Tax Breaks & Subsidies and Maine
The Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy published figures in August 2011 showing that for the fiscal year 2010, the federal subsidies were as follows: Hydro received 1.8 percent of the federal subsidies for renewable energy; nuclear received 21 percent; coal received 10 percent and wind a whopping 42 percent.
The Maine Public Utility Commission's analysis showed that the first two years of the increased renewable energy mandate added $7 million to Maine ratepayer's electric bills.
Rather than continue the automatic increases to the renewable energy source mandate, we think there is a better approach by allowing consumer choice while still supporting renewable energy development.
Will Freedom get the tax relief it has wanted all along? What will happen to our taxes next year when, for the first time, the turbine values are added to the school district assessment, increasing Freedom's share of the school budget, while reducing state aid to education? The answers are painfully obvious.
Doug Rooks is correct about at least one thing (May 9). There is a growing backlash to industrial-scale wind turbines on Maine's mountains. People who care about Maine's present and future are refusing to roll over for the short-term interests of the wind industry and its largely unfounded claims.
The romantic view of wind power is a stand of wind turbines atop a ridge gently spinning in a breeze generating clean electricity in place of an emission-producing power plant.
Another view is a natural landscape defaced by huge structures whose operation annoys its neighbors, produces power randomly and does not reduce pollutants because fossil-fueled plants continue to operate as backup.
The "pop" culture support and promotion of wind power is all based upon conceptual or theoretical constructs which do not reflect the physical, financial or regulatory realities of operating our electric grid system.
Wind is the least cost effective way to produce power. But all the tax credits make if very profitable. That is the only reason to build wind plants. A project like Redington Black Nubble would mean about $20 million in tax credits over the 10-year period allowed by the production tax legislation. That's not counting what they sell the power for. It's all about the money. It isn't some environmental company here to save us. As far as the Land Use Regulation Commission's denial of the Redington Project, the project did not meet the standards and laws. It's that simple.
And we better watch out. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Keep our mountains protected.