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The charade of industrial wind  

Credit:  By Paul Ackerman | The Times Record | 2016-02-16 | www.timesrecord.com ~~

Maine abounds in natural beauty. Historically there have always been practical and impractical uses of the Maine geography and waters. In recent years we have been brow beaten by a corrupt government philosophy into allowing an ever increasing degree of impractical destruction of Maine by the industrial wind industry, related power companies and businesses.

The majority of Mainers have no idea how it has been happening, and they are being told over and over that this is all needed to “combat climate change,” and therefore it is all a “virtuous argument.” You don’t agree? You’ll be demonized as a “denier” or worse. Never mind that the record through emails shows that the proponents have colluded beyond public purview for years to achieve their aims.

Big Wind – how did it happen here? May 8, 2007 our then-Gov. John Baldacci foisted on Maine both a “Task Force on Wind Power Development in Maine,” and eventually what became known as the (never debated by the legislature!) “Expedited wind legislation,” LD 2283 in 2008, making possible a flood of practically unstoppable industrial wind projects planned for Maine. The industry began to ally with environmental groups to push this mantra of “renewables & green energy,” and showered some organizations and communities with funds to cement their allegiances.

According to Greenwashing, money does a great job at quieting potential critics when they see their agendas being funded by all this “green,” and they have their virtuous argument – it is to save the planet from “climate change.” Just ignore the thousands of dead eagles, and other birds and bats … and as long as the tax breaks and DOE grants keep rolling in to the developers.

Since 2000, we’ve been treated to the separation of electric power generation from the transmission line side of the business because it was said to be unfair and monopolistic to control both and it looked good politically at the time.

After the expedited wind law (LD 2283) in Maine was passed, it needed to be massaged into shape by the very industry it would benefit even more with the help of their lawyers and cronies in the legislature. A depressing 171 pages of this record is available to read online.

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting did an excellent investigative work on this back in 2010, which demonstrates the pervasive corruption of these special interests in Maine.

In the 171 pages of documents, one sees how then-Senate President Justin Alfond worked with the wind industry lawyers to concoct, and then try to pass additional legislation that they wanted through LD 1750. Amazingly, they failed to get the votes to pass it. A rare victory for citizens and common sense.

Gov. Baldacci’s Public Utilities Commission chairman, Kurt Adams, receives over a million dollars of stock options from First Wind while still at the PUC. This gets little to no consideration the Maine media.

While still at the PUC, Adams is reported by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting to have been interviewing at First Wind for employment. Shockingly, he then transitions to First Wind as their new Director of Transmission.

Attorney General Janet Mills investigates Kurt Adams apparent conflict of interest stock options, and decided – surprise – nothing to see here either.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the PUC begins to consider the $1.4 billion transmission facilities upgrade at CMP. This request was the largest the PUC had ever handled to date, which they grant CMP. The transmission upgrade is needed, according to CMP, to provide transmission capacity and reliability to get power from Northern Maine wind projects (extant and proposed) to out-of-state markets. A kiss for the wind industry, financed by the ratepayers.

In the legislature, the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, known as EUT, helps out the industry and delays consideration of virtually any citizen initiated bills opposing Industrial Wind, calls for a study of wind energy issues, and then ignores it. The co-chair at the time, John Hinck, squelches citizen wind bills while his wife, Juliet Browne is the wind industry’s top attorney in Maine. One supposes that could be just coincidence.

In 2009, Gov. Baldacci attends a trip to Europe, hosted by energy giant Iberdrola (who now owns CMP), to gain a better understanding of the useful intersection of government policy and the wind industry there. He appears to very impressed and enthusiastic upon his return to Maine, commenting then that current Maine laws prevent entities such as Iberdrola that own transmission grids, which they do, from also owning generation projects – wind – which they want to now. This is a problem that he plans to work on getting resolved. No matter that in 2000 it was dogma that this combination led to a monopoly.

Currently, the EUT is discussing this exact issue: LD 1513 An Act to Clarify Laws Relating to Affiliate Ownership of Electric Generation (Rep. Dion of Portland), with the proponents pushing for legitimizing generation and transmission under one owner yet again.

Fast forward to 2016, with the quite unforeseen (and unjustifiable) Congressional extension of tax breaks and production tax credits to economically unsound wind and solar industries (see SunEdison and Solyndra as paltry examples), the rush is on to nail those permits, get the projects unstoppably blessed, and get government funds flowing from the 1603 grant program.

Now more industrial wind projects are proposed for Maine to supply the “green energy” demands of states south of us that don’t want – or allow – wind turbines. Who in Maine really needs eagles or those pesky “visual impact statements?”

Finally, congratulations to former Gov. Baldacci. In December, it was announced that he is now the Vice Chairman of Iberdrola’s Wind Division, Avangrid. What a surprise.

Source:  By Paul Ackerman | The Times Record | 2016-02-16 | www.timesrecord.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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