blades started and not over 55 or the internal brake system will shut the works down. If these brakes fail, and they can and have, the rotors spin, uncontrolled, and eventually the tower collapses. You can see this happen on U Tube. And while you are at U Tube, check out Nettie Pena's videos, "They're Not Green".

What do you think will happen to our lakes and streams and wells when all this destruction and poison makes it way down the mountainside? The mudslides will kill trout and other fish. The herbicides will poison everything in their path.

Deer and moose are not found anywhere near where these things are built. Migrating ducks, geese and songbirds are being killed and maimed by the tens of thousands by the blades. Other small game like the foxes flee these areas leaving a vast Dead Zone.

Just like the vehicles we drive, these machines eventually wear out. 20 to 25 years if well maintained is the industry average. Even if the areas destroyed by the building of these towers could be cleaned up, where is the money to do this going to come from? Or are they going to continue to rot and rust, leaving a blight our children and grandchildren will not thank us for.

And all this and NOT ONE killowatt of energy will be kept in maine. ALL of this will be exported onto the New England grid. Mainer's electric bills will double or triple to pay for all this. And once the government's subsidies dry up, the limited liability corporations will be long gone, laughing all the way to the bank about the rural hayseeds they suckered.

 

JOANNE MOORE's picture

They would not. The

They would not. The endangered linx is a perfect example.

 

And the bald eagle.  Also, many alpine flora, some of which we do not know about. These alpine flora have been there since the Ice Age receded.

The industrial wind people care only for their profit. Outside of marching en mass to Augusta with torches and pitchforks to get their attention the best we can hope for is that enough people take the time to become well informed, start writing letters to editors and exposing the corrupt and often illegal shenanigans going on. It is illegal to kill a bald eagle. It is illegal to kill songbirds, even, but these bast*rds are getting away with it. They have deep pockets. Poor towns need money. Need I say more?

ERNEST LABBE's picture

There is a simple solution to

There is a simple solution to the energy producing problems. Every one abandon your homes, park your vehicles, quit your jobs, and move into cave. Hey it worked for the cavemen many many years ago. Opps no body likes that solution. Then somewhere in somebody's back yard there has to be some form of energy production. Yes the mountain tops are beautiful Paula and I'm sure wherever you lived before there were none to be seen through all the high rise buildings. However unless you want to move back into a cave unfortunatly there has to be some loss of beautiful views. I have a good sized hill within a thousand feet of my home. i personally feel the sight of wind turbines on the hill would be a beautiful sight knowing not a single bit of the power they were producing was damaging the enviroment in any way.

 's picture

Thanks, Paula. You speak for

Thanks, Paula. You speak for many of us who value wilderness. Many people don't seem to understand that we're not talking small-scale, residential cutesy windmills or even one or two industrial-scale wind projects. We're talking one ridge/mountain after another until you won't be able to look out from a viewpoint without seeing multiple large-scale projects. If these plans continue, Maine's landscape will be scarred forever. I have no question in my mind that this plan is the number one biggest mistake ever made in Maine and if we let it happen, people who live here and vacation here will wake-up and realize what was lost.

If you are a city person or if you stay inside most of the time and you do not consider the woods of Maine to be special, then yeah, I guess I can see how you just wouldn't get it.

 's picture

This project is subject to

This project is subject to LURC decision as Highland Platation is in unorganized territory. A public hearing will be scheduled. Voices from both sides will be heard. News from this hearing will be read by many people still undecided on wind projects. People from everywhere in Maine should use this time approaching this hearing to prepare their arguments and appear before this LURC committee. This could very well be " the monumental event " that determines the future of industrial wind power in Maine. You definitely will receive my help, Paula.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You don't want wind power,

You don't want wind power, you don't want coal; you don't want oil; you don't want natural gas terminals, you don't really want solar;  you don't want nuclear; you don't want dams damming up your rivers. And, you don't want a business climate in Maine that will alter your pristine lifestyle in any way, shape, or form. WTF?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Treehuggers and

Treehuggers and environmentalists are a guarantee that Maine will always remain a desert surrounded by oases. It's exactly what they want and it's what the rest of us get. I've witnessed it since 1973 and it ain't been pretty. Maine Yankee was a good example. They fought against it with great vigor, but it was built in spite of them. It performed flawlessly for 20 years or so without a single negative incident. They couldn't tear it down fast enough when the license ran out. What was the first result of that dismantling? Actually, there were two: 1) The Town of Wiscasset got a real dose of reality from a tax standpoint. 2) Electricity rates went up substantially. Oh, no...Can't have nuculah powah; no suh; not heyah in Maine. What a crock.

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