Library filed under Energy Policy from Maine
A federal law designed to ease electricity transmission bottlenecks and improve power reliability could hit Maine ratepayers in the pocketbooks, twice. The measure could force the construction of transmission lines to move Maine’s surplus power south. Not only could the loss of the surplus increase the price of electricity in the state, but Maine consumers would also have to pay part of the cost of building the lines.
Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
New England will need to add power plants capable of generating 4,300 megawatts, and $3.4 billion of additional transmission investment, by 2015 to avoid blackouts, the region’s grid operator says. The area will need 170 megawatts of new power before the summer of 2009 to assure adequate supplies, according to ISO New England Inc., the power grid and wholesale market operator that serves the region’s 14 million people........ If a 1,000 megawatt coal or nuclear power plant had been installed in 2005, buyers in the wholesale market would have saved $600 million in power costs, the report said.
Chandler Woodcock, Republican candidate for governor, has done Maine citizens a great service by calling attention to the fact that wind power is an inefficient and expensive way to generate electricity (”Blaine House hopefuls square off,” BDN, Sept. 15).
Under the agreement, ISO New England will project regional power needs three years in advance and hold annual auctions to buy power resources, including new and existing power plants. Incentives would encourage private operators to respond to power system emergencies, and operators that don't make extra capacity available would face penalties.
A Portland-based environmental group hopes to convince Maine’s political candidates to pledge support for alternative energy and conservation. The group, Environment Maine, plans to collect petition signatures and approach state and congressional candidates with a proposed energy platform it says would reduce dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming pollution. “Our nation desperately needs to change its course on energy,” said Jennifer Anderson of Environment Maine.
Baldacci, LaMarche and Merrill agreed that nuclear power has no future in Maine and that wind power does, although Merrill was alone in endorsing the Redington Wind Farm, which Maine Mountain Power LLC wants to build in western Maine.
Can't anyone see the hypocrisy of acknowledging the crisis of global warming while at the same time advocating removal of functioning hydroelectric facilities, which quietly produce totally renewable electricity with zero greenhouse gas emissions and, unlike wind turbines, with very little visual impact?
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
On wind power proposals, Baldacci sidestepped taking a position on any particular project, saying only that he has proposed increasing renewable energy supply by 10 percent by 2017 and "development of wind energy facilities in Maine holds much promise." One wind project, in Mars Hill, is already under construction. State regulators are considering plans for another, the 90-megawatt Redington Wind Farm, near Sugarloaf Mountain, a project critics see as a blight on western Maine's mountain vistas. Others are being proposed.
AUGUSTA -- A week before hearings on a controversial wind farm project are scheduled to begin, an influential environmental group is calling for deep changes in the proposal. The Natural Resources Council of Maine on Wednesday asked Maine Mountain Power, which has applied to erect 30 turbines on two Franklin County mountain ridges, to drop plans to use the Redington Pond Range.
WORCESTER— Absent interest in lower-priced fuels, New Englanders should brace for continued high electricity prices, the byproduct of a regional system heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, the head of the region’s power grid said yesterday.
Energy efficiency is by no means a permanent solution, but it should be a permanent part of the solution. Sensible energy use, combined with new power resources, is the only workable answer for New England.
Unlike the wind, tides are predictable. Also, water's greater density means fewer turbines are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as wind turbines. And since they're under water, tidal projects don't come with aesthetic issues like those associated with wind farms.
AUGUSTA (May 25): The Maine Legislature, enacted a bill Wednesday, May 24, designed to promote the development of wind energy in Maine.
Lee also warned that renewable energy sources, though desirable, were not a "silver bullet" solution. "It does leave an environmental footprint," Lee said, noting that wind energy and solar energy take up large areas of land, making it difficult to find a place to put them, especially in densely populated parts of the world.
All renewable energies have a common fault: They are very dilute. Massive areas are needed to produce small amounts of energy. Solar and wind have strong periodicity and do not match actual electricity use.
If New England's nuclear energy plants had to be replaced by other non-emitting sources of electricity to meet the RGGI goals, the region would be looking at large-scale wind projects, with weather-dependent output, spread over some 650,000 acres of land or water at a cost of more than $10 billion.
Renewable energy sources have disadvantages as well as advantages, however. Although their costs have decreased in recent years, many renewables are still more costly than traditional sources. Some are also available only intermittently; for example, wind can be variable and hydroelectric is seasonal. And while many people are in favor of renewables in principle, many are also unhappy when faced with the prospect of a windmill or a trash-burning power plant in their neighborhood. These facilities face the same siting and investment difficulties that any electrical facility would, as the developers of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod have discovered in recent years.
...the MEA Report can be used to estimate the value (avoided emissions) of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) by providing both REC suppliers and stakeholders with information that can be used to communicate the environmental benefits of RECs and works to enhance the overall REC marketplace. Editor's Note: As noted below under Methodology [emphasis added], this report appears to substantiate the point that wind energy would not backdown "baseload" generation.