October 4, 2014
Blogs, Maine

Harvard University’s 100% renewables goal and Maine’s Stetson II wind project

Posted by Brad Blake on October 3, 2014 | Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine | www.windtaskforce.org

This week, there is a story about Harvard University’s goal of using 100% renewable energy in the Harvard Crimson. Be sure to not only read the story, but also the comments. Whereas the story is critical of the world’s best electricity grid not being conducive to the widespread use of renewables, it has opened the door for some of our wind warriors to try to do some educating to all the victims of green group think in a liberal college. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/9/30/the-fantasy-of-100-percent-renewables/

I couldn’t help but comment because of the corrupt connection between Harvard and First Wind’s Stetson II project, which has been written about previously on the CTFWP site. Harvard signed a PPA to purchase half of Stetson II’s output and they now have the honor (those smart Harvard people!) of having a PPA for the WORST producing of all the Maine wind sites, at less than 20% capacity factor! Below is my comment posted in the Harvard Crimson:

Harvard signed a Purchase Power agreement for wind power at Stetson II, more than 300 miles away in remote rural Maine. This project, encompassing 17 GE 1.5MW turbines sits on top of two once gorgeous little mountains, Jimmey Mt. and Owl Mt. that were blasted to pieces, scalped and leveled for a project that produces less than 20% of its design capacity. What a poor investment by Harvard!

But the story behind this project is even worse, as it represents the fleecing of taxpayers for useless wind projects and the corrupt influence of people in high places. It starts out in 2009 with First Wind being in its usual precarious financial situation, not obtaining financing to proceed with the risky project after doing some initial site work.

The $42 million rescue of First Wind’s mothballed Stetson II was part of the first Obama economic stimulus. Here is the connection: Former President of Harvard Larry Summers was Obama’s chief economic advisor at the time. (Summers was Treasury Secretary under Clinton) He was in position to include or exclude projects in this stimulus package. Later, in the second stimulus package, the same project, Stetson II, got $19.3 million of the total $235 million wind developers in Maine got from ARRA Sec. 1603 grants. Stetson II has less than 20% capacity factor since coming on line.

Summers had previously been the President of Harvard, as well as a highly paid director of the DL Shaw hedge fund, which contributed heavily to Obama and was a heavy investor, along with Madison Dearborn, in UPC/First Wind. Madison Dearborn, of Chicago, was also a major backer of Obama. So, connect the politically favorable dots. Summers helps to bail out Shaw’s & MD’s investments in First Wind and 6 months later, Harvard University, in its zeal to be “green” signs up to buy half of the output of a wind site in a remote part of Maine.

It is disgusting that one phone call by a highly placed influential individual commits Harvard to a lousy deal to bail out an unsuccessful project. It is also disgusting that Harvard would have such blinders on in its zeal to be “green” that it doesn’t make a fact based, smart decision. But most disgusting is Harvard’s role in promoting the destruction of a gorgeous piece of scenic Maine, with loss of hundreds of acres of carbon sequestering forest, fragmentation of wildlife habitat, alteration of the mountain hydrology, and placement of bird and bat killing 389 ft tall machines that are out of scale and out of place, within the viewshed of the jewel of the northeast, Mt. Katahdin in nearby Baxter State Park. Harvard should be ashamed!

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/10/04/harvard-universitys-100-renewables-goal-and-maines-stetson-ii-wind-project/