You say you love Maine’s mountains? Too bad.

Don’t expect them to be there for you for much longer. Because what’s happening in VT and NH (click on photo below for the gallery) is happening right here in Maine. And thanks to the wonderful photography of Roger Irwin and Steve Wright, you can see what it really requires to erect an industrial complex of giant wind turbines on the top of Maine's mountains. It requires the destruction of Maine’s mountains, FOREVER.

Visit Maine’s mountains very soon, folks, because before long you won’t have the chance --- we keep electing legislators who fast-track the corporate wind barons who are chasing subsidy dollars (see article here), and who gleefully obliterate our most scenic areas, for steep profit. Oh, before you enjoy the photographs, a few VERY uncomfortable facts:

  • Maine’s economy depends on the tourism dollar.
  • Hikers, skier, campers, hunters and leaf-peepers are tourists. Who like wilderness.
  • Turbine electricity generated here goes to Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • In Maine, turbines do nothing to get us off oil. Our electricity already comes from overwhelmingly clean sources.
  • You thought wind was going to REDUCE your energy bill? Oh dear. We’ll try to let you down gently. You know the transmission lines Maine lawmakers are requiring you to buy, so that Massachusetts and Connecticut can get their “clean” energy and feel good about themselves? Each time you elect these lawmakers, you’re begging them to raise your electric bill.

So Monday’s article in the Portland Press Herald, “Maine businesses can expect electricity shock this winter,” should come as no surprise at all. Neither should “Power bills to rise for CMP customers after decision in controversial rate case,” published on July 31 of this year. This is, after all, what we voted for. Yes, the chickens are coming home to roost, and it’s now quite clear that Augusta has once again gotten us into one fine mess. At our own request. We’d all better take action soon, before it’s too late.

Many thanks to Peak Keepers of Vermont’s Mountains for bringing their fine online brochure to our attention.

CLICK THROUGH THE GALLERY

Appalachian Trail in peril, enviro group warns

Appeal of industrial wind complex launched

(Portland, Maine) Friends of Maine's Mountains (FMM) has appealed the recently-granted permit for a Massachusetts company to build Maine's largest-ever industrial wind complex.

In its written appeal to the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP), FMM asserts that the project will unreasonably degrade the best vistas along 280 miles of the Appalachian Trail that run through Maine.

"Every year people from all over the world walk two thousand miles on the Appalachian Trail pilgrimage, and all along the way they hear how beautiful it is when they reach Maine,” said Chris O’Neil, a spokesperson for FMM. “They will be sorely disappointed, and Maine will be irreparably tarnished, if at every high peak between the Western Mountains and Katahdin they are looking at looming industrial towers as tall as Boston skyscrapers."

FMM also objects that the decommissioning fund necessary to restore the mountains is drastically inadequate. In the appeal and in earlier filings (links below), FMM demonstrated that First Wind woefully underestimated the amount of work required to restore 17 miles of ridge, and grossly overestimated the amount of money that might be recovered from scrap value of old wind turbines. 

"Many people have come to understand that wind power cannot be sustained in Maine, and that these wind operators are going to take the subsidy money and run. When that happens, Maine should not assume all the economic and environmental liability that will come from abandoned turbines."

The permit, granted in September by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after a two-year fight, added a requirement that the applicant, First Wind, demonstrate proof of project financing before construction begins. 

"FMM's strongly supports the DEP's concern about financial capacity, given the precarious condition of First Wind, especially since this Boston wind developer has never turned a profit, and its financials look worse every quarter. It’s foolish to hand over all our highlands to these people, O’Neil said.

A pending case before the Maine Public Utilities Commission that would bail out First Wind is likely to be hung up in litigation for the foreseeable future, so FMM's appeal asks the BEP to overturn the permit because of the uncertainty.

LINKS

Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) is an non-profit educational organization that raises awareness of the destructive toll that industrial wind turbines inflict on Maine’s precious and finite mountain areas. For more information, www.FriendsOfMainesMountains.org.

Why are so many Texans writing checks in Maine’s governor race?

Maine has seen this before, and of course the pattern is old hat for Kurt Adams. As the Maine Center for Public Interest reported, industrial wind is always eager to extend its tentacles into Maine’s political establishment by liberally spreading money around.

If you’ve wondered why big industrial wind companies always get their way in Maine’s policy decisions, their inexhaustible checkbook is the first place to start looking.
— Rand Stowell, president, Friend's of Maine's Mountains

Adams, former Maine PUC chairman (appointed by Governor John Baldacci) and now an executive at First Wind, is clearly comfortable with the idea larding the political landscape with thousands of dollars, otherwise he wouldn't have allowed First Wind to recruit him while he was still serving at the Maine PUC. If anything, he's even more enthusiastic now about playing the big money game. Consider that on August 15, 2013, Maine 2nd District Congressman Mike Michaud announced his candidacy for Governor. Yet weeks before, even before that summer began, Adams had already “maxed out” on the Michaud for Maine campaign.

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD: Kurt Adams has played a key role injecting thousands of dollars from industrial wind speculators into Maine's gubernatorial campaign.

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD: Kurt Adams has played a key role injecting thousands of dollars from industrial wind speculators into Maine's gubernatorial campaign.

“Maxing out” is slang for donating the most amount of money allowable by law. In fact, almost a year and a half before this November’s general election, Adams donated the maximum $1500 to Michaud’s uncontested primary campaign and another $1500 to his presumed 2014 general election campaign. More curious is the amount of industrial wind money – much of it from far outside Maine -- that has landed in Michaud’s war chest.

Why are big money Texans so interested in Maine?

Campaign contributions do not guarantee political favor; many big donors have historically hedged their bets by donating across party lines to both – or all – candidates in a race. But an investigation into campaign financing documents implies that industrial wind companies clearly have a favorite candidate to be Maine's next Governor, whose ear they dearly hope to have.

For example, employees of Houston-based EDP Renewables hosted a Fort Kent fundraiser for Michaud during last winter’s Can Am event. At least a dozen EDP people with Texas addresses, including top-level officials like the CEO, donated to Michaud.

A search of the Maine Ethics Commission database for campaign finance reporting showed more non-EDP employees, also with Texas addresses, are so interested in Maine’s gubernatorial race that they became political donors, some for the first time ever in Maine. Or even in Texas. The filings indicate that various consultants, lawyers, and other professionals with connections to EDP are now also connected with Maine politics. Even a New York based EDP lobbyist maxed out on Michaud.

Why are we seeing this Lone Star posse riding into Vacationland? Could it be that EDP wants to grease the skids for what would be Maine’s biggest industrial wind facility, at Number Nine Mountain in Aroostook County?

In, 2011 EDP took over what had been Horizon Energy, which had been planning for a couple of years to build at Number Nine Mountain. But transmission lines from Aroostook County go to Canada, not Boston, Providence and Hartford. So the project has languished on the drawing board.

Last year EDP opened a public relations office in Presque Isle. Opponents of wind energy grew wary when EDP began to revive the dormant project amid talk of friendly utility regulators eager to allow massive transmission expansions that would connect "The County" to New England. With the annual expiration of lucrative federal wind tax credits in Washington, most wind developers in the last few years have sprinted to submit applications under Maine’s Expedited Wind Siting law. But not EDP. They still have not filed an application here.  

“Looks to me like they have picked out which horse they want to ride, and now they're waiting for the results of the November election,” said Rand Stowell, president of Friends of Maine's Mountains (FMM).

First Wind a leader in political donations

Despite the fact that First Wind has incurred multi-million dollar losses since it arrived in Maine, no industrial wind company has inspired more anti-wind sentiment in the state than First Wind of Boston. They have spent over half a billion dollars on six wind projects that have the capability to provide only a fraction of one percent of our system’s electricity. All of First Wind’s projects ultimately are entirely paid for by ratepayers and taxpayers.  First Wind’s high-level sponsorship of Maine Public Broadcasting and Maine Audubon have proved controversial. (FMM has often criticized the company for its liberal spending on public relations measures intended to enhance their image.)

Adams, whose First Wind title is Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, made news when it came to light that he had taken an equity interest in First Wind while still serving as Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. He has been on the “Host Committee” for at least two Michaud fundraising parties. 

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: At left is a copy of the November, 2013 event held at the home of auto dealer Adam Lee. Lee has served on Boards and Advisory Boards for many of the organizations most responsible for promoting wind power: Maine Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Efficiency Maine Trust, and Maine Audubon. Ordinary voters, the "rank and file," normally don't attend parties like this. So if you don't recognize the names of the "hosts," you might be interested to know that many are prominent industrial wind lobbyists. Specifically:

First Wind Top Execs:

  • Kurt Adams
  • Paul Gaynor
  • Matt Kearns
  • Dave Wilby

Verrill Dana Attorney who does the permitting and litigation for First Wind projects:

  • Juliet Browne

CEO of Reed & Reed, only crane company in the region capable of erecting 500’ turbines:

  • Jackson Parker

Owner of Aroostook County’s Underwood Electric, which does work on wind projects:

  • Terry Kiser

CEO of Maine Drillng & Blasting Inc., which blows up Mountains for turbine pads:

  • Bill Purington

CEO at Sargent Corp., which does site work for wind projects:

  • Herb Sargent

Senior Manager and lobbyist at Sargent Corp.:

  • Steve Perry

Former Maine PUC Commissioner and present executive at North American Power:

  • Sharon Reishus

###

Overt attempt to influence the governor's race in Maine

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD: EDP Renewables knows what it wants from "Governor Mike Michaud."

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD: EDP Renewables knows what it wants from "Governor Mike Michaud."

EDP’s role in the Fort Kent party for Michaud was just as overt as Adams' and First Wind's fierce fundraising for Michaud, as the invitation at left shows. Critics are concerned that the general public may not understand how high the stakes are for industrial wind companies, who are counting on taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, which are doled out (or not) by Maine's elected and regulatory authorities.

“Most Mainers have no idea how the wind lobby is trying to influence our government,” said Brad Blake of Citizens Task Force on Wind Power. “They do it at every level. From selectmen in poor rural towns to legislators and the governor. Follow the money and it’s obvious why industrial wind has been able to take this state by storm, even writing their own special law essentially guaranteeing them whatever they want.”

A Closer Look at the Wind Money

FMM researched the campaign finance reports for the three gubernatorial candidates. Their last required filing was in late July. Notable in the numbers:

 Contributions from Texas

  • Cutler, 21 donations, $15,300
  • LePage, 10 donations, $7,825
  • Michaud, 69 donations, $22,066

From Houston

  • Cutler, 6 donations, $5,250
  • LePage, 8 donations, $7,625
  • Michaud, 30 donations, $15,750 

From EDP 

  • Cutler, 0 donations
  • LePage, 0 donations
  • Michaud, 16 donations, $3,850

From EDP associated Interests

  • Cutler, 0 donations
  • LePage, 0 donations
  • Michaud, 10 donations, $9,000

From First Wind

  • Cutler, 3 donations, $1650
  • LePage, 0 donations
  • Michaud, 10 donations, $11,100

From First Wind Associated Interests

  • Cutler, 1 donation, $1500
  • LePage, 0 donations
  • Michaud, 11 donations, $4,350

From Patriot Renewables (Cashman)

  • Cutler, 0 donations
  • LePage, 4 donations, $6,000
  • Michaud, 2 donations, $3,000

Wind Money TOTALS So Far

  • Cutler, $3,100
  • LePage, $6,000
  • Michaud, $31,400

BADLY NEEDED: Transparency & press scrutiny

Stowell advised Maine voters to stay aware of political contributions that could influence Maine's gubernatorial election and post-election policy discussions, particularly from the following list of players in Texas:

Texas law firm Locke Lord Bissell & Lidell has a PAC. According to opensecrets.org the PAC has a record of supporting 71% Republicans and 29% Democrats. They never donated to a Maine politician until they sent $1000 to Michaud for Maine. 

Rene Braud, is a former EDP/Horizon biologist now doing bird studies for another wind developer called Pattern Energy. Her bio says she “has provided leadership on numerous committees in the wind industry…including the American Wind Energy Association…” Braud once gave to a Texas congressional candidate, according to opensecrets.org. Her only other political contribution was to Mike Michaud.

Michael Skelly and Jayshree Desai are President and Executive Vice President of Clean Line Energy Partners in Houston. Desai was at Enron before taking the CFO job at Horizon Wind. She led the sale of Horizon to EDP.  Her company profile says she “has a leading role in developing relationships with Clean Line’s future transmission customers, both load serving entities and wind generators.”

Desrai has never donated to a political candidate until this year when she took an interest in the Maine governor’s race.

Skelly is a former congressional candidate from Texas with very little campaign donation history.

FMM made phone calls to Braud, Desrai, and Skelly asking why the Houston energy players are investing in the Maine Governor’s race. Only PR person Sarah Bray from Clean Line Energy returned our calls, saying that “Mr. Skelly didn’t feel that he would be the best one to talk on that topic so he asked me to just kinda pass this time.”

Alvarez and Marsal is a global business consulting firm based in Houston. A&M Managing Director Richard Holt’s company profile lists his areas of expertise. “Energy” is the first listed. Holt maxed out on Michaud in both the primary and general elections. When FMM asked Holt why he supports Michaud, he said, “We have some friends and connections in Maine and Maine needs a calming force.”

It's all there in black and white.

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD.

CLICK TO ENLARGE, DOWNLOAD.

ABOVE: first two pages for the names, last two pages for the amounts.

Stowell, FMM’s president, said, “When you dig into the public record it’s hard not be cynical. Our mission is educational, so we think Mainers should know about the dominant role that money plays in industrial wind’s political agenda.”

Beyond that direct contribution of money, much of it coming early in the campaign, it’s possible that ample third party spending from the wind lobby will soon flood the state. These could include the “independent expenditure” mailers and commercials. But many “players” are likely to make contributions to candidates, continuing a trend of massive political spending in Maine by industrial wind companies.

Players and payers to watch

Clean Power PAC

The political action committee of the Maine Renewable Energy Association (MREA), which claims to speak for all renewable generation modes, but in fact devotes almost all of its resources to wind. The PAC has not donated directly to any of this year’s gubernatorial candidates, and it only had about $5000 on hand as of July 22. It raised and spent little in 2010, with no contributions to gubernatorial candidates. It annually gives various donations to legislative “leadership” PACs -- mostly Democratic.

Clean Power PAC has traditionally been funded by its parent, MREA and companies like First Wind, Reed & Reed and Cianbro. Three years ago the PAC was deeply involved in the failed attempt by Maine Citizens for Clean Energy PAC to initiate a ballot question that would have increased Maine’s (already highest in the nation) Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Clean Power PAC has very deep pockets, and therefore is a prime candidate to inject very large amounts of money into the gubernatorial race, especially in its late stages.

See Filings Here for Clean Power PAC

Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund

The umbrella group for most of the name-brand environmental organizations is called Maine Conservation Voters (MCV). This is not a wind advocacy group per se, but as noted above, most of its contributing organizations are the most active promoters of wind power in Maine. MCV’s political arm is this PAC, the MCVAF PAC. They have begun airing TV ads directly advocating for Michaud’s election. The PAC uses the GiveGreen (see below) “bundling” model to make large contributions above the “maxed out” limitations that apply to individual donors.

As of September 4 MCVAF has raised and spent over half a million dollars with at least $400,000 buying media. All of the PAC’s expenditures have been reported as either supporting Michaud or opposing LePage. Their reports make no mention of Cutler. 

See Filings Here for MCVAF PAC

givegreenmaine.com

This is the way MCVAF makes what it calls “pass through” contributions to the Michaud campaign. In May it transferred over $12,000 to Michaud. There are no filings for GiveGreen.

Maine Forward PAC

This is a Democratic Party PAC established to elect Michaud. It does not advocate for wind power per se, but in June it received $50,000 from MCVAF. As of September 5 the PAC had spent over $450,000 either for Michaud or against LePage. The reports do not mention Cutler. See Filings Here for Maine Forward Pac.

Maine Citizens for Clean Energy PAC

This is the PAC formed in 2011 to fund the failed signature gathering effort that would have increased Maine’s RPS. It has been terminated, but it could form again. Interestingly, the MCCE PAC was formed by Abbie Reed of Reed & Reed, along with MREA’s Jeremy Payne, Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) lobbyist Dylan Vorhees. The group burst onto the scene in the fall of 2011 by quickly raising and spending $100,000 to gather statewide signatures. 

MCCE continued to raise lots of money, much of it from the MREA PAC listed above. According to state filings, MCCE closed up shop owing about $50,000 to three organizations that had been hired to run the aborted campaign: Cliff Ginn’s Opportunity Maine, Environment Maine, and Maine People’s Alliance.  After almost a year of languishing in debt, some of it under dispute, MCCE were partially covered by donations from MREA, MCV, and NRCM. When the PAC terminated, it handed its remaining balance (about $5000) to MREA to fund a wind power public relations effort called “Wind For ME.” See Filings for MCCE here.

League of Conservation Voters Washington DC

This is the national parent of MCV.  It uses the GiveGreen bundling method, and this year funneled a quarter million dollars to MCVAF PAC. There are no filings for LCV.

Nextgen Climate Action PAC

Tom Steyer is a wealthy California activist who has pledged to spend $100 million defeating candidates who are “anti-climate.”  The idea is for Steyer to match donations to the PAC on a 1:1 basis, but so far he has matched on a 10:1 basis.  Gubernatorial races in Maine and six other states have been targeted by his national group based in Washington, DC. As of the June 22 filing the Maine PAC had zero funds on hand, but they reported “in-kind” donations from the national parent group: “335 hours of staff time for meetings and planning related to program in Maine.” See NextGen Filings here.

###

In May of 2014, FMM released results of the Criticlal Insights Omnibus Poll. Before learning the pros and cons of industrial wind power, more than 75% of Maine people support it. But after learning the truth about wind power, more than 75% of Mainers oppose it. To further its educational mission and promote transparency in the debate about Maine's energy future, Friends of Maine Mountains has compiled this report so that voters will know who is attempting to influence state policy.

U.S. explains how to protect eagles by killing them

You’re an ordinary American citizen. Kill an eagle, go to jail.

But if you contribute millions to politicians, pocket steep taxpayer subsidies, and raise electricity rates by building industrial wind factories, you don’t “kill” eagles, you “take” them, without penalty. Hard to believe? Check out the governmental double-speak in this 2014 press release from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. According to the service, “‘Take’ means to pursue, shoot, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest or disturb eagles, their nests or their eggs.”

Wind developers, get in line for your permits!

As we wrote in yesterday’s blog post, the Service wants to increase the length of eagle kill permits to 30 years, from the current five years. (SEPTEMBER 22 is the LAST DAY TO OBJECT ONLINE TO THIS IDIOTIC PROPOSAL.) In its own press release, one of the biggest cheerleaders for higher electric rates and steep government subsidies, North American Windpower, could hardly contain its glee at the prospect of impending eagle slaughters.

Based on the agency’s press release and the fact that the first eagle take permit has been issued, it appears likely that the FWS may more frequently recommend that developers apply for eagle take permits for projects with the potential to disturb eagles or result in eagle fatalities.”

As an American citizen, aren’t you proud of the fine work the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is doing to “administer” the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act?

DIRECT LINK, Associated Press special report: "Wind farms get pass on eagle deaths"

Turbines kill birds



Great news for eagle killers

To help out industrial wind speculators, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to increase the length of eagle kill permits to 30 years, from the current five years. 

DIRECT LINK, Associated Press special report: "Wind farms get pass on eagle deaths"

EMERGENCY: If you disagree, please tell the feds what you think. Public comments are being accepted until September 22 online at THIS LINK.

Or by mail:

 

Public Comments Processing

Docket # FWS-R9-MB-2011-0094

Division of Policy and Directives Management

US Fish and Wildlife Service

4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM

Arlington, VA  22203

Don't let them sell Maine a bill of goods

If you watch TV, it is possible that you will see ads by Siemens sometime soon, praising industrial wind turbines. Why do you think they might be doing this? We thank MasterResource, an online “free-market energy blog,” for the explanation.

Since Siemens’ tax-sheltering market is drying up in Europe, their marketing efforts in the U.S. are clearly geared towards increasing income for its investors via wind’s tax sheltering schemes here. Taxpayers, ratepayers beware!

The reason Friends of Maine’s Mountains exists is to provide information to “regular folks” who don’t have the time to spend hours in research. The more people we reach, the more balance we bring to the debate about industrial wind factories on the tops of scenic mountains here in Maine.

The wind lobbyists who want to pocket our tax money and to increase our electric rates spend millions on advertising. That’s because they are trying to sell you. Whenever we can, FMM presents information that helps you evaluate the slick sales pitch. CLICK HERE for the full article on the Siemens ad campaign.

Maine, you’re PAYING DEARLY for these

And you’ll pay even more. Recently the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved yet another hike for electric ratepayers. Two years ago it was 19%. This year it's unclear whether it'll be a 4.1% increase, a 7.6% increase, or a 10.7% increase (See DOCUMENTS, below.)

The average Joe doesn’t pay much attention to energy policy, but guess what? We were told in 2010 that this would happen. That’s when the chief of the New England Power Grid told us, straight up and in plain English, that wind power would require billions of dollars in transmission lines.

"There aren't nearly enough wind farms even proposed yet to capture that much power, and delivering it would require spending $19 billion to $25 billion for new transmission lines," said the ISO's president and chief executive, Gordon Van Welie. But Maine started building wind turbines anyway, despite being one of the cleanest electricity generation states in the nation. Not only that, Maine legislators passed the new wind law, mandating that you cough up the dough, without even debating the bill!

The consequences? Since 2001 transmission rates have tripled for Maine residential ratepayers. Rates have quadrupled for commercial/industrial ratepayers. (See documentation from CMP, links below.) That’s because your light bill includes charges for electricity, poles & wires, and various surcharges. While the energy side of your light bill has fluctuated, it remains essentially the same as it was in 2001. But the billions to build massive "electric highways" are coming out of your pocket for unnecessary, erratic and unreliable wind power.

Get used to it, Maine. Unless policy makers change course, you will continue to pay higher and higher light bills to build infrastructure for needless wind turbines that only work 25% of the time. Meanwhile, at the northern end of New England, there are now no fewer than six major transmission line proposals that would deliver clean reliable, world class Canadian hydropower. Did Maine bet on the wrong horse? More on that soon --- stay tuned.

DOCUMENTS:

 

Special interests: “Make Maine people pay more for energy.”

A transmission substation that brings electricity to the U.S. from Canada. Photo by Mark Lorenz, Boston Globe.

A transmission substation that brings electricity to the U.S. from Canada. Photo by Mark Lorenz, Boston Globe.

Two abundant and very clean sources of energy in northeast North America are natural gas and hydroelectric power. And yet loud voices don’t want those sources to lower your energy bills here in Maine. Find that hard to believe? Get used to the idea.

As the Boston Globe reported in late July, “Across the Canadian border, massive dams generate a seemingly endless supply of hydroelectricity — a source of power that could help New England replace its closing coal and nuclear plants while cutting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”

But there are folks who don’t want you to have it --- because it’s too affordable. Special interests “worry that easy access to low-cost hydroelectricity will undermine the competitiveness of emerging alternative energy technologies and slow or derail their development,” according to the Globe.

…(S)olar, wind, and other renewables…remain intermittent power sources without the scale to easily replace…more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity.
— Erin Ailworth, Reporter, Boston Globe

Those special interests include wind developers, who blow up the tops of Maine’s scenic mountains to build industrial wind turbines that only work 25% of the time --- as often as wind velocity cooperates in this state. That’s why fossil fuel plants are required to stay online and back up those turbines --- 75% of the time.

So remember that wind developers’ blather about green energy has at least two caveats. First, they don’t want other sources of green energy to compete with them. Second, the green they’re really interested in is the green they pocket, taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies. As always, follow the money.

CLICK HERE for complete Boston Globe article.

Wind fad step closer to scrap heap

A few months ago, Friends of Maine’s Mountains traveled to Beacon Hill in Boston to testify on proposed legislation. We adamantly delivered Maine's message: "Mainers like your sports teams, museums, colleges, etc. But we split from Massachusetts in 1820, and we will not now serve as your wind power plantation."

We’re happy to observe that the legislation is dead for now, as reported yesterday by the Boston Globe.

We told Massachusetts lawmakers that they would be wise to remove barriers to Canadian hydropower, because it is a necessary and beneficial generation source. With the New England grid retiring some base load and peak load plants, big hydro would be a perfect fit; competitive, clean, versatile.

On the drawing board there are no fewer than five major transmission projects between Canada and New England, so it will happen, folks --- and that will render Maine wind generation irrelevant. There were other provisions in the legislation that would have essentially mandated huge amounts of new wind power in Northern New England. FMM helped Maine dodge this bullet. and the wind fad is a step closer to being history. We thank our Massachusetts friends for listening.

Pigs at the trough: what happens without sweeteners?

Apparently pigs love treats, especially sugar-coated doughnuts.

Apparently pigs love treats, especially sugar-coated doughnuts.

This article spells it out very well. The pigs run away as fast as they can.

While more than 12,000 megawatts’ worth of new wind power was installed in 2012, fewer than 2,000 new megawatts were just a year later. The reason: Investors rightly predicted the production tax credit would not be renewed by Congress…
— U.S. News & World Report

In case this is not yet clear to everybody, industrial wind development in Maine is not about “green” energy and saving the planet, it’s all about the race for public money. The feds and state legislatures hand out sugar-coated subsidies (your money) to entice developers to build wind turbines. Developers race to pocket that money but ONLY UNTIL the free money runs out. Then they scatter.

As a result, the light bills of Maine ratepayers go up, because we have to pay for the new transmission lines to deliver electricity to Massachusetts and Connecticut from industrial turbines that only operate 25% of the time here in Maine. In other words, since they need back-up from conventional power plants, these turbines DO NOTHING to reduce Maine’s fossil fuel consumption. THIS MAKES NO SENSE! Click here for the full article by U.S. News & World Report, published July 17, 2014.

We think U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) makes a pretty good point“(The wind tax credit) should go. Hell, your mother only carried you nine months.”