Articles filed under Energy Policy from Maine
A proposal by First Wind and Canadian utility Emera to partner with a third energy company to build and operate energy projects in the Northeast is in danger of being rejected by Maine regulators.
This ballot initiative was designed for one purpose -- to solidify the position of power which the wind industry has enjoyed since 2008, when it was given preferred status over all other energy sources -- even those that are far less expensive and far more reliable.
Consumers were supposed to be protected from having to subsidize poor decisions of developers and generators. The coalition's proposal is going in the opposite direction and would add millions of dollars to consumers' electric bills. It would seem once again, that Maine ratepayers are being forced to bail out a few select developers and generators who have apparently invested in technologies that cannot compete in an open market.
"This referendum is driven by an unfortunate public belief that wind power can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, displace base load generators, and reduce our already high electricity costs, when in fact it can do none of these. The future of Maine's environment and economy deserves better than mandated policies which are based on a belief in presumed benefits."
Proposed ballot language filed Wednesday for the Nov. 6 election would require the state's utilities to reach 25%, well beyond the current law passed in 2008, which requires 10% of Michigan's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015.
Gov. Paul LePage said Monday that he wants other energy sources such as natural gas and hydroelectric to enjoy the same expedited permitting process that the wind power industry has seen. ...When asked about wind, LePage said he doesn't have a problem with wind power but, "without a subsidy, wind doesn't work."
LePage says Mainers should have choices but shouldn't be forced to buy certain types of alternative energy, especially if it's more expensive. LePage says Mainers currently pay 42 percent above the national average for electricity.
Are these three legislators so committed to mountaintop wind development that they will not even bring an open mind to the table? They seem determined to keep us frozen in the days of early 2008, when the Legislature threw all of our energy eggs into one basket - wind turbines.
Nothing about wind is green. Any real scientist (not on the wind lobby payroll) will verify that. And it isn't about jobs or electricity. ...It is about protecting the people of Maine, and it is about listening to those people, instead of catering to the politically well-connected wind lobby.
And in remarks to a group of business people at the Cumberland Club in Portland last night, the governor said Maine should stop using oil to heat homes--period. The governor also reiterated his goal to eliminate the state's renewable energy portfolio standard as a way to be more attractive to business.
The governor said he does not support wind power development or renewables because they generate expensive electricity. "We need cheaper energy for everybody and to get away from these feel-good solutions," he said. The audience replied with an equal measure of applause and boos.
LaBrecque contends that plans for offshore wind would be contradictory to energy efficiency goals. He said that by adding more heat pumps, thermal storage units and charging vehicles to the electric grid would only increase energy demands and thus increase the fossil fuels needed to account for demand, especially when renewable energy cannot make a "hairline scratch in energy consumption rates."
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.
The bill would scale back a law requiring Maine electric utility companies, such as Central Maine Power Co., to get at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017.
The governor's bill wouldn't limit how much electricity is derived from renewable sources; it simply wouldn't require power companies to increase by 1 percent each year their intake of renewable energy, Fletcher said.
khjkjhThe committee's move was upsetting to Monique Aniel, co-chair of the Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power. What about the people who live near wind farms and came before the committee last month to testify about their health problems, noise impacts and diminished property values, she asked?
One bill would require a setback of between 1¼ miles and 2 miles between industrial wind turbines and houses, businesses or other occupied structures. The bill also aims to strengthen regulations at protecting neighbors from disruptive noise levels and "shadow flicker" ...Another would require wind farm developers to offer a "property value guarantee program".
Steve Bennett passed out pictures, which showed the wind turbine tower looming over his house in Freedom. Then, he told the Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee about the incessant noise, and the flickering light from rotating blades that enters his window and makes the room appear to be moving. Anyone who says the intrusions from the Beaver Ridge wind farm don't lower the value of his home "is delusional," he said.
With the stroke of a pen, an uninformed governor named John Baldacci sacrificed the natural art work that millions of individuals had grown to love. Maine's landscape was destroyed because of a bill called LD 2283 which sacrificed an entire state to the wind industry.
When the Friends of Spruce Mountain saw their appeal to the Spruce Mountain Wind Project denied last week, the group's lawyer also presented a proposed amendment to Maine's noise rules in the state's Site Location Law. The result of a petition effort by the Maine-based Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power, the amendment would have the Maine Department of Environmental Protection apply different standards to wind turbine noise than to other industrial noise.