Maine's Wind Energy Zone Has Shrunk

Congratulations Maine!  

Two years ago there were 3.4 million acres of Unorganized Territory (UT) in the Expedited Wind Development Area (EA).  Thanks to grass roots citizen action, a law was passed and a process was established allowing people in the UT one chance to "opt out" of the EA. 

Now, assuming that one last appeal (Milton Township) goes our way,  there are only 2.6 million acres in the EA.  

Yes, approximately three quarters of a million acres were removed from the EA, enhancing our efforts to protect Maine's most beautiful places from Big Wind's high negative impacts / low positive benefits.

Wind developers might still want to build there, but now opponents stand a fighting chance.  

Milton Township successfully opted out, but a Pennsylvania wind developer challenged the petition. The wind developer has publicly stated that his company will abandon its plans for a wind project if Milton succeeds at opting out! 

If you can help these last petitioners with legal costs in their their Supreme Court appeal, we can make it a complete sweep: zero opt out reversals by Big Wind.    

Donate now to help pay the Milton legal fees:    

CLICK HERE      

....and specify "Milton Fund"

See the new map below, and click HERE for a summary. 

Ask at Town Meeting: Where is our wind ordinance?

Most Maine cities and towns use zoning, sometimes called a land use ordinance, to help them manage what is important in the community. Zoning can cover just about any land use: barking dogs, houselots, signs, parking… 

In recent years a new land use has captured the attention of municipal governments from Portland to Presque Isle: wind energy. While the Maine Department of Environmental Protection issues permits for wind projects, the state’s standards and protections are weak. But once a wind project permit is granted, you cannot protect yourself.

If your town has not prepared to deal with wind energy, FMM strongly suggests that you do it before a wind developer arrives seeking to build a massive project, with multiple towers as tall as Boston’s downtown skyscrapers. Communities that were not proactive on wind zoning have gone through hell when Big Wind suddenly came to town, pitting neighbor against neighbor, driving deep wedges and dividing communities. Big Wind is a dirty, ugly business that has driven Maine people from their homes, ruined property values, and decimated communities. 

It’s much better to plan.

Since it’s now town meeting season, why not take the initiative right now? Contact your local officials and let them know you want to be prepared. Show up at town meeting and make it an issue.

Good news: there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Dozens of Maine communities have adopted a wind ordinance. Some simply wrote their own, others used a bare-bones template provided by the State Planning Office. (That is a good starting point, but no town should adopt the state's version as-is.) Some of the best written wind ordinances are in little towns like Sumner, Thorndike, Phillips and Buckfield. See the list HERE, many with live links to the actual ordinance, or relevant news stories.

Many of the early-adopting towns called “timeout” with a six month moratorium on accepting wind project applications. During the six month moratorium they learned about Big Wind’s land use implications and they drafted an ordinance suitable for their community. Now many communities are simply doing a cut and paste of these best ordinances from other towns. 

Momentum is growing, and not just in towns and cities that are capable of writing ordinances. Last year almost 50 communities in Maine’s Unorganized Territory -- where there is no municipal government – chose to be removed from a state zoning area where wind projects are easily permitted. See that list HERE.

Some of the major issues towns need to consider when writing a wind ordinance:

  • Noise – Wind turbines and homes never mix well. If you think a mile setback is a long distance for infrasound to travel, think again. 
  • Visual Impact -  Most people think favorably of wind turbines until they learn that they are very high impact and very low benefit.
  • Decommissioning -  Wind developers all use LLCs and they all promise the moon. They are in a highly speculative and unsustainable industry that is essentially a house of cards. To guarantee that someone is going to clean up the blight, you must require a performance bond and you must mandate that the landowner is ultimately responsible for decommissioning. These two requirements should be in every wind ordinance. 

So go to town meeting. Inform your neighbors. Demand a wind ordinance. Protect your community. FMM will gladly consult with any Maine community wishing to pursue a wind ordinance. 

Unsustainable costs of useless wind power in Maine

The wind in Maine’s mountains blows enough only to keep a wind turbine operating about 25% of the time. And yet as this article by Tux Turkel makes clear, it will take hundreds of millions, probably billions, to raze enough of Maine’s wild places and build the snarl of transmission lines that this totally unreliable power source demands. That's IN ADDITION TO the $1 billion plus we've already spent here in Maine to upgrade transmission lines for wind developers!

Maine people will pay for the redundant generation and the unnecessary transmission build-up, but the electricity will be shipped to the south.

While paying for wasteful infrastructure is bad enough, we will pay extra for the irreversible impact on Maine’s tourism industry. We have been investing heavily to attract visitors to the state, but our policy makers have greased the skids for developers who propose to ruin the very natural beauty that attracts visitors here in the first place. All to accommodate a power source that does no good here in Maine.

Do you remember the last time your electricity bill went down? By subsidizing wind developers, you rest assured it will only go up. Read the article in the Press Herald, and ask yourself if this makes any sense.

Record Hill Wind Project: A Big Loser for Yale

Additional Threats From Connecticut Looming

Record Hill finally filed its 2nd quarter 2016 report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week.

The project, constructed with a taxpayer subsidy of more than $100 million, and sold to ratepayers by Angus King before he became a US Senator, was underwritten by Yale University, in its "quest to be to be the world's greenest university."

The Connecticut school boasts that it bought Record Hill to "provide a meaningful economic return to the Endowment while helping the University achieve its sustainability goals."

Aren't those Ivy League folks supposed to be smart?

For the quarter, the Byron & Roxbury, Maine project's average energy price was a paltry $21.11 per megawatt/hour. (That's 2.1 cents per kilowatt/hour.)

Its capacity Factor was merely 24.4%. (This effectively means that three days out of four it doesn't work.)

Total Energy and Capacity Revenues (it's a travesty that we waste capacity payments on wind projects) were $740,000 for the quarter.

This is a serious cash shortfall, considering Record Hill's estimated quarterly debt service is $1.8 million.

Could be interesting when Yale’s investment committee reviews the project’s "sustainability" and "meaningful economic return."

Residents around Ellis Pond, Appalachian Trail hikers, as well as motorists on Maine Scenic Byway Route 17 between Rumford and Rangely, are stuck with a massive industrial eyesore that does nothing to save the planet.

Meanwhile, Connecticut continues plotting to ruin many more Maine mountains as the "Clean Energy RFP" progresses. Rest assured that the bidders in the RFP cannot survive if they win government-mandated contracts at 2 or 3 cents per kilowatt/hour. 

Not unlike those well-educated people at Yale, perhaps we have not learned our lessons. Nobody will know what a bad deal the RFP is until AFTER the contracts have been signed: "Final results of the RFP will be announced to the public when executed contracts are filed for regulatory review." 

Last week Friends of Maine's Mountains had a meeting with Governor Paul LePage to warn him about the Clean Energy RFP's potential impact on Maine's economy and environment.  Over 2000 megawatts of Maine-based wind development has been bid in the RFP.  In the meeting we urged Maine's Chief Executive to use his influence in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to discourage overpriced contracts that could be mandated by the public utilities commissions in those RFP states.

FMM will continue to monitor the process, and we will oppose all Maine wind projects that eventually emerge from the RFP. 

 

 

SunEdison Bankruptcy Update

September is a big month for SunEdison, TerraForm Power, and TerraForm Global (SUNE, TERP, GLBL) as the lawyers continue to wrangle over what remains of last year's energy darling.

SUNE has received offers and/or locked up “Stalking Horse” agreements for over 90% of its pipeline and portfolio. Auctions are scheduled for both the Stalking Horse bids and SUNE’s ownership of TERP and GLBL (including Class B shares with 10 to 1 voting rights superiority) before the end of the month. SUNE’s advisors state that the awarding of winning bids will take only 3-4 business days following the auctions. D.E. Shaw, Madison Dearborn, Appaloosa Capital (in partnership with Canadian Brookfield Asset Management) and an unnamed Chinese energy firm are said to have the most interest in acquiring the subs. All sales of no-bid project assets previously approved by the Court are expected to close during September.

To date, the aggregate amount of offers on the table for SUNE’s portfolio is less than $500 million. However, two motions to the Court this week for sales indicate that SUNE gets little or nothing from the sales. A Texas wind project (27 MW) reported on “the books” with an asset value of $31.4 million was offered $13 million in cash but $11 million goes to pay off a Letter of Credit which was drawn on due to failure to meet project construction deadlines and the remaining $2 million goes to the project's vendors. A UK deal on the books with an asset value of $14.3 million was offered $9 million but $6 million goes to pay off non-recourse debt and $3 million goes to pay off project vendors.

The sales of Maine's Oakfield Wind (operating) and Bingham Wind (under construction) to Terra Nova (a JP Morgan fund) apparently did not go off without a hitch. SUNE/First Wind boasted prior to the construction start of both projects that they had lined up debt and equity for the full $787 million costs. Terra Nova reported in December 2015 that they had purchased the equity in both projects for a total of $202 million. However, SUNE is reporting in its June Monthly Operating Report to the Court that it still has a gross investment in Oakfield of $141.3 million ($72.5 million net with $68.8 million written off) and a net investment of $82.5 million in Bingham.

This data indicates that SUNE received far less equity investment than it had projected, and/or the cost of long term debt was far more expensive than their expectations (lowering the principal amount of the non-recourse loan), so SUNE was forced to provide the balance of investment (more project debt) with its own funds. The write-off on Oakfield shows that there was insufficient projected cash flow to cover the needs of the non-recourse debt lender and equity so SUNE was forced to take a below-market interest rate over the term of the PPA below its funding cost.

The subs are struggling and had to renegotiate their indentures last week due to default for no audited financials. They have until early December to comply. TERP ($1.2 billion loan outstanding) had to pay an upfront fee of $6.25 million, and saw its interest rate permanently increased 50 basis points to 6.375%.  They also saw an added on penalty rate of 300 basis points to 9.375% until the financials are filed but, in any case, not for less than a minimum 90 days. TERP is selling its UK portfolio and looking to sell other poor performing projects in its portfolio. This could include Stetson 2 in Maine and Cohocton in New York. Both projects showed energy rates on FERC filings for 2Q2016 of less than $22/MWH.

GLBL ($810 million loan outstanding) saw its interest rate increase from 9.75% by 400 basis points to 13.75% until it complies with providing up to date audited financial statements. 

The current “junk bond” market rate is around 7% - 8%. Given the rates TERP and GLBL are now paying, if their auctions fail to attract new deep pocket owners capable of turning the two companies around, they too may find themselves in bankruptcy or liquidation in the near future.

The Boards of both TERP and GLBL made firm offers last week to hire away two senior SUNE employees each (a CFO and COO) upon their expected departure from SUNE. There will most likely be a mass exodus of experienced employees during Sep/Oct if it hasn’t started already.

NOTES

Since SUNE filed Chapter 11 with the Court on April 21st there have been a total of 1,119 filings to date. Letters from shareholders are entertaining. There are some who insist on telling the Judge that he must appoint an Equity Holders Committee because they fund the renewables companies that will help stop climate change and save the planet.  The Message Boards on E*TRADE show that many SUNE stockholders still think that it is a good time to buy SUNE stock (trading at 5 cents per share) since they believe it will be resurrected by a white knight buyer or new fortunes in sales of unreported assets. The reorganization legal expenses are running about $40 million per month. The chances of this bankruptcy going Ch. 7 are remote. SUNE has managed to attach provisions in its PSAs for projects that would pay them bonuses 1, 2 or 3 years after a project is completed if a project outperforms minimum thresholds. While the amounts are small it is enough that payments would require an ongoing trustee to manage the recoveries. 

Bingham at last report was on schedule to go commercial sometime 4Q2016. 

Wholesale Electricity Prices Fall, But Light Bills Rise

CLICK HERE for the latest chart showing wholesale electricity prices in the ISO-New England.  

THE NUMBERS ARE AMAZING.

Compare the month-over-month prices and you'll see that by year-end 2016 we could save about 4 BILLION DOLLARS on "energy" costs compared to what we spent a few years ago.  

This huge savings is primarily due to low and stable natural gas prices.  Another factor is conservation/efficiency: the chart shows that we are using less power.  Last, we have made some grid management decisions to help reduce the horrific peak pricing on the hottest and coldest days of the year. 

For comparison, 4 BILLION DOLLARS per year is more money than the State of Maine collects via both the sales tax and the income tax!  It's a lot of money, money that consumers should have in our pockets to boost the economy.  

So why is your light bill still high?

Energy policy.  It matters a lot.  

While New England is starting to come to its senses (procuring and enhancing sustainable base load sources like hydro and gas) we are also making some foolish choices (blowing over 2 BILLION DOLLARS on wind projects that don't scratch the grid's surface, closing reliable power plants with no reliable generators available to replace them).

Our light bills include many charges besides the (now low) cost of energy. For instance, many wind projects, through government-mandated long term contracts, force consumers to pay triple and quadruple the market price. Had the Statoil project been built, we would have paid EIGHT TIMES the market rate for the electricity, thanks to the contract forced upon us by our own Public Utilities Commission!

Another downside to wind proliferation is the cost of all those transmission upgrades that we didn't need but for all the wind lobbyists who convinced regulators that the grid was outdated, and that wind energy would be worth the massive expense (they called it "investment"). If useless and unnecessary wind projects are the heist, then excessive transmission upgrades are the getaway car. 

And "capacity payments" to the valuable power plants have quadrupled in just a few short years, because we need those power plants to keep our lights on, but they need to be paid to stay in business. 

So thank you for staying informed and involved as Maine and our neighbors make critical policy decisions about our environment and our economy.  The mountains deserve our protection.  So do our wallets.  We at FMM will continue to educate the public about these important policies.

If you haven't donated to FMM yet this year, please CLICK HERE today! 

 

2 Crucial Public Comment Opportunities

Deadlines Coming Fast

DEP Rulemaking on Wind Energy

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is asking for preliminary comments on a draft Wind Rule that would improve standards for visual impact, decommissioning, and more. Your comments on this draft can help the DEP Staff write a solid Rule.  Deadline Monday, August 8 at 5:00 PM.

In the wake of the SunEdison bankruptcy, earlier this year FMM urged the DEP to provide assurances that the public will be protected if a wind developer fails to meet its obligations. We are pleased with the DEP's reaction, and we urge YOU to take advantage of this important opportunity.  Note:  this is a draft Rule. DEP will take your comments under advisement as they prepare the eventual Rule language.  

To read the draft Rule and to submit your comment, CLICK HERE

To Read the comments that FMM has submitted, CLICK HERE 

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LUPC Hearing on Milton Opt-Out

For the first six months of this year, we invested lots of time and resources helping Mainers take advantage of the opportunity to opt-out of the Expedited Wind Area.  Dedicated volunteers in almost 50 Maine communities submitted Opt-Out petitions to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC).  

Two of those petitions are being challenged by wind interests, and your support will help.

Milton Township is up first, and the public hearing will be Wednesday in Bethel. A wind developer wants Milton to remain Expedited and the residents want out. LUPC will decide.  Public comment will be accepted at the hearing in two sessions (afternoon & evening). Written comment may be submitted until August 22.

The proceeding boils down to the Commission answering two questions:  

1. Does Milton's removal from the Expedited Area have an unreasonable adverse effect on Maine's ability to achieve its "goals" for installed wind capacity?

2. Is the removal consistent with the principles and goals of LUPC's Comprehensive Land Use Plan?

The obvious and correct answers are NO and YES.  Naturally the Wind Lobby is arguing YES and NO.  

So please submit your comment now.  

The background info is HERE at the LUPC web site.

The public hearing particulars and commenting instructions are HERE

 

PAY UP, SUCKER --- electricity increases next June

Get ready to pay A LOT MORE for your electricity.

Get ready to pay A LOT MORE for your electricity.

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.

SunEdison crashes and burns, declares bankruptcy

Financial implosion likely to hasten exit of wind capital from Maine

Statement by Chris O’Neil, director of public policy, Friends of Maine’s Mountains, April 21, 2016

“Sun Edison’s operating wind projects own very lucrative long-term contracts that are sometimes triple and quadruple wholesale market rates. While we will enjoy relief from SunEdison’s ruthless march on Maine, plenty of scavengers are just waiting to swoop in and pick at the carcass. We’ll be watching. (statement continued, BELOW.)

Sun-Edison filed for bankruptcy protection it was announced today, April 21, 2016

Sun-Edison filed for bankruptcy protection it was announced today, April 21, 2016

“Nevertheless, this financial collapse occurs just as the Tri-State RFP is about to make important decisions on bids from Maine projects. But today’s news shows that at least in Maine, new wind projects can't compete given the current energy market conditions. Their business models are simply unsustainable, and that’s why they’re imploding.”

“As we noted yesterday in a press release about the opt-out petition process, those who are determined to protect Mine’s invaluable wilderness assets are fighting back, and we’re winning key battles. Jeremy Payne has noted that wind capital is now moving out of Maine. He’s right, and now he can expect to see that process to accelerate.”

###

EXCERPT, Friends of Maine’s press release, February 25, 2016:

Uncertainty injected into southern New England Clean Energy RFP decisions

Major disadvantage for ME companies in regional RFP process

Growing opposition in Maine, and its confirmed effectiveness at deterring wind development, could have a major impact on a consortium of agencies and electric utilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Last fall, the consortium issued a Request for Proposals to deliver at least 5,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy to those states, with proposals due in late January of 2016. The initial results of the RFP made headlines all over New England, when the consortium announced that it had received 51 separate proposals from developers.

On January 29, utilities Emera Maine and Central Maine Power announced that they had submitted a joint transmission proposal in response to the RFP. O’Neil said that particular news defined the next new battleground for wind turbine opponents in Maine. He described wind development in Maine as “the heist,” and costly new transmission systems as “the getaway car.”

“Our strategy is no secret. We want states to our south to know that the regulatory and legal hurdles they face as they try to rob Maine of its famous wilderness areas are enormous, and hopefully insurmountable. They will encounter an especially burdensome process here. In fact, it’s probably in their best interest that they rule out Maine wind right now, and instead pursue viable solutions to the challenges facing the grid and the environment.”

###

Press Release, Friends of Maine's Mountains, April 20, 2016

Wind opponents: market uncertainty "exactly what we're trying to achieve"

(Weld, Maine) One of Maine’s largest private land owners has cited the “uncertainty” of wind power development in Maine as one of the primary reasons it has withdrawn its request to challenge Molunkus Township’s petition to remove itself from the state’s “expedited permitting area.”

Attorney Dean Beaupain, representing Lakeville Shores, Inc., notified the Maine Land Use Planning Commission of the change of heart in a letter dated April 19th. Lakeville Shores is owned by H.C. Haynes, Inc.

The defeat comes just weeks after the head of the Maine Renewable Energy Association said that wind opposition in Maine “has caused some companies to push pause on their development plans and…has caused some companies to re-deploy their capital outside of Maine.”

“Look what twenty-five ordinary Maine citizens were able to accomplish by standing up for their rights,” said Chris O’Neil, director of public affairs for Friends of Maine’s Mountains. “Big Wind lobbyists were able to snuff out the rights of Maine citizens in 2008, but the pendulum is now swinging back the other way. The folks in Molunkus have added more uncertainty to the financial prospects of big wind companies in Maine, exactly what we are trying to achieve.”

Twenty-five residents of Molunkus Township were the first to submit an “opt-out” petition to the State of Maine. Land owners like Haynes have the right to contest the petitions, but now that the company has dropped opposition, any future wind development in Molunkus must include citizen input.

For several months, wind opponents have been fanning out across the state, explaining to residents how to gather petition signatures and "opt out" of Maine's Expedited Permitting Area for Wind Energy, also called the Expedited Area (EA). The opportunity ends June 30.

Wind projects proposed in these EA are currently not required to win local zoning approval. The Unorganized Territory (where most wind development is targeted) comprises the majority of the state’s land mass, but is home to just one percent of the population. The EA was shrewdly created in a little-understood maneuver of the Maine Legislature, when it unanimously passed the Wind Energy Act in 2008. Lawmakers, who at the time believed wind energy to be useful and necessary, wanted to make it quicker and easier to build industrial wind turbines in rural Maine. The net result was that a tiny percentage of Maine people were stripped of land use rights and protections that citizens in the rest of the state enjoy. More than 50 Maine towns in other parts of the state have adopted protective wind energy ordinances since 2008, but residents of the “expedited area” in the Unorganized Territory lost the ability to do the same, the moment Governor John Baldacci signed the Wind Energy Act into law.

Since January 1st, dozens of opt-out petitions have been turned in to state officials.

O’Neil said the exodus of wind spending that Payne bemoaned is a major victory for groups like FMM, who argue that erecting wind turbines is a waste of taxpayer and ratepayer money that will hurt Maine’s economy by raising electricity costs while impeding tourism, Maine's biggest industry. The state is a well-known vacation destination for skiers, boaters, hunters, hikers, fishing enthusiasts and people seeking solitude, away from more urban and industrialized areas.

“Our strategy is no secret, as demonstrated by the people of Molunkus. We want the shareholders of the huge wind corporations to know about the enormously expensive regulatory and legal hurdles they face as they try to rob Maine of its famous wild areas. I hope all the wind company CEOs read that letter from Mr. Baupain and get the message.”

To read the uplifting concession letter from Attorney Beaupain, CLICK HERE.

###

Large landowner gives up on challenging “opt-out” petition

Wind opponents: market uncertainty "exactly what we're trying to achieve"

(Weld, Maine) One of Maine’s largest private land owners has cited the “uncertainty” of wind power development in Maine as one of the primary reasons it has withdrawn its request to challenge Molunkus Township’s petition to remove itself from the state’s “expedited permitting area.”

Attorney Dean Beaupain, representing Lakeville Shores, Inc., notified the Maine Land Use Planning Commission of the change of heart in a letter dated April 19th. Lakeville Shores is owned by H.C. Haynes, Inc.

The defeat comes just weeks after the head of the Maine Renewable Energy Association said that wind opposition in Maine “has caused some companies to push pause on their development plans and…has caused some companies to re-deploy their capital outside of Maine.”

“Look what twenty-five ordinary Maine citizens were able to accomplish by standing up for their rights,” said Chris O’Neil, director of public affairs for Friends of Maine’s Mountains. “Big Wind lobbyists were able to snuff out the rights of Maine citizens in 2008, but the pendulum is now swinging back the other way. The folks in Molunkus have added more uncertainty to the financial prospects of big wind companies in Maine, exactly what we are trying to achieve.”

Twenty-five residents of Molunkus Township were the first to submit an “opt-out” petition to the State of Maine. Land owners like Haynes have the right to contest the petitions, but now that the company has dropped opposition, any future wind development in Molunkus must include citizen input.

For several months, wind opponents have been fanning out across the state, explaining to residents how to gather petition signatures and "opt out" of Maine's Expedited Permitting Area for Wind Energy, also called the Expedited Area (EA). The opportunity ends June 30.

Wind projects proposed in these EA are currently not required to win local zoning approval. The Unorganized Territory (where most wind development is targeted) comprises the majority of the state’s land mass, but is home to just one percent of the population. The EA was shrewdly created in a little-understood maneuver of the Maine Legislature, when it unanimously passed the Wind Energy Act in 2008. Lawmakers, who at the time believed wind energy to be useful and necessary, wanted to make it quicker and easier to build industrial wind turbines in rural Maine. The net result was that a tiny percentage of Maine people were stripped of land use rights and protections that citizens in the rest of the state enjoy. More than 50 Maine towns in other parts of the state have adopted protective wind energy ordinances since 2008, but residents of the “expedited area” in the Unorganized Territory lost the ability to do the same, the moment Governor John Baldacci signed the Wind Energy Act into law.

Since January 1st, dozens of opt-out petitions have been turned in to state officials.

O’Neil said the exodus of wind spending that Payne bemoaned is a major victory for groups like FMM, who argue that erecting wind turbines is a waste of taxpayer and ratepayer money that will hurt Maine’s economy by raising electricity costs while impeding tourism, Maine's biggest industry. The state is a well-known vacation destination for skiers, boaters, hunters, hikers, fishing enthusiasts and people seeking solitude, away from more urban and industrialized areas.

“Our strategy is no secret, as demonstrated by the people of Molunkus. We want the shareholders of the huge wind corporations to know about the enormously expensive regulatory and legal hurdles they face as they try to rob Maine of its famous wild areas. I hope all the wind company CEOs read that letter from Mr. Baupain and get the message.”

To read the uplifting concession letter from Attorney Beaupain, CLICK HERE.

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What Not to Do When You Win Powerball

If every man, woman and child in New England split a $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot, we'd each get $77.  

If every worker in New England got a $1.50 per hour pay raise, the total earnings increase in one month would be equal to that Powerball jackpot: $1.2 billion.  

If the customary wild spikes in electricity costs came under control for just the month of February, New England ratepayers would pocket...you guessed it, Powerball: $1.2 billion.  

Well last month in New England, that's exactly what happened. Ratepayers saved $1.2 billion over what we spent in February 2015. 

See the chart here.

Let's write that out, with all the zeroes.  $1,200,000,000.

Right in our pockets, to spend on cars, food, clothes, tuition... Pretty good for the economy, in all likelihood.

How did this happen, and why is it not front page news?  

It happened for a number of reasons. Here are a few:  Natural gas from the nearby Marcellus region has become so plentiful, it has transformed our energy scene.  Fossil fuel prices are extraordinarily low.  The winter was mild. The New England grid did a good job planning for the customary winter peak crisis. 

The lead story in today's Portland Press Herald was about how Maine's lobster industry might lose $10.6 million per year because of a possible international trade flap.  Nobody wants to see the lobster fishery take a hit, and $10.6 million is real money. It's less than 1% of how much we just pocketed in February because of low electricity costs, yet it isn't news!  

In today's same newspaper, the banner headline was about Maine's forest products industry dilemma, and how biomass electricity generators in are in danger of failing because they cannot compete. This -- along with the cascading bad news about mill closures and other forest industry hardships -- is truly sad news.  

Legislators today are considering whether to subsidize our biomass plants, which in recent years have provided about 25% of Maine electricity generation. The "subsidy" could come in the form of government-mandated power purchasing contracts at above market prices.  A tough call, with all those jobs on the line, and with New England preparing in the next few years to close a quarter of our dispatchable base load and peak load generators.  

Yet in Hartford and Providence and Boston it's still considered cool to claim your utility is "buying" Maine wind energy.  

Even as our reliable biomass generators spiral toward their demise, Maine and the New England states continue to grant above-market government-mandated contracts to non-dispatchable generators (wind) that provide barely any jobs, and that cannot replace or even displace a dirty old fossil fuel plant, even as wind sprawls its massive and expensive infrastructure across Maine's magnificent landscape. We are blowing billions building unnecessary but otherwise fashionable energy infrastructure that does us no good, yet we wring our hands as our existing biomass plants are allowed to wither and die.   

Friends of Maine's Mountains has consistently argued against government-mandated contracts, especially when they are at above-market prices (remember Statoil?).  And most especially when they are for low quality, unnecessary, high-impact generation like wind.  Adding insult to injury, the monetary subsidies are increasingly favoring wind over the higher quality renewables. 

Our energy priorities sometimes amount to fashion statements rather than sound policies.  Today's legislation in Augusta is a band aid approach to a problem of our own making.  The Press Herald article mentions the extraordinarily high costs that policymakers and regulators saddled onto ratepayers a couple decades ago.  In the last decade we've continued to meddle with the same risky favoritism, but we've abandoned biomass in favor of wind, which we are apparently already beginning to regret.  

We do not envy legislators in Augusta who this afternoon are grappling with this dilemma, a dilemma that they helped create, and one that we've seen before.  

Just as quickly as we gained $1.2 billion, we could blow it.  Listen to the Utilities Committee this afternoon:  CLICK HERE.

Big Victory For Maine's Environment and Economy

Planned wind projects in Maine could be cancelled

For Immediate Release

Weld, Maine

An ambitious bill written by the utility and wind power lobby was unanimously killed yesterday in Augusta by a legislative committee. 

LD 1513 would have undone an established law that protects ratepayers from large companies seeking to control the market for electricity generation and transmission. Transmission utilities like Central Maine Power Company and Emera Maine were prohibited from owning generation plants when the Restructuring Act was passed 16 years ago.  

In the last three years utilities and wind generators have brought controversial cases to the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, because the companies sought to do enter "affiliated interest" relationships, in which companies held by joint ownership sought to partner on generation projects requiring expensive transmission expenditures for delivery of the power.  Friends of Maine's Mountains (FMM) has opposed all of these attempts because power producing companies have an incentive to build generators in remote areas far from population centers, while utilities that are essentially sister companies have an incentive to build transmission lines hundreds of miles long.  FMM convinced the legislature that this market control is bad for ratepayers, and especially bad for mountains that have been targeted by wind development. 

LD 1513 was written by Central Maine Power, it's parent company Iberdrola, an affiliated company called Iberdrola Renewables, America's second largest wind developer.  Emera Maine assisted.  A consortium of LD 1513 opponents led by FMM included Anthony Buxton of the Independent Energy Consumer Group and Ben Smith of Houlton Water Company.  Opponents provided forceful and compelling testimony both at a February public hearing and a March 8 work session.  See FMM's testimony here.  

Chris O'Neil, FMM's Director of Government Affairs said: "After several language revisions and attempted amendments, the Committee finally said, 'No way.  We don't need or want the sort of market dominance that LD 1513 enables.'  We are pleased that Maine's ratepayers and environment won a big one yesterday."

FMM has welcomed recent reports that wind developers are losing interest in Maine.  O'Neil added that this defeat should send a message to policymakers in southern New England.  "We were astonished a few weeks ago to learn that 51 renewable energy projects are being considered in an RFP process, and that many of those projects would have catastrophic consequences for Maine, all to provide insignificant amounts of expensive electricity to meet arbitrary requirements" in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.  "Now, with defeat of LD 1513" O'Neil said, "some of those projects are less likely to be completed or even proposed, and we in Maine couldn't be happier if killing this bill also kills those horrible projects under consideration in the RFP." 

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Contact Chris O'Neil   (207) 590-3842           mainemountainfriends@gmail.com

When your roof is caving in, don't spend your paycheck on lawn ornaments!

The New England Grid is changing rapidly.  Large workhorse generation stations are retiring in big numbers. That can be good, as lots of those are dirty old coal and oil plants in Southern New England.  

But it's also bad, because when we have to build new generation facilities, our light bills will increase.  

While Maine has the third cleanest electricity generation fleet in the nation, and while New England as a region is also very clean,  in the last few years we have made a push for lots more wind generation.  

This is a problem.  Why?  

Well for starters it ruins some of Maine's most special places.  And wind turbines are hundreds of miles from electricity customers, so all those new transmission lines will really whack our light bills.  And of course, closing base-load nuke and coal plants reduces our ability to reliably keep the lights on.  A thousand new wind turbines in Maine cannot perform the crucial work performed by one nuke plant like the soon-closing 680 megawatt Pilgrim Nuclear Plant in Massachusetts.  Even after we spend billions on new wind turbines, we will still need to invest in new base-load and peak-load generating plants to run the grid.  This would be very costly. 

Continuing to dump billions of dollars into remote wind and its corresponding transmission lines is like a homeowner blowing her paycheck on patio furniture while there is a growing hole in her roof.  If we want more renewables, lets stick to renewable generation that is dispatchable and scalable… you know... the useful stuff:  hydro, biomass, rooftop solar, tidal, etc.

This infographic from the New England Grid operator clearly illustrates the pickle we are in if we keep wasting our money on "patio furniture"

 http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/02/NE_Power_Grid_2015-2016_Regional_Profile.pdf

 

Emergency facing Maine’s energy ratepayers!

Legislators told to “trust” giant overseas corporations

Tomorrow, March 3, 2016, the Legislature’s Committee on Energy & Utilities could be asked to vote for a disaster.  

LD 1513 seeks to undo a very wise Maine law that prohibits cozy business dealings between utilities (like CMP and Emera Maine) and generation companies (like SunEdison and Iberdrola Renewablles). The purpose of the existing law is to prevent generation and distribution companies from conspiring to financially exploit consumers like you.

Do you trust big corporationS to use the honor system?

Do you trust big corporationS to use the honor system?

What does LD 1513 have to do with this? CMP and Iberdrola Renewables are owned by the same parent company. And they are in Augusta right now, telling legislators to trust them: “We won’t even talk about these mutual projects with our colleagues, honest! Oh, and did we mention it’s about jobs?”

If this bill passes, it could result in another Big Wind blitz on rural Maine. Utilities like CMP will be happy to spend billions on unnecessary new transmission lines to accommodate the useless wind projects.  And we'll pick up the tab. CMP says LD 1513 is just meant to clarify the law.  Friends of Maine’s Mountains was recently a party to a lawsuit in which the existing and very necessary legal restraint played a crucial role, and the truth is, the law is very clear: they can’t do it. And for good reasons. 

Let’s STOP this sneaky attempt to skirt a good law protecting Maine citizens. For an in-depth article about how deeply corrupt Maine wind companies are, click here. Then please contact the Legislative Committee HERE and tell them to protect Maine’s electricity ratepayers, and stop destroying Maine’s environment and economy: LEAVE THE LAW IN PLACE! 

Industry spokesman: wind companies losing interest in Maine

Uncertainty injected into southern "New England Clean Energy" RFP decisions

(Weld, Maine) Opponents of building giant wind turbines in Maine’s remote wilderness are deploying effective tactics that have chased wind capital out of the state, according to Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association.

Jeremy Payne, spokesperson for Maine's wind industrialists. Photo by Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine.

Jeremy Payne, spokesperson for Maine's wind industrialists. Photo by Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine.

In recent weeks, wind opponents have been fanning out across the state, explaining to residents how to gather petition signatures and "opt out" of Maine's Expedited Permitting Area for Wind Energy, also called the Expedited Area (EA). (See "Wind energy to suffer another blow in Maine," September 20, 2015.)

Wind projects proposed in these extremely rural areas are currently not required to win local zoning approval. These areas comprise the majority of the state’s land mass, but are home to just one percent of the population. The EA was shrewdly created in a little-understood maneuver of the Maine Legislature, when it unanimously passed the Wind Energy Act in 2008. Lawmakers wanted to make it quicker and easier to build industrial wind turbines in rural Maine. The net result was that a tiny percentage of Maine people were stripped of land use rights and protections that citizens in the rest of the state enjoy. More than 50 Maine towns in other parts of the state have adopted protective wind energy ordinances since 2008, but residents of the “expedited area” lost the ability to do the same, the moment Governor John Baldacci signed the Wind Energy Act into law.

Recently, however, dozens of opt-out petitions have been turned in to state officials, and Payne conceded this has made the state far less attractive to wind developers.

“At a minimum I think it has caused some companies to push pause on their development plans, and at a maximum I think it has caused some companies to re-deploy their capital outside of Maine,” Payne told the Maine Today papers a few days ago.

Chris O’Neil, a spokesperson for the anti-wind group Friends of Maine’s Mountains, said the exodus of wind investment capital is a major victory for groups like his, who argue that erecting wind turbines is a wasteful investment of taxpayer and ratepayer money that will hurt Maine’s economy. The state is a well-known vacation destination for skiers, boaters, hunters, hikers, fishing enthusiasts and people seeking solitude, away from more urban and industrialized areas.

“This news has electrified wind opponents like nothing else has,” said O’Neil. “If the money to build them is running away, then the turbines will not be built. This gives us a major shot of adrenaline, so the interests Mr. Payne represents can certainly count on increasingly ferocious and costly battles for many years to come.”

Major disadvantage for ME companies in regional RFP process

Growing opposition in Maine, and its confirmed effectiveness at deterring wind development, could have a major impact on a consortium of agencies and electric utilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Last fall, the consortium issued a Request for Proposals to deliver at least 5,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy to those states, with proposals due in late January of 2016. The initial results of the RFP made headlines all over New England, when the consortium announced that it had received 51 separate proposals from developers.

On January 29, utilities Emera Maine and Central Maine Power announced that they had submitted a joint transmission proposal in response to the RFP. O’Neil said that particular news defined the next new battleground for wind turbine opponents in Maine. He described wind development in Maine as “the heist,” and costly new transmission systems as “the getaway car.”

“Our strategy is no secret. We want states to our south to know that the regulatory and legal hurdles they face as they try to rob Maine of its famous wilderness areas are enormous, and hopefully insurmountable. They will encounter an especially burdensome process here. In fact, it’s probably in their best interest that they rule out Maine wind right now, and instead pursue viable solutions to the challenges facing the grid and the environment.”

###

 

FMM Steps Up vs. Industrial Wind Onslaught

FMM Steps Up vs. Industrial Wind Onslaught

For immediate release

(Weld, ME)  Friends of Maine’s Mountains announced today it is increasing its opposition to industrial wind development in Maine. 

“The New England Clean Energy RFP is the biggest threat to Maine since the Great Fires of 1947” said Chris O’Neil, FMM’s Policy Director. 

The RFP is an electricity solicitation from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Generation and Transmission developers responded this week with 51 project proposals that will undergo review for the next few months.     

Much of the proposed development would be in Maine.

“Maine and New England already have among the cleanest and most expensive electricity in America,” O’Neil said.  “Now southern New England wants to make it even more expensive while turning Maine into their wind plantation.  It is unacceptable and we need to to stop it.”

O’Neil cited the closure of four New England power stations as examples of Maine “getting the short end of the stick.” 

Vermont Yankee (closed) Pilgrim Station (closing), Brayton Point (closing), and Salem Harbor (closed, but facing NIMBY opposition to its plan to re-fuel the oil/coal plant with natural gas) together had almost equal generating capacity as all the Maine power producers combined.  “But now people down there don’t want power plants in their back yards,” O’Neil said.  “They’d rather ruin Maine, and that’s just plain wrong.”

Closing dirty old Massachusetts coal/oil plants like Brayton (1500 MW) and Salem Harbor (750 MW) is certainly good for Maine air.  But the owners' attempts to re-fuel those plants to natural gas has met fierce opposition.  Closing nukes like Vermont Yankee (620 MW) and Pilgrim (690 MW) only increases New England's need for base load / dispatchable power, not stochastic.  Even if we were to build 15,000 MW of wind, three days out of four we would still need the dispatchable generation to keep the lights on.  "Capacity payments to those firm New England plants have grown from $1 Billion to $4 Billion in just five years. Every penny of that comes from our light bills," O'Neil said.

The redundancy and its resulting cost-shifting is unsustainable. Moreover, all four of the above generation plants are/were near population centers, not requiring expensive new transmission from the outlying regions that in 20 years is likely to be obsolete.  (Utilities are thrilled to build new transmission and get their guaranteed 12% return on equity.)  "Yes, when you add it all up," O'Neil said, "building wind is essentially an extravagant waste of money, so ruining the hills and mountains isn't worth it."

“Ratepayers and taxpayers will be forced to squander billions of dollars on unnecessary and unreliable energy infrastructure that will still require conventional generation to keep the grid going, and that won’t put a dent in climate change,” O’Neil said. “We need dispatchable base load power if we want to keep closing those older plants. This is like trying to replace jumbo jets with hang gliders.” 

O’Neil pointed out that the plan “is being pitched as only affecting ratepayers in southern New England.  That’s ludicrous,” O’Neil said.  The negative impacts will harm all the system’s ratepayers via costs for energy, transmission and capacity payments for dispatchable plants.  “Anyone who thinks they’ll be insulated from this massive hit is dreaming.”

If the projects are built the industrial assault on rural Maine would be unprecedented, with over 2000 additional installed megawatts of 50 story wind towers in some of the state’s most revered places.  The expected output from the inefficient wind buildup would only supply about 500 of the 16,000 to 26,000 megawatts that the New England grid requires on a daily basis. “Starry-eyed policymakers in southern New England are jumping off a cliff, and they want to take us with them,” said O’Neil.  “Maine needs to defend itself.”

FMM has been helping rural citizens in the Expedited Wind Permitting Area to opt-out of that fast-tracked wind category. About three dozen communities are doing that between now and June 30, when the opportunity ends.  O’Neil sees the clean RFP as a wake up call for dozens more townships and plantations in the unorganized territory. “We are working now on getting lots more opt-out petitions submitted,” he said.   http://www.tinyurl.com/GetOut2016

FMM is also taking its message to both policymakers and the public in southern New England. “40 years ago Maine got rid of 8000 billboards, causing harm to many local businesses,” O’Neil said, “in part to make Maine more attractive to our tourist friends from our south. Now they want to come here and plaster thousands of gyrating skyscrapers all over our mountains because they don’t want to see them in their own states. Mainers need to express our outrage at the lunacy of this plan.”  

Contact Chris O’Neil  (207) 590-3842

 

Maine citizens are irritating wind speculators

WCSH-TV in Portland and WLBZ-TV in Bangor, sister stations that have the largest media audience in Maine, aired a story a few days ago about petitions that have been submitted to the state’s Land Use Planning Commission by the Moosehead Region Futures Committee. Long story short, the petitions are a critical step in restoring land use rights and protections that were stripped from a tiny percentage of Maine people when Governor John Baldacci signed the Wind Energy Act into law in 2008.

Jeremy Paine, the ever-present lobbyist who is paid by the wind industry to ladle out PR mumbo jumbo, was not happy, characterizing those who signed the petitions as “people who are trying to drive off investment.”

That is EXACTLY what we are trying to do, and we hope it works. Because “investment” that depends so heavily on taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, that produces no real benefits to the people of Maine, that threatens the state’s economy --- is investment that SHOULD be driven off, with a vengeance.

We are particularly pleased by this telling story excerpt on the TV stations’ web sites: “Opponents to the petition, including the Maine Renewable Energy Association, a non-profit trade association supporting renewable energy, says it’s merely a stall tactic that will create uncertainty and drive away developers.”

Clearly, wind opponents are making an impact, and getting under the industry's skin. This petition process might be one of the most effective tactics to date in the long fight to keep giant wind turbines from ruining Maine’s most pristine mountains and wild areas.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to the Moosehead Region Futures Committee, as well as dozens of other individuals all over rural Maine for their hard work gathering signatures.  Of course it would be remiss not to thank the hundreds of citizens who convinced the Maine Legislature to make the petition process possible.

If you’d like to learn more about the petition process and get personally involved, a good place to start is “Wind energy to suffer another blow in Maine,” a blog post Friends of Maine’s Mountains published in late December. Let’s keep the pressure on!

Wind peddlers will never catch us off guard

Watch this video if you’d like a brief summary of the likely goings-on in Augusta during the upcoming legislative session.

What all opponents of industrial wind turbines in Maine wilderness areas come to realize is that idealism is not a very practical tool in this fight. Outrage and indignation about "what’s right” don't really matter --- which is hard to accept. In fact, one of the first lessons we all learn is that if we’re not careful and we don’t pay attention, wind developers have no hesitation at all about using very sneaky maneuvers. The only way for us to counter is to be in Augusta to watch them like a hawk. (NEED AN EXAMPLE of how sneaky the wind industry is? Read this REVEALING INVESTIGATIVE REPORT.)

We all have to be vigilant and share information. Count on FMM to always be investigating what’s going on in the hallways and hearing rooms at the Statehouse, at the regulatory agencies, and in the courts. And of course, we’re always happy to know what YOU are hearing out in the field. If you ever want to pass along information, please feel free to reach us at mainemountainfriends@gmail.com.

 

Wind energy to suffer another blow in Maine

(Weld, Maine) Earlier this month, the Maine Supreme Court handed wind industrialists a landmark defeat.

Now, a Maine environmental group is following that up by mailing instructions this week to 6,000 registered voters in Maine’s unorganized territory, part of an educational campaign to explain how to "opt out" of Maine's Expedited Permitting Area for Wind Energy, also called the Expedited Area (EA).

Funded and distributed by Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), the mailer spells out how residents of the state’s most remote townships and plantations can obtain a petition from the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC). With very few signatures, petitions can remove all or part of these localities from the Expedited Area, which means that any future wind development would need to win zoning approval from LUPC before it applies for a permit.

Wind projects proposed in these areas are currently not required to do so. The unorganized territory comprises the majority of the state’s land mass, but it is home to just one percent of the population. The EA was shrewdly created in a little-understood maneuver of the Maine Legislature, when it unanimously passed the Wind Energy Act in 2008. Lawmakers wanted to make it quicker and easier to build industrial wind turbines in rural Maine. The net result was that a tiny percentage of Maine people were stripped of land use rights and protections that citizens in the rest of the state enjoy. More than 50 Maine towns in other parts of the state have adopted protective wind energy ordinances since 2008, but residents of the unorganized territory lost the ability to do the same, the moment Governor John Baldacci signed the Wind Energy Act into law.

“As was revealed by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, the entire process was capricious and secretive,” said Chris O’Neil, a policy consultant to FMM. “The devious manner in which these folks were stripped of their rights was, at the time, grasped by very few.” (Click for additional VIDEO COMMENTARY by Chris O’Neil.)

O’Neil said opposition to wind projects has escalated significantly since the Wind Energy Act passed, but because the Act remains law, applications filed for projects in the Expedited Area are effectively rubber-stamped as they navigate the process to secure a permit. He said that by getting enough signatures on a petition, wind opponents in that part of the state will be able to regain their rights.

“The required number of valid signatures is low, just ten percent of voter turnout total in the last gubernatorial election. So a township in which twenty people voted in 2014 would only need two signatures to secure an effective remedy and opt out,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil warned that there is one catch --- there’s a very short window of time in which LUPC will accept petitions, from January 1 through June 30. He said residents can start gathering signatures now, however, and that at least 25 petitions are already circulating. FMM mailed the instructions Friday, so residents will begin receiving them in the next few days.

To get your petition click here:   http://www.tinyurl.com/GetOut2016

Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) is a nonprofit organization that opposes the environmental and economic destruction from industrial wind energy. For more information: http://www.FriendsofMainesMountains.org.

ON THE WEB

WABI: environmental damage by wind industrialists

Don't be surprised by this TV news report by WABI-TV in Bangor, in which residents of these small Maine towns express their indignation that an out-of-state wind mogul is damaging their lives and not affording them simple respect.

Then, below, click on the gallery and take a look at these stunning photographs taken in Vermont by Roger Irwin and Steve Wright. SHOCKING. They illustrate very plainly what it really requires to erect an industrial complex of giant wind turbines on the top of any mountain. In Vermont and in our state, it requires the destruction of scenic mountains, FOREVER.

Maine’s economy depends on the tourism dollar. Hikers, skier, campers, hunters and leaf-peepers are tourists who value Maine's natural resources very highly.

But unknown to most Mainers, as industrialists are destroying the state's most precious natural resources, turbine electricity generated on Maine mountains is going out of state to Massachusetts and Connecticut. In Maine, turbines do nothing to get us off oil, because our electricity already comes from overwhelmingly clean sources. And imagine the damage that clearing forest land for transmission lines, which will cost Maine people billions, will inflict on taxpayers and ratepayers here. Just so our neighbors to the south can sanctimoniously claim they're using "clean" energy.

Should you be alarmed? Yes. Many thanks to Peak Keepers of Vermont’s Mountains for publishing their fine online brochure, and for bringing this grave threat to our attention. CLICK on gallery below.