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.”

Read into it what you will

Put your money down, expect something concrete in return. Human nature.

On July 1 last year, Al Diamon wrote in The Bollard, “As MPBN’s annual report for last year shows, First Wind is one of the network’s largest underwriters, having contributed over $25,000.”

Recently Friends of Maine’s Mountains distributed a press release about a poll that demonstrated the more folks know about industrial wind, the less inclined they are to support it. (See “Maine poll exposes softness in wind energy support.”) MPBN did not report the news, even though they routinely report on other political polls conducted by the same company.

Last month, when the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) voted overwhelmingly to uphold the denial of a First Wind project by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Friends of Maine’s Mountains issued a press release commenting on First Wind’s stinging defeat. Not only did MPBN not air our point of view, it didn’t even report the news --- at all.

Last week, when First Wind issued a press release announcing it would appeal the BEP’s decision, MPBN mysteriously decided that all of a sudden the Bowers Mountain project was in fact news.

Blowing up Maine’s mountain tops to erect industrial wind turbines will raise Maine’s electricity rates while simultaneously DOING NOTHING to reduce Maine’s consumption of fossil fuels. Most people are unaware of this puzzler. But don’t hold your breath waiting for an in-depth examination of this by most of Maine’s media. First Wind’s not throwing all that money around for nothing, after all. (Two clear exceptions: kudos to Bangor Daily News and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting for their consistently fair and thorough reporting.)

Click the following link to read Al Diamon’s insightful story, “Being Aboveboard About Underwriters --- Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s policies on disclosure generate criticism.” And read into it what you will.

Why First Wind can’t understand what “No” means

When you’re used to greasing the political system with contributions, “scholarships” and other forms of payola, and when as a result you’re used to getting your way all the time in a state’s legislature or in front of its regulatory agencies (‘return on investment”), one word is particularly hard to swallow.

“No.”

That’s what the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) told First Wind last month, re-affirming the decision by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reject First Wind’s industrial wind factory proposed for Bowers Mountain. But First Wind isn’t about to take that sitting down. Last week they announced they are appealing to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

Despite First Wind’s political “investments,” Maine people are catching on to an oh-so-obvious reality: land-based wind turbines don’t make sense in this state, and Maine people paying higher electricity rates so that people living in Massachusetts and Connecticut can say their power is “renewable” is a losing proposition. That’s why opposition continues to grow.

The Bowers decisions by Maine’s regulatory agencies were sound, and we trust that the state’s supreme court will uphold them. Last, congratulations to MPBN and the MaineToday newspapers for reporting this development. Last month they didn’t bother to report First Wind’s defeat in front of the BEP. Media reports:

Canary in a coal mine: oxygen too low for developers

Wind industry addicted to high subsidies prepares to pay price

When tears are streaking down the cheeks of wind cheerleaders, those eternal “blue sky” folks, the rest of us should sit up and take notice. That’s when you know something is seriously wrong in the wind industry.

Let’s re-cap the recent bad news here in Maine: the Bowers project is dead. So is First Wind’s financing deal with Emera. And the Critical Insights poll in April showed that the more Mainers know about industrial turbines, the less they like them.

Now even the industry itself is sounding the alarm about financial fears. Can you imagine the financing difficulties for wind companies if at least 30% of the proposed wind projects in this country die? Last month there was a conference in Las Vegas hosted by the American Wind Energy Association. And that’s where a high-ranking official of the world’s fifth largest wind turbine supplier made his prediction, as reported by the London-based online newsletter RECHARGE, “one of the most authoritative publications in the renewable-energy sector.” TEXT:

US wind ‘shakeout’ looms: execs

By Karl-Erik Stromsta in Las Vegas, Thursday, May 08 2014

Updated: Thursday, May 08 2014

Large amounts of wind capacity nominally under construction in the US may not actually get built, with senior turbine executives warning that a “shake out” is looming for the US project pipeline.

The American Wind Energy Association claims there was more than 12GW of wind capacity under construction at the end of 2013, with nearly 11GW of that entering construction in the final quarter of the year alone.

The “worst-case scenario” of a 50% attrition rate on that figure is unlikely, but “I’d bet you’ll see at least a 30% fall out”, says Duncan Koerbel, the Denver-based chief technology officer for India’s Suzlon Group.

Koerbel made his prediction while speaking Thursday at AWEA’s Windpower conference.

Many developers were forced to rush their projects last year to meet the Production Tax Credit requirements before it was allowed to expire at the end of 2013. In some cases the power purchase agreements they signed are at prices that may prove economically unviable.

“The tagline is there’s more wind under construction in the US than in the history of wind. But there are a lot of deals out there that are pretty thin,” says Koerbel, and many projects simply “won’t pass muster”.

While declining to make precise predictions of their own, other turbine executives agreed that a significant chunk of that 12GW figure will not get built.

Daniel McDevitt, chief executive of Nordex USA, says that many developers baked unrealistic expectations about how much turbine prices will come down into their projects.

“We’ve seen situations where developers come in in and give you [their target for turbine prices], and say, ‘This is what I assume it’s going to be.’ And some who might have been too aggressive are now finding themselves with a problem.”

David Hardy, vice president for sales at Vestas, says that the “artificial end date” created by PTC meant that wind projects that were not “actually mature enough” were forced to press ahead anyway.

The lack of policy certainty is "such a strain on our industry”, Hardy says. “It’s so painful.”