Renewables already added a 47 percent surcharge to electric bills at the beginning of this year. Now we're going to see something worse. The big, power-consuming manufacturers have been exempted from these charges so they can stay competitive with the rest of the world, but everyone else is going to bear the brunt.
A certain degree of local congestion and general oversupply is often planned into the system. However, given the relatively narrow operating margins of wind and solar projects, typical project leverage ratios and the debt service coverage ratio covenants by which most projects are bound, an annual curtailment of generating capacity of more than one percent can have a devastating impact on project viability.
Strangers' money has drawn a line across the land, sowing discord. It has divided the Placey family. They no longer talk to those who sold out. "We pleaded with them; we asked them not to sell," Lynne says. But they wouldn't listen; they wanted the money. Her sister-in-law is distraught. She was close to her nieces; she can't believe that they would do this.
This division is repeated all over town, straining the North Country ethic of looking out for your neighbor.
Wind and solar power are too expensive to compete with natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydropower without government help. The wind lobby already won an extension of its $12 billion production tax credit as part of the recent tax increase. More than half the states also have renewable energy standards forcing residents to purchase wind power. And now the greens want another subsidy for transmission lines.
Standing on a former mountaintop blasted away to build the new Suncrest Substation, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday praised completion of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines-and denigrated 79,000 citizens who have fought against destroying our communities and scenic vistas.
"You have to crush the opposition," the Governor said forcefully.
Herein is the biggest paradox: Many green groups want to first encourage conservation before considering more transmission -- lines that some fear would run roughshod through sensitive habitat.
Beyond the issue of conservation is the variable nature of wind and solar and how grid managers would incorporate them into the system.
Yesterday Northern Pass made an emergency filing with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office seeking to overturn the Tillotson trustees’ decision to conserve the bulk of the Tillotson land. The filing is available here. A future blog post will analyze Northern Pass’s filing in more detail. Tonight's guest blog presents an overview of the filing and looks at the larger implications of this extraordinary document.
In a leaked letter sent to the PC caucus, the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta (IPCAA) lambasted AESO's proposed lines as "unnecessary," "irresponsible," "unaffordable" and "lacking common sense." Instead of attracting investment, the plan, they claim, will drive industrial users out of Alberta or force them to generate their own power, leaving domestic users to pick up industry's share (61 percent) of the tab. Even the Fraser Institute, an industry cheerleader, is opposed.
These comments by Montana Public Service Commissioner, John Vincent, appeared following an article on the MSTI transmission line proposed in Montana to deliver wind to the California market.
A group of Senators opposed to the NOPR ..."They call it socialization and they persist in theorizing that FERC is about to spread the cost of major new transmission projects not just regionally but across entire interconnections and even the entire nation," Hoecker said.
"It's just not going to work that way.
Dealing with Mother Nature in a way that reduces harm to humans, fish and the environment trumps man-made contracts and government mandates. ...wind-energy farmers must absorb the unexpected costs. It's part of the risk that comes with the rewards (including government-subsidies) that come with being wind-energy producers.
Michigan's elected representatives in Washington should press the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take a hard look at a plan to beef up electric power lines throughout the Midwest. Without some timely federal intervention, Michigan power customers could end up paying an unfair share of the bill.
With Northern Pass, PSNH has proposed a project where the negative impacts are instantly and universally obvious. PSNH wants to permanently disfigure the North Country's most valuable economic and natural asset - its unspoiled beauty - to deliver power not produced in the U.S. and not needed in New Hampshire. At seven recent North Country hearings on the project, more than 2,300 people testified eloquently in opposition.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee has introduced legislation that would require FERC to make sure the cost of regulations it approves are related to the benefits that would accrue to the states or regions on which they are imposed.
"Wind power is an open trough of government subsidies, tax credits and state mandates. Taken together, it's a massive corporate welfare effort that means big money for the wind power developers and big costs for the rest of us." Loren Steffy, the Houston Chronicle. ...competitively priced goods or services cease to be the primary concern of the producer. Courting government agencies and influencing laws becomes the chief goal.
This is another discriminatory subsidy for wind energy that will raise electricity prices on everyone, notably on those who don't rely on wind for electric power. FERC's grand vision is to build hundreds of miles of transmission lines across the Midwest, linked to windmills in Iowa and the Dakotas. ...Mr. Wellinghoff and FERC are trying to establish by regulatory fiat a national energy policy that Congress has refused to endorse.
Salois had asked Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. to move its line to avoid damaging historical Native American tepee rings on his mother's private property. MATL refused and chose condemnation. Having lost, MATL now expects the Legislature to bail it out.
MATL claims it has a deal with Montana's legislators and the governor. As reported in the Lethbridge Herald, that deal will be done by March.
This power line proposal is, in the best word I can sum up, horrendous. We should not suffer the loss of our last asset, our beauty and scenery and place of self and place, because of the accident of geography as to where we live.
We should not suffer because we happen to exist in an apex, where Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Lower Canada meet, because we are "in the way."
This isn't a not-in-my-backyard issue. It is far beyond that.
Europe's energy consumers must pay 20 cents per kWh generated, plus an additional 5 cents per kWh for transmission costs. They must pay this regardless of whether they need the electricity at the moment, and despite the fact that a kWh of wind electricity is worth less than 3 cents on the Leipzig Power Exchange, due to the intermittent and highly variable nature of wind.
So, receipt of the promised annual payment hinges on legislative actions of foreign elected representatives for whom an affected landowner cannot even vote. The provincial legislature might simply repeal or amend the Surface Rights Act, and MATL could say: Oh, sorry, no more annual payment; the Canadian law has changed.