Wind power: $1 billion and growing

In Washington and Augusta there’s been much debate about energy and energy policy in recent days.

Gov. Paul LePage and President Barack Obama — on the very same night — made energy production a significant component of speeches addressing the State of the State and the State of the Union, respectively.

Not surprisingly, the president, a Democrat, and the governor, a Republican, were not exactly on the same page.

But, if you listen closely to what both men said you will hear some common themes, ideas and strategies.

“My energy policy will focus on all forms of energy and give Mainers the freedom to choose whether or not they buy from renewable sources,” LePage said.

That line fetched lengthy and loud applause from the Legislature.

Fetching equally lengthy and loud applause from Congress, the president said:

“This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”

For Obama, that means opening up more offshore oil reserves for drilling and continuing or extending federal tax credits aimed at propelling the development of America’s renewable energy infrastructure.

So far, that strategy is producing not only energy, but jobs at the national and state levels.

In Maine, the wind power industry has invested $1 billion in recent years. No other industry in the state can claim a similar level of investment or job creation.

Much maligned by critics who claim industrial turbines will destroy our environment and our health, the state’s aggressive renewable energy policy — launched by LePage’s predecessor — is indeed putting Mainers to work, adding to state and local tax bases and positioning the state to be ahead of the energy curve.

A December 2011 PanAtlantic poll commissioned by DownEast Magazine and the Bangor Daily News showed 86 percent of respondents favored, either strongly or somewhat strongly, having wind turbines in Maine.

A mere 6 percent said they were strongly opposed to wind turbines. Those are telling numbers.

Most recently, a study released by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection showed very little scientific or medical evidence exists to sustain the claims being made by that very vocal minority.

We understand the concern that wind turbines not be spread willy-nilly across every ridgetop in Maine, but that isn’t occurring. The amount of land being developed for wind energy in Maine amounts to a very small percentage of the available open space in the state.

All of the land in Maine at an elevation higher than 1,000 feet above sea level — the places most likely to have the wind needed for an inland wind turbine farm — amounts to about 6.5 million acres, according to a study conducted by Maine-based general contractor and wind farm developer Reed & Reed.

So far, only a small fraction of that — about 400 acres — has wind turbines on it.

“So when people tell you we are ripping the tops off mountains, you need to keep that in perspective,” Reed & Reed CEO Jackson Parker recently told the Sun Journal editorial board. “And what it amounts to is like a very small desk being placed on a football field.”

Like other technologies, wind generators continue to evolve and are becoming more efficient and more capable of producing more energy at ever-decreasing wind speeds.

The same geographical footprint, Parker noted, will produce more power in the future than it does today and at a lower costs, largely because most of the support infrastructure — such as roads and transmission lines — that add to a project’s start-up costs will already be in place.

Focused on accelerating the development of renewable energy sources by reducing, where appropriate, a burdensome and bureaucratic regulatory process, Maine has vaulted to the top of the renewable energy production heap in New England.

With 396 megawatts of installed capacity, we now make more power from the free fuel of the wind than any other state in the region. That’s less than 20 percent of the state’s goal of 2,000 megawatts by 2020. If we get to that goal, it means that, in total, more than $7 billion will be invested in Maine.

More hydro, biomass, natural gas, solar, geothermal and tidal power should also have places in Maine’s energy future.

Maine people and even the wind developers themselves know that wind isn’t the panacea for state, national or global energy needs.

But wind, as much as natural gas and hydro, should be part of a multi-source portfolio that makes up the president’s “all-of-the-above” strategy.

It should also receive stronger support from the governor who has promised now to focus on “all forms of energy.”

sthistle@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Steve  Dosh's picture

Wind power: $1 billion and growing

Nice ? Monday 21:40 HST •
T. Boone Pickens has to put his money somewhere . Wind power doesn't pollute the air like the coal fired power plants in the midwest and communist China . Wind blows at night when the sun is down . ME has a long history of wind power ( and acid rain ) already http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Maine " In Maine, the wind power industry has invested $1 billion in recent years. No other industry in the state can claim a similar level of investment or job creation. " What do your Hon. U .S . Senators think about all this ? They sure have missed the boat on B I W contracts . Personally i favor hydropower ( the St. Johns River ) , your Bay of Fundy tides , and geothermal ( IMBY Puna geothermal ) but i am in Hawai'i where we still use mostly Alaskan oil , unfortunately
h t h , Steve
Subscribe to the WSJ ® and support the LSJ ® ( they advertise it )
https://www.wallstreetjournal.com/Gryphon/jsp/retentionController.jsp?pa...

The Clean Energy Act

The “Clean Energy” bill will not be on the November ballot in Maine in 2012 because the required number of signatures could not be mustered. I believe this happened because most Mainer’s have come to realize that this would not have been a “clean energy” bill at all. Maybe it should have been called the “Wind Industry Initiative” referendum. However that may be, it is clear that the “clean energy bill” is a complete and misleading misnomer.
Industrial wind turbines do not provide clean energy by virtue of their pollution. CO2 is being sequestered all the time. It happens wherever water, CO2 and sunshine work together in vegetation through a process called photosynthesis. This process produces the Oxygen we and all other animals need to breathe and live. An industrial wind turbine cannot do this. When wind industry front agents say this they say they mean that wind turbines do not produce CO2 and the energy they produce offsets the CO2 that would be produced by fossil fueled electricity generation. They CAN NOT sequester 1 molecule of CO2 and produce Oxygen as could as the acres of trees clear cut to make space for an industrial wind turbine. (Much more to that story.)
Industrial wind turbines DO NOT provide clean energy. They provide a trickle of unsteady vascillating current on expensive power lines which charge their toll in electrons every foot their way out of the state of Maine. The workings of a turbine is a matter of using the wind to move propeller like blades which turns the shaft of a generator to produce electricity. The only problem is that this process is grossly inefficient. So, engineers worked to develop more efficient generators.  This meant reducing the friction in the system and using very powerful magnets to set up a magnetic field in the stator (stabile, nonrotating) field through which the rotor (rotating coil of wire) could move cutting the lines of magnetic force of the stator to create electric current.
Researchers discovered that they could make alloys of metals that had incredible magnetic properties. Permanent magnet stators made using alloys containing the rare Earth called Molybdenum provided about the most highly effective generators. These magnets are so strong that discs of the alloys brought together to repel each other required much force and when mounted on a rotor in a generator provided a nearly frictionless system for turning a rotor in a stator. But, how do we come by the much prized rare earth element?
This material is not actually rare. It was only called that because of the historical circumstances that occurred as it was discovered and located in the periodic table. In fact, China is currently the largest supplier of the material and almost all countries are exploring its mining. The problem is that strip mining for this ore is difficult and the pits it is mined from become contaminated with highly toxic materials. Strip mining this needed special ore that leaves a lake of poisonous chemicals, requires the use of large amounts of diesel fuel which, as it is burned, releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Now the needed ores must be processed and refined to be used in the manufacture of an industrial wind turbine. These processes all require burning fossil fuels and burning large amounts of fossil fuels are burned all through the manufacture of these machines. This releases more CO2 into the atmosphere. Once manufactured, the turbines must be loaded onto ocean vessels and be transported by ocean to wherever they are intended to be installed.  These vessels are powered by many tons of fossil fuels and release megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Once they arrive at their destination, the turbines must be offloaded to heavy duty vehicles which must transport them to their installation site. More diesel fuels pump more CO2 into the atmosphere. These vehicles require very special roads for the delivery operation. The roads must be wide enough to make the turns. The roads must be deeply packed and packed hard. They won’t just ride along on a logging road. Diesel powered equipment must be used to prepare the installment roads and final site and that means creating wide hard-packed barriers to small wildlife, compartmentalizing off species which need to meet. This is just one of the Hellacious assaults on wildlife habitats performed by industrial wind turbines.
Next they must be installed. This is no little feat. The columns to hold the turbine can be 400 to 500 feet tall or more. The casing and the turbine is many tons and each fiberglass blade on the windmill may weigh over 7 tons. And the machines huff out even more CO2. So much fossil fuel must be burned in this process that, before they ever start turning, each industrial wind turbine is responsible for releasing megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Once tested and fully installed the turbine needs close maintenance including lubrication with lots and lots of, you know what, oil! And if they don’t have the required lubrication they can, will, and have burst into flame and throw burning materials out into the forests around. Fire fighters are powerless to put them out and must tend to fires that reach the ground. Of course this if difficult if they are sited on remote forested mountaintops and ridges in the wilderness of Maine. Just what is a remote fire warden in Eustis to do?
Industrial wind turbines provide anything but clean energy and the only renewable part of Industrial wind turbine electricity is the expensive tax and electricity rates needed to artificially prop-up (subsidize) the wind-power industry. 

Jason Theriault's picture

NIMBY

Any of the arguments here not really center around NIMBY? I mean, we all know why you're against the turbines.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .. .Thanks , Stig ,

. .. .Thanks , Stig , 12.02.06 21:45 hst •
Guess what we'll be watching on TV ? Uh huh -->
http://cleantechnica.com/2012/02/05/turbine-cowboys-give-wind-power-its-...
Rural nostalgia for a time that never was is so boring at times , isn't it , Jason ?
Alo'ha , /s Steve , who , ( parenthetically ), owns 36 coconut trees , a mango tree , breadfruit and beetlenut trees , grows his own sweet potatos and taro , cinnamon ( it's the bark of a tree ) , mountain apples ( tropical ) , papayas and pineapples and a New Hampshire red chicken that gives me a fresh brown egg every day and a geothermal power plant in my back yard
No ME potatos or sour grapes though ( not pointed at you :)

Alice Barnett's picture

windfall movie

Thanks for link to future tv. Now, Windfall Movie is playing across Maine this month.
Sunday March 4, 2012 1-5pm Dixfield High School free and good food too.

Jon Cantin's picture

“So when people tell you we

“So when people tell you we are ripping the tops off mountains, you need to keep that in perspective,” Reed & Reed CEO Jackson Parker recently told the Sun Journal editorial board. “And what it amounts to is like a very small desk being placed on a football field.”

"So far, only a small fraction of that — about 400 acres — has wind turbines on it."

How about the surounding thousands of acres that have to look at these "400" acres? It's huge impact.

Brad Blake's picture

Completely Wrong!!!!!!

LSJ, haven't you listened at all to the people in your readership area? Haven't you done ANY RESEARCH WHATSOEVER about the wind power scam??? I demand, as a leader of the citizen's group to save our mountains from the destruction of industrial wind sprawl that you invite myself, the leaders of the Citizen's Task Force on Wind Power and Friends of Maine's Mountains to meet with your editorial staff. WE CITIZENS deserve to be listened to MORE than Jackson Parker, who is making a fortune off this folly. I can prove this man is a liar and a thief. Call me at 773-4252 or email me at bblake02@maine.rr.com to arrange this meeting within ten business days!!!

Furthermore, look at the opinion poll question posed in the Pan Atlantic poll: "The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission is considering several multi-million dollar proposals for wind development projects in the Unorganized Territories of Maine. Supporters say that wind development is good for Maine because it promotes renewable energy. Opponents say that the wind development projects will be bad for Maine because they may negatively impact Maine’s landscape. Do you favor or oppose the development of wind power
projects in Maine? Is that strongly or somewhat favor/oppose?"
There is no context in which this question was posed nor any reference to the sample size, the targeted demographics or any disclosure as to who paid for this poll. It is obvious to me that it is a "push poll" type of question that is designed to elicit a favorable response for the people or entity that paid for it. How dare you incorporate this into an editorial piece?

I am disgusted that after everything that has occurred in your readership area that you would be unabashedly promoting useless and environmentally devastating industrial wind sprawl instead of calling for a halt to this farce.

Bob Woodbury's picture

You are given the facts above.

You just didn't like 'em.

Jason Theriault's picture

I CAN USE CAPS TOO!

You remind me of Jenny McCarthy's group - light on solid facts, heavy on caps lock.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

I'm just curious

I'm just curious how come there isn't such a turmoil when developers cut away the sides of mountains clearing ski trails. Then waste tons of energy making snow. Just wondering thats all.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Ernest, more to be curious about.

How about a cell phone tower on every hill higher then a gopher mound?

Frank Heller's picture

Sunday River & 14 miles of development....consequences

I had a micro hydro site assessment in the area two years ago, and drove up the river valley to the last set of lifts.

There was one mountain side with over a 100 large lots carved out; for sale signs everywhere, and raw roads and house sites. At the base was a partially finished 'show' house....and a Kubota backhoe just parked there.

I went back a year later and it was still parked there, surrounded by weeds....an icon to the devastating impact the mortgage market collapse had on vacation and second homes.

Flash forward to Hurricane Irene and the wash outs of RT. 27 from runoff from the now mostly cleared valley and the 18 hole golf course. This is what happens when you not only have a mountain resurfaced for sking, AND a lot of development in the vicinity, especially the kind of Mac Mansion's going up the mountain slopes, each one bigger and more lavish than the other; and all connected by access roads impervious to runoff.

Most of the wind farms I've seen in Western Maine will have the same impact...long winding access 10% grade roads; 4 acre footprints; and development potential at the base of the mountains for yet more secondary houses and stores and then there are the clear cuts for the transmission lines. More forest lost = less CO2 uptake and storage of carbon. I may be the only voice pleading for replacing the lost biomass with comparable reforestation and wondering how the NRCM and other establishment environmentalists can whine about global warming and shut their eyes to the loss of habitat which mitigates the impact of CO2 on AGW.

A strange paradox that only makes sense when you see the contributions of the wind industry to their organizations.....follow the money, find the truth!

BROOKS MORTON's picture

apples and oranges

As a resident of Newry. I do not think you realize the economic engine Sunday River Skiway is to this area. Look at the tax base alone. compare that to some of these towns that have Wind as a Tax Base. Check the Facts!

Brad Blake's picture

Here's why

Firstly, there are only a few mountains in Maine that have the right terrain facing north that would be usable for alpine ski resorts. The best potential ski mountain in the eastern USA, Bigelow Mt., was proposed for the "Aspen of the East" development and was saved as a preserve in 1976 by the people of Maine voting for the preserve. Now, just 45 years later, we are about to encircle that preserve with useless, environmentally destructive industrial wind sites. If that indeed happens, we would have been far better off economically to go with the "Aspen of the East", a ski resort of world caliber. I would take that over wind turbines any day.
Secondly, just look at Sunday River: 746 acres of ski terrain. Every wind project: Spruce Mt. in Woodstock, Record Hill in Roxbury, Rollins in Lincoln Lakes, Kibby near the Canadian border, Stetson Mt. in northeastern Maine, and Mars Hill has had more clear-cut acreage than Sunday River. Sunday River has 14 chairlifts; the highest point above the ground is about 60 feet. I know Sunday River like the palm of my hand and I know the Rollins Wind Project the same way. You take the entire number of ski towers at Sunday River and aggregate them and they will equal about 3 of the 40 wind towers at Rollins. There is simply NO comparison. Besides, Sunday River employs directly more than 300 people and indirectly more than 1,000 jobs in western Maine. Rollins employs 4 maintenance technicians.

Alice Barnett's picture

jobs

why?

Frank Heller's picture

A billion dollars and costing rate payers more and more

The cost to put in Wind farms is growing larger and larger; the infrastructure and backup generators even more...and it all means that you will pay more and more and more for electricity.

The more they need maintenance and replacement the more 'green' jobs that will be created and your electric bills will go higher and higher.

Wouldn't you rather have a HYDRO-electric bill for 6 cents/Kwh that won't change for another 20 years; and won't be obsolete in 15?

We wouldn't need to dam up any more rivers or install any more generating capacity in Maine, but could purchase the power from Quebec and New Brunswick; or we could develop our own from rivers, lakes and tidal currents.

The CHOICE is yours with hydro.

Jason Theriault's picture

Had this argument with you before

Good morning Frank,
(Trying to be cordial, cause last night was rough on everyone)

The reason I support wind power is that it is an emerging technology. While there are deficiencies now, I believe that wind power can be an efficient supplement to other power generation(Such as NG), but that the only way we are going to get to that point is to subsidize the technology and building efficiencies of scale to drive costs down.

A good example is cars. The first "Horseless Carriages" were far less efficient than horses. But they were perfected, and efficiencies of scale started to make them most cost effective. Once Ford started assembling them en mass, the day of the horse was over. The same will hold true for wind power.

Frank Heller's picture

The technology evolution of wind turbines has gone as far as it

Both SKYSTREAM and their Chinese rivals, HYENERGY, have tweaked wind turbine technology about as far as it is reasonable to expect...The HYENERGY Windmax HY1000-5 1000 Watt 5 bladed wind turbine could well be the most efficient and reliable one on the market and only costs $999; less tower, transmission lines, maintenance and inverter.

Perhaps you have one or another make? Post a picture of your wind turbine, its cost, performance curve, make, model and output over time....which reminds me you can improve the technology all you want, but you can't overcome the irregularities in the wind or improper siting as UMPI found out the hard way with their dismal 10.6% of capacity output and long down time for repairs.

Jason Theriault's picture

Effeciencies of scale

First off, I'm pretty sure we're not talking about private home energy generation, so your example really doesn't fit.

Also, the efficiencies I'm talking about are economic in nature. The more turbines we make, the cheaper they can be because the fixed costs in production will be more spread out. Just like the example with Ford, once they got an assembly line churning, the price of cars dropped.

And your right, you can't rely on wind. Wind is a bonus. It's use would be lighten our usage of sources like NG.

Frank Heller's picture

Not really, when you think about it.

Blades can't be easily transported any more; nor can towers so economies of scale are site specific. Europe has learned the hard way that turbines are expensive to maintain over time, so they are removing and concentrating them for easier maintenance. There are now fewer Wind turbines in Europe, not more.

New technology is perfected at the residential level.

So you don't have any direct experience with wind turbines, but just like to argue and post comments?

Jason Theriault's picture

I also like to watch tv.

They may not be easily transported, but they are transported. They do make them in a central location and then ship them via rails and road to the location. So economies of scale do apply are are not site specific.

And most tech starts at the industrial level, and as it is perfected, it can be miniaturized and made simple enough for residential use. I know you install home hydro generation. Was that pioneered at the residential level? Nope. Computers? Nope. Internal combustion? Nope.

And just because your certified to install wind turbines for home use doesn't mean your an expert on industrial wind generation or the economics off it. I can fly model airplanes, doesn't mean I'm a pilot.

Frank Heller's picture

HUH?

Most tech starts in a university or corporate lab. My dad built masers(they came after the laser) and other devices for BELL LABS for over 25 years.

DITTO FOR HYDRO,which evolved from small devices to larger ones.

Don't pretend to know anything about the history or evolution of hydro, when you don't have a clue!

Your knowledge of industrial wind is equally lacking...you don't even OWN a wind turbine, nor installed, nor service, nor monitored or logged one....yet you comment on that of which you are ignorant. I bet you can't even fly model airplanes...post a photo and prove me wrong.

Otherwise, this discussion is closed. Enjoy your hangover.

Jason Theriault's picture

Oh trust me, I am enjoying my hangover.

I don’t have a picture of me flying a model plane. I also don’t have picture of me eating, sleeping or pooping.

Yet, I do all them. Believe what you want.

Here is the fact of the matter - +80% of Mainers think this is a good idea. The projects have money behind them that you wont match. So your only hope is to convice people like me that your right. Calling them liars and telling them they don’t know what they are talking about isn’t going to win you votes.

Your right, I have never monitored or done squat with wind turbines. But I know enough to go to source not biased like the Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power. I go to sources like the Department of Energy. Which says by 2016, wind costs per kilowatt should be on par with coal. And that’s without tax credits. Now I know it breaks up your pretty landscape, but that’s life. Buy the land if you don’t want a wind turbine.

Now what I do have a Masters in Business, which I wouldn’t need to know that the more you make of something, the cheaper it gets to make them. This has zero to do with how they work, and 100% to do with how producing ANYTHING works.

Jason Theriault's picture

BTW

BTW – Sorry if that came off as really hostile, but I don’t appreciate being called a liar. And the condescending manner you're throwing around your credentials makes me snarky.

Alice Barnett's picture

1000 mw hydro

1000 mw hydro = 4000 450' towers as fars the eye can see.........noooooo

1000 mw hydro = 4000 450' towers as fars the eye can see

Your math is a little bit off. With towers of that size, the output of these turbines range from 1.5 to 3MW at this time with 5 and 7MW turbines in development.

Alice Barnett's picture

a bit off

towers get bigger and louder and yet the DEP does not change their codes ....
so we look at 2000 bigger turbines. If you climb tumbledown you see red flashing lights.
If you look around and imagine turbines every where you look.

GRID scale WIND costs my children's tax dollar. WIND is not investing in Maine.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

You were making

You were making sense until you said we could buy the power from Quebec and New Brunswick. We had hydro plants and closed them. Sorry you sound like another NIMBY.

Frank Heller's picture

They are neighbors and it's a global economy

We live in a global economy, and it is possible to transcend national boundaries to redistribute energy from points of origin to points of use. So when you have a 'neighbor' who is approaching the generation of terrawatts of electricity and has made it a national priority to make it available to the N.E. U.S. at 6 cents/KWH for a period of 20 years(the deal Vermont just got), then that's the kind of common sense that Maine needs.

One only has to go across the border to see that Quebec has a booming energy-based economy. It might be someone else's 'back yard' but it can also be Maines.

Maine can also harness the enormous energy in ocean currents and especially tides. Becoming more energy independent gives us bargaining leverage with Quebec Hydro and others.

Absolutely, no need to invest in expensive, intermittent wind farms, especially those subsidies can keep our elderly and others warm and healthy.

Brad Blake's picture

Economics

Look, this really boils down to economics. Wind power would not exist without heavy subsidies, tax breaks, mandates, and Enron-inspired RECs. I say we drop every type of subsidy, etc., and let the market determine the sources of electricity; after all, that's what Gov. turned wind power developer Angus King thyrust upon us. In that case, 6 cent per kwh Canadian hydro is a bargain and you folks who love wind so damned much can pay quadruple that amount---that is, if there are any wind turbines put up to produce this costly, unreliable, unpredictable, and ineffective source of power.

Alan Michka's picture

Lack of studies proves nothing

Sun Journal: "Most recently, a study released by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection showed very little scientific or medical evidence exists to sustain the claims being made by that very vocal minority."

Personally, I would find it hard to be so dismissive of the many people around the world who have described the same noise problems associated with living in proximity to grid-scale wind turbines. It just seems a little callous.

Anyone who reads the Massachusetts report and has the slightest understanding of scientific method will see immediately that the report proves nothing - and didn't even try to prove anything. It wasn't even a study really, just another literature review. Of course little scientific or medical evidence exists. That's because no one has conducted the types of studies required to provide that type of evidence. It's expensive and time consuming.

It's notable that the SJ didn't mention a report from the Oregon Office of Environmental Public Health that came out a couple of weeks before the Mass. report. That report stated:

"1. Sound from wind energy facilities in Oregon could potentially impact people’s health and well-being if it increases background sound levels by more than 10 dBA, or results in long-term outdoor community sound levels above 35-40 dBA. The potential impacts from wind turbine sound could range from moderate disturbance to serious annoyance, sleep disturbance and decreased quality of life.
?
2. Chronic stress and sleep disturbance could increase risks for cardiovascular disease, decreased immune function, endocrine disorders, mental illness, and other effects. Many of the possible long-term health effects may result from or be exacerbated by sleep disturbance from night- time wind turbine sound.”

Those promoting wind development don't generally publicize these types of reports.

Frank Heller's picture

Maine's is a refuge for musicians, writers, and artists

I don't have the hearing sensitivity of a musician; but there are hundreds of them who come to Maine because of the quiet.

I don't have the artistic ability of the painters and photographers who come to Maine to savor its natural beauty.

I don't have the writing ability of those who come to work on works of literature in Maine's wild areas.

Colorado, Vermont, and other similar 'refuges' are realizing that large throbbing wind turbines are incompatible with the sensitivities of various artists.

Do we really want to drive them away?

Bob Woodbury's picture

Would all these people...

...voluntarily choose to live in the wilderness next to these installations?

Alice Barnett's picture

no capacity

i came here 20 years ago

Bob Woodbury's picture

And you chose...

...to live at the base of a mountain in the wilderness.

Alan Michka's picture

Where's Mr. Parker's signature?

Wouldn't it have been a little more revealing if Mr. Parker had just signed this piece himself. There is so much soft information here that it really is more characteristic of a wind advocacy piece one might expect from an industry rep.

I recognize the $7 billion figure from a presentation Mr. Reed made about a year ago. In that presentation, he did at least reveal that up to 60% of that figure would be spent outside of Maine. The Sun Journal Editorial Board didn't reveal this fact. Of that remaining portion spent in Maine, the lion's share is construction expense - which is where, of course, Mr. Parker's interest comes in.

Most wind development operators will get about half of the property tax they pay returned to them through TIF agreements. And of course new permanent jobs are negligible in numbers.

The economic benefits of wind development are routinely overstated, and this editorial only perpetuates that trend by simply restating industry promotional data.

Alan Woods's picture

You're right about the few permanent jobs created

In First Wind's testimony (under oath) at LURC's deliberations for the Bull Hill project, they admitted that when you strip away the temporary construction jobs, the turbine manufacturer's employees and take into account First Wind's job sharing between projects, the Bull Hill project wil create exactly TWO permanent Operations and Maintenance jobs! ONLY TWO JOBS!

Gary Steinberg's picture

Wind , a Foul Wind indeed....

Can an ethical Maine State Government dare do ANY business with this scoundrel of a wind company?

(from testimony DOC.# 2011-170 ,Jan 25, 2012, PUC Emera/Algonquin/First Wind reorganization hearing)

direct recorded testimony:

ERIC BRYANT, Office of the Public Advocate:

"...The rules broken by Petitioners and their counterparties to the pending transactions are not about missing a deadline or failing to three-hole punch data responses. They're rules of substance, integrity, and ethics."

Tony Buxton for Industrial Energy Consumer Group:

"...It makes this kind of proceeding into something other than a legal proceeding. And that's wrong. We realize there's a lot
at stake for some people here, but we have a process for that to come forward and people are bound by what they say and what they do. And we are not only disappointed, we are shocked that this kind of thing could happen at this Commission. And we think the only remedy because of the taint in the Petitioners' filing of incorporating comments that the Petitioner knew were not proper and those having gone to the Commission already, the only remedy is to require those to be rejected and to dismiss this case. If the parties want to go out and put together another deal and come back with another deal, that's their privilege. But to reward them by changing this proceeding to somehow accommodate what they have done here is exactly the wrong thing to do. Thank you.”

ALAN STONE, Skelton, Taintor & Abbott

MR. STONE: "I've been practicing law before this Public Utilities Commission for 37 years, and it's one of the most favorite things I've ever done in my life until this week. I have never seen an abuse of process like has occurred in this case in my history of practice before this Commission, perhaps with the exception of a person who was convicted of a crime.

Administrative agencies, according to the United States Supreme Court, are based on concepts of fair play. We come to this agency with a trust that this Commission and the staff are going to require the parties to play by the rules and play on a level playing field and not proceed in a case in a manner that all they seek to do is win at all costs regardless of what they do. It is so clear what has happened here, as aptly summarized by Eric, by Charlie, and by Tony. It literally makes me sick.

There is no way that we can proceed in this case. The record is tainted. We can't just simply re-open the record to allow them to change the deal when they want to change the deal because they're losing. I mean, to reward, as Tony said, the Petitioners and First Wind and APUC would be terrible, in a word. It would undermine the confidence in this agency, and what this Commission is trying to prevent with regard to this deal is undermine the confidence in the market. You don't
undermine the confidence in the agency.

This is only one group of people's fault. It was a deliberate action. If this were a court of law, this case would be dismissed in a moment. You can't get to a jury five minutes before and say, oops, I screwed up, I should have put more evidence in and then inflict some conduct that causes a mistrial and expect to start all over again. No court would allow that. They would dismiss it with prejudice, and that would be the end of it. And they would impose sanctions and serious ones.

...So the way forward is to simply say no, this deal we've been looking at, this transaction, is only an economic deal to benefit First Wind and Emera. It's not a reliability issue. The question is harm. Well, we know how harmed we're going to be now. If you can't trust these people to comply with the fundamental rules of this Commission, how can you trust them to do anything in the ratepayers' interest? They've proven this point. Mr. Harwood can have all his responses to everything that we've said, but I think the truth will shine through clearly and does. So I join on behalf of Houlton Water Company with the motions that have been made to dismiss this proceeding with prejudice and, in addition, so the record is clear, to strike Petitioners' comments and exceptions in their entirety. If the -- when I say dismiss with prejudice, if there's some other deal that comes together later on that is significantly different from this deal and that is not just a re-packaging to get around a denial, then maybe this Commission might look at it, maybe they won't. But that's for a future date. Right now the remedy is to dismiss it with prejudice.

Thank you.”

This company, First Wind, should be banned , as suggested here, from any dealings in this state.

Individuals directly connected witr this companies business modus operandi and planning in this state, should be closely scrutinized, and and punished as well in accordance to the law.

Alan Woods's picture

WHO ARE YOU RELYING ON FOR YOUR WIND INFO?

Reed & Reed CEO Jackson Parker. Let's see...

Is he the same Jackson Parker who appeared on MPBN's
Jan 29th Maine Watch but didn't identify himself as the largest
wind contractor in Maine?
THAT Jackson Parker?

Is he the same Jackson Parker whose son writes pro-wind
letters to the editor without disclosing that he is the son of the
largest wind contractor in Maine?
THAT Jackson Parker?

Is he the same Jackson Parker who was on MPBN's
Maine Watch (Jan 29) talking about the renewable energy
mandate but did not disclose that he is the largest source
of funding to MCCE, the mandate's sponsor?
THAT Jackson Parker?

Is he the Jackson Parker who, on MPBN's Maine Watch
(Jan 29) stated that the referendum was a
done deal, claiming "we actually have 70,000
signatures already", well over the required 57,000 signatures.
THAT Jackson Parker?

Is he the same Jackson Parker who must have been
embarassed when on the next day David Farmer,
spokesman for MCCE had to admit that they did not
even have the 57,000 signatures required to get the
referendum on the ballot?
THAT Jackson Parker?

Okay, it's THATJackson Parker. I wanted to be sure because his relationship with the facts appears to be a very distant one indeed.

Mr. Jackson Parker wants us to think that the only impact wind projects have is the concrete foundation pad on which each turbine sits.

Mr. Jackson Parker wants to convince Mainers that industrial wind projects are “...like a very small desk being placed on a football field.” He's dead wrong! He's ignoring the impact of deforestation, roads, transmission lines, impact to water aquifers, wildlife and wetlands. Then there's the unreasonable SCENIC IMPACT these projects have. Being on top of mountains, this impact is felt for many miles around.

Mr. Jackson Parker wants us to forget that Maine's #1 industry is tourism. When you know the facts, you'll see that building industrial wind projects in Maine is not like placing a small desk on a footbal field. It is like cutting small holes in a Rembrandt painting.

Karen  Pease's picture

SJ--Misinformed or misleading?

Newspaper editors have a lot of power. Readers very often back an editor’s opinion, believing that an editorial board knows the issues inside and out, so they MUST have their facts straight.

As we’ve seen over and over again on the topic of ‘wind’, this simply is not true. The SJ certainly SHOULD be able to separate the wheat from the chaff and they should give this issue the importance it deserves.

One example of a misleading statement in this op-ed: “In Maine, the wind power industry has invested $1 billion in recent years.”

Once the wind industry got caught out making that statement, even wind developer Angus King changed his story. The fact is that the wind power industry has SPENT $1billion. The fact is that a large percentage of that billion has gone overseas to countries like China, Denmark, Germany and Brazil, where the turbines’ parts and piece are manufactured. Add to that, the fact that—due to tax-payer subsidies like cash grants, Production Tax Credits, DOE loan guarantees, TIFs, accelerated depreciation, etc.—much of that ‘investment’ came from our pockets and our children’s pockets...and that “$1 billion investment” begins to be seen in a different light.

I don’t know what is worse; to believe that the SJ editors haven’t ever done any research or given this topic the serious attention to detail it warrants, or to think they are attempting to mislead readers and sway opinion by using the power of the press.

Penny Gray's picture

Isn't Reed and Reed making a

Isn't Reed and Reed making a small fortune constructing these wind installations? Jobs jobs jobs for them but nothing for the locals. The businesses that support the wind industry are making a profit from it. Of course they're going to trumpet high praises. By the way, tourism in Maine generates ten billion dollars a year and produces 170,000 full time jobs. The wind industry can't hold a flickering candle to that. All they have the power to do is jeopardize Maine's most powerful economic engine by industrializing the scenic viewsheds people come from all over the world to see. Meanwhile, the rest of us rate payers will pay through the nose for the multi billion dollar transmission line upgrades. Wind might be free but the infrastructure to harness the energy is both fiscally and environmentally unsound. Interesting that FINALLY the CO2/global warming argument has faded from the picture. The Bentek study debunked the myth that industrial wind reduces CO2. Spain just pulled all its subsidies from renewables because they were bankrupting the country, raising electricity rates and driving out jobs. The same thing will happen here. No proof has ever been provided that shows industrial wind power to lower electricity rates, lower property taxes, or even produce more energy than it draws off the grid. The wind blows sporadically here. Inland Maine does not have good wind resources. When the wind doesn't blow, NO ENERGY IS PRODUCED, yet the three blades on each turbine, which weigh seven tons each, are kept turning slowly by the motor inside the nacelle. The lights flash 24/7. Some turbines have heaters to keep the hydraulic oil warm. How much of a parasitic draw does this put on our grid? Industrial wind will never make up any of our base load power. The sacrifices we're making aren't worth what we're getting. As for those studies that show most Mainers support IWP, interesting that eight of the last eight towns voted in strict wind ordinances. That "vocal minority" that you scorn, Sun journal, are the residents of these small towns who realize that they will have to live underneath these forty story tall monsters if they don't protect themselves. Reed and Reed is a great construction firm. Let's put them to work fixing our roads and bridges. Keep them off our mountain tops. We need to focus on real energy solutions if we're talking about heating our homes and powering our vehicles. Thorium Flouride reactors would be my choice.

GARY SAVARD's picture

I guess I must know all the

I guess I must know all the people that comprise the 6% that are strongly opposed. Wind power, from what I have read, based on data from various operating facilities in other states is very erratic. The "investment" of billions will end up making a few individuals a lot of money and will end up costing ratepayers in spades for years to come. Before we plant these jewels all over the state, we should at least wait long enough to measure their economic viability by studying those already built for a bit. Personally, I think the race is on to get as many projects completed before people wake up to find out they have been greased. Hydro makes so much more sense. Power is produced 24/7 365 days a year, and it's as "green" as wind.

Brad Blake's picture

The Race is On, Indeed

Gary, the race is on to get as many of these sprawling, useless, environmentally devastating windsprawl projects going as possible while the ARRA money for 30% of the project cost paid for by you, me, and the other debt-ridden ($15 trillion and climbing!) taxpayers is still available. The wind industry states, as it pleads its case to Congress, that the industry won't survive if the Production Tax credit is eliminated. Well, it should be! Would you ever pay for an appliance that worked only 25% of the time? Would you ever pay for an appliance that wouldn't work when you really needed it or started to work then stopped or phased in and out sporadically? Would you pay for an appliance that not only would never pay for itself in its useful life cycle but also would require you to pay for an additional appliance to be running constantly as a back up? Well, that is exactly what we are doing with the asinine policy of the USA wasting money on wind turbines!

Alice Barnett's picture

1000 MW

1 1000 MW hydro replaces 4000 450' GRIS scale WIND turbines across Maine's ridges.
four thousand, four thousand, four thousand, as fa as the eye can see.

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