Wind power critics upset by scale of newly proposed Maine projects

Maine figured prominently this week in a multibillion dollar competition to provide power to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with companies submitting bids to build giant wind farms in Aroostook County and the western mountains. Together the projects would more than triple the state turbine capacity, but the power would not be sold in Maine.

O said southern New England states were shuttering nuclear, oil and coal plants in their quest for cleaner power, but not taking responsibility for replacing the lost generation.

been trying to get the public prepared for this and not think that all of these projects will be developed, said Patrick Woodcock, Gov.wholesale nfl jerseys Paul LePage energy director. fact, under the request for proposals, it not even possible for all of them to be chosen. LIST INCLUDES POWER LINES

Woodcock was reacting to the release Monday of the names of 51 separate projects throughout the region from 23 different development groups that responded to a joint request from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The three states last year asked for proposals for clean energy generation that would contribute roughly 600 megawatts of new capacity to southern New England. That nearly the output of the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which serves a half million homes and is set to close in 2019. The states are trying to diversify their energy supply, cut emissions associated with climate change and lower energy costs for residents.

The project list includes a wide range of wind, hydroelectric and solar projects in New England and Canada, as well as transmission lines to link them to the regional grid.

Proposals in Maine include bids to unlock a large reserve of wind power potential in Aroostook County, which lacks a transmission connection to the rest of New England. One plan from SunEdison is a massive, 600 megawatt wind farm called King Pine. Another involves two projects from EDP Renewables, Number Nine Wind Farm and Horse Mountain, that together would add up to 650 megawatts.

These projects could get to market via a new transmission line that would jointly be built by Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, called the Maine Renewable Energy Interconnect. It would require 150 miles of new wires and new substations.

In the western mountains, NextEra Energy is proposing two wind farms near Eustis that total 461 megawatts. Near Moosehead Lake, SunEdison has proposed an 85 megawatt farm called Somerset Wind.

Those wind farms would be connected to the grid by a 66 mile transmission line built by CMP, called the Maine Clean Power Connection.

Another SunEdison project called Weaver Wind could have a capacity of 72 megawatts in Hancock County. EverPower wants to build a 250 megawatt wind farm in Washington County, near Cherryfield.

Also on the list are a couple of solar electric projects, in Sanford and Farmington, from Ranger Solar. They add up to 130 megawatts.

Richard McDonald, president of the Saving Maine anti wind group, said the regional clean energy plan is happening at a time when Maine already is facing a stepped up pace of new wind projects. A bill currently in the Legislature would allow CMP and Emera to get back in the generation business, which he said would mean more wind farms.

McDonald also drew a connection between the recent appointment of former Gov. John Baldacci as vice chairman of Avangrid, the new parent company of CMP. Baldacci was instrumental in supporting a law that paved the way for wind power development in 2008.

the same old ballgame we had in 2008, McDonald said. political landscape in Maine is teed up to make this happen. And it going to permanently change the character of western and northern Maine. John Carroll, a spokesman for Avangrid, said the projects reflect an evolution of Maine energy resources. The existing transmission system was laid out in the 1960s to connect areas where nuclear and fossil fuel plants were built. New technology has made it possible to tap wind power for the region, he said, so transmission is being extended to areas with the greatest potential.

Key details of each bid proposal, including the cost of the projects and price of the electricity, are confidential for competitive reasons. Utilities and state officials now will begin a process of culling through the details. They are due to make selections in July.

Rate impact seems to be the top consideration, Woodcock said, because the full cost of developing the projects and building the transmission lines will be borne by southern New England electric customers. It less clear, he said, whether potential delays caused by local opposition would be a factor in choosing proposals.

this stage, he said, states are going to look at pricing. But it hard for the evaluation teams to know what likely to get a permit. Maine projects are competing with some heavy hitters in the energy field.

They include a plan called Wind and Energy Response, which is a 400 megawatt wind farm in New York state from Invenergy Wind LLC, supplemented with Canadian water power from Hydro Quebec. The combination would produce clean energy all day, not just when the wind blows, the developers say. Power would move through the Vermont Green Line, a transmission project running under Lake Champlain.

Also on the table is Northern Pass, a 192 mile transmission line that will bring 1,090 megawatts of energy from Hydro Quebec through New Hampshire. That project has faced opposition for running through the White Mountain National Forest, but developers have since redesigned it to bury the cable underground.

These competing projects highlight the fact that southern New England also is going to be looking for a diversity of generation that, unlike wind, can run at predictable times, said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. That why being able to get public support and regulatory permits for the transmission lines is just as important as the actual generators, he said.

makes this request for proposals unique is that transmission is part of the discussion for the first time, he said. been a missing component. said he considered Northern Pass and the other major projects to be proposals that compete with those contemplated in Maine. He said his office would decide at some point whether to offer an opinion that might help guide the decision making process in southern New England.

continue to evaluate the proposals, he said. The state may provide comments to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island on what development would be in the best interest of the state of Maine.

David, I made a similar point above, and I repeat it. Officially, legally, wind farms are not or They are blight, they have a negative impact on property prices and they have a net impact in the Environmental Impact Assessments used to gain planning approval. The turbines are constructed of steel, paint and neodymium on cubic tonnes of concrete foundations, in massive holes gouged out of the earth.

In Britain a lot of commercial wind farm operators are actually based in offshore tax havens, ensuring that any moneys made from subsidy payments normally end up bypassing the tax system altogether. Hence our government decision to cut off these unfair, uneconomically viable subsidies for wind farms.

Again, I respect your personal opinion to like what you like, but your opinion of wind farms as attractive would not stand up in court; in the same way that I might personally find sewage works interesting and architecturally pleasant, but I never presume that the rest of society should share my weird tastes! I ask that you remind yourself your tastes are not shared by society, and you respect the wishes of the public, who as a whole find wind farms deeply unattractive and horrible.

Adam, I respect your opinion on the negative attributes of wind energy, your comments about investors in another country, and personal feelings about the aesthetics of turbines. However as you pointed out your tastes are not necessarily those of society in general. You might be surprised to learn how many people quietly support wind and solar, since we only hear from those out to make their point. As stated above in traveling I often talk to people who live in and around wind farms and most of them are very enthusiastic about the technology. Its not keeping them up at night, killing flocks of birds or hurting their property values. While far from perfect wind farms are not quite the bogeyman many make them out to be!

Thanks for the great reply Bob. I disagreeing with you but still respect your opinion and your well expressed posts. I think as with any kind of technology there are better and worse companies; unfortunately in my area there are a lot of unscrupulous, wind farm operators who are no different in mentality to the worst kind of eco polluting fossil fuel merchants. A lot of my passion goes into exposing these wrongdoers, but yes it fair to say that not every single wind power operator is as unethical as the ones I come into contact with. The trouble is, we given them all the benefit of the doubt, we trusted them and left them to get on with it, without ever stopping to monitor the actual state of the work carried out (in the same way that we would micro manage frackers to within an inch of their lives); whereas, for some reason, wind energy corporations have been given a free pass to obliterate previously unspoilt upland areas. So whilst I agree they are not always the bogeyman they made out to be, it also true they not all fluffy bunnies frolicking through fields of daisies in some green utopia, the way the salespeople crack them up to be!

Monday, June 10th, 2013 Uncategorized

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