If you have deep pockets, you probably applaud the Maine Legislature for artificially propping up the wind industry in this state. If you don’t have deep pockets, be afraid. Be VERY afraid.
Take a look at your most recent electric bill. Next year you’ll pay an increased per-kilowatt rate, according to Tux Turkel, the well-informed utilities writer for the MaineToday newspapers. In fact, Turkel wrote on Saturday, July 30 that you can also expect “your electric bill to go up for the next few years.” (Emphasis added.)
As we said a few months ago, the wholesale cost of generating electricity is falling through the floor. Yet our electric rates continue to climb, because your light bill includes a LOT more than the simple cost of “generating electricity.” Don’t worry if you’re totally confused by Turkel’s explanation. The convoluted process for setting electric rates is incomprehensible to the average Maine ratepayer. If you have a headache after reading the article, you’re not alone. However, one thing is clear, according to Turkel. “Clean energy also is benefiting from the spike in capacity payments.”
Capacity Payments to necessary New England power plants in March 2017 will triple from the average $1 billion per year historically over the last decade to $3 billion for 2017. That is a penalty on Maine ratepayers of about $160 million. And it's about the equivalent of raising the Maine sales tax by a penny. Our Capacity Payments will increase even more the following year (2018) to $4 billion. $4 billion amounts to more than one half of the entire New England energy market value! A few years ago, capacity payments were just one tenth of the energy market value. That’s our money, and it’s being extracted from our economy, and it’s going up in smoke as we continue to build redundant, unnecessary, and useless electricity generation.
But we pay for more than just generation. For reasons that we have explained repeatedly, building wind turbines in our state’s most scenic areas does absolutely nothing to reduce Maine’s use of fossil fuels. However, building the transmission lines that enable wind speculators to erect turbines on Maine mountains, and thus to generate electricity that actually goes to consumers in Connecticut and Massachusetts, gives license to developers to cash in on lavish ratepayer and taxpayer subsidies. (That’s your pocketbook.) The Maine Legislature has specifically encouraged this scheme. And now, it’s all about to have another very real and very direct impact on the size of your light bill. As we have predicted for a very long time, Maine people are REALLY going to pay --- through the nose --- for the privilege of providing the states to our south with insignificant amounts of “clean” energy. Those folks will feel good about themselves, falsely believing they’re saving the planet, while Maine people will pay the very steep price --- literally.
Get ready for next June, and start saving your pennies. Your discretionary income is going down, thanks to bad policies.