Tag Archives: windmills

Tilting at windmills

Windmill farm near Mars Hill, Maine. Photo by Kelly McInnis.

Past readers know that I very much like the use of alternative energy – solar, wind, wave.

Wind energy – from both onshore and offshore wind farms – has received a big push in Maine the past couple of years. There is plenty of wind to go around in Maine, especially along the coast, and harnessing that wind will greatly ease this nation’s addiction to foreign petroleum.

But some communities in Maine are concerned with issues associated with wind farms, namely the noise the huge turbines cause. And I’m sure more than a few Mainers are upset with the interruption in viewscape.

Here in California, wind farms have become part of the landscape mostly because of the clean energy they provide.

It is my hope that power companies and government officials will find a way to mitigate the problems so that wind farms can provide clean, sustainable energy for a very long time to come.

Here are a couple of photos Kelly McInnis shot last week at the wind farm near Mars Hill, Maine. They are published here with her permission.

Windmill farm near Mars Hill, Maine. Photo by Kelly McInnis.

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State point man on offshore wind clearly energized | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

State point man on offshore wind clearly energized | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Energy week’s second wind | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Energy week’s second wind | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

The Economics of Wind II: Subsidies — the why and how much | Lewiston Sun Journal

[Here is the top of the second part in a two-part series by the Lewiston Sun Journal on wind energy. I’m disappointed in the series. The writing was not as clear and meaningful as it should have been for an issue of such importance and the editing seemed nonexistent. But I promised to post the link to the second of the two parts, so here it is. – KM]

Big wind developers receive substantial federal funds and whether they ought to or not is a major bone of contention as more wind farms pop up in Maine.

The arguments from both sides of the issue go something like:

Pro: Lots of other energy sources (coal, oil, nuclear) are subsidized, too.

Con: Wind, given the size, gets more than its fair share.

Pro: Subsidies are important to jump-start the industry.

Con: If it can’t stand on its own, tough. It shouldn’t stand at all.

And maybe trumping those arguments: Maine has said, in law, it wants more wind power — and, nationally, subsidy is simply part of how wind power gets paid for.

First Wind, for example, received $40.4 million last fall for putting up 38 wind turbines in eastern Maine, an upfront cash payment of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) stepped up through the stimulus funds.

“It’s a pretty established set of criteria you have to meet and if you happen to meet it you’ll receive this grant; if you don’t, you won’t,” said spokesman John Lamontagne in Boston.

In 2007, at the request of a Tennessee senator, the U.S. Energy Information Administration looked at federal energy subsidies by industry and found, in sheer dollars, refined coal got the most money and support at $2.1 billion, three times that of wind. Unrefined coal and nuclear both got more than wind as well. But compare all three by their ratio of subsidies-to-output and wind jumps to the top as most expensive.

Click on the link to the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Here’s a link to the first of the two parts if you missed it yesterday.

Ribbon-cutting launches Maine’s Stetson II wind project | Bangor Daily News

Ribbon-cutting launches Stetson II wind project – Bangor Daily News.

Small-scale windmills generate mixed reviews in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Small-scale windmills generate mixed reviews – Bangor Daily News.

Updated NREL figures show much greater U.S. wind power potential

Updated NREL Figures Show Much Greater US Wind Power Potential

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NMCC takes steps to research wind power – Bangor Daily News

 NMCC takes steps to research wind power – Bangor Daily News.

Towers collecting wind data as SAD 1 weighs power plans – Bangor Daily News

 Towers collecting wind data as SAD 1 weighs power plans – Bangor Daily News.

Jackson residents approve wind turbine limits

JACKSON, Maine — Residents this weekend approved a controversial wind turbine ordinance that would impose strict regulations on industrial wind power developments.

Among other things, the ordinance — written by the planning board and the wind energy subcommittee — stipulates that any 400-foot-tall turbines erected must be at least a mile from any houses.

Although the 111-75 vote Saturday morning at a special town meeting has cheered many who oppose large-scale wind facilities in Maine, it also has dismayed some in this rural town of about 500 people who feel the ordinance is too restrictive and shortsighted.

“I was disappointed,” said Duane Lahaye of Jackson, a past member of the planning board who uses several small windmills at his home. “We have to think as an entire nation. We can’t just think as people who don’t want it ‘in my backyard.’ For the better good of everybody, these windmills would have been great.”

The new ordinance replaces a moratorium on wind energy projects that has been in place since January 2009 and was enacted in response to proposals to erect a series of wind towers along Mount Harris and Ricker Ridge in Jackson, Dixmont and Thorndike. Dixmont voters last November approved an ordinance requiring a 1-mile setback between wind turbines and homes.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Abigail Curtis of the Bangor Daily News.