Energy Policy and Maine
Gov. Paul LePage is withholding support for a compromise bill being worked out by the Legislature's Energy Committee that's aimed at expanding Maine's natural gas infrastructure, boosting funding for energy efficiency, directly lowering businesses' electricity costs and making it more affordable for residents to abandon oil heat.
Eliminating unrealistic statewide wind energy capacity goals, as Woodcock suggests, would be a start toward revamping Maine's wind energy policy to reflect the progress that's been made and the best route to capitalize on it in the future.
The [Maine] RPS law limits the amount of energy we can use from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar, tidal, biomass and geothermal. But in 2009 legislators lifted the cap for wind power, which is expensive to build and produces a minimal amount of our electricity.
In 2011, we got only 4.5 percent of our electricity from wind. While it produces only a fraction of energy, it is some of the most expensive electricity we buy.
The Maine Energy Office announced Friday that electricity rates in Maine as compared to the national average are much higher than other states. The data, provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, indicates that Maine rates are improving. However, Maine is still 24 percent above the US average.
They may be called "smart meters," but the multiple controversies that accompanied their implementation in Maine and other places have not left the impression that all their implications were fully thought out.
This ballot initiative was designed for one purpose -- to solidify the position of power which the wind industry has enjoyed since 2008, when it was given preferred status over all other energy sources -- even those that are far less expensive and far more reliable.
Consumers were supposed to be protected from having to subsidize poor decisions of developers and generators. The coalition's proposal is going in the opposite direction and would add millions of dollars to consumers' electric bills.
It would seem once again, that Maine ratepayers are being forced to bail out a few select developers and generators who have apparently invested in technologies that cannot compete in an open market.
Are these three legislators so committed to mountaintop wind development that they will not even bring an open mind to the table? They seem determined to keep us frozen in the days of early 2008, when the Legislature threw all of our energy eggs into one basket - wind turbines.
Nothing about wind is green. Any real scientist (not on the wind lobby payroll) will verify that.
And it isn't about jobs or electricity. ...It is about protecting the people of Maine, and it is about listening to those people, instead of catering to the politically well-connected wind lobby.
The Maine Public Utility Commission's analysis showed that the first two years of the increased renewable energy mandate added $7 million to Maine ratepayer's electric bills.
Rather than continue the automatic increases to the renewable energy source mandate, we think there is a better approach by allowing consumer choice while still supporting renewable energy development.
With the stroke of a pen, an uninformed governor named John Baldacci sacrificed the natural art work that millions of individuals had grown to love. Maine's landscape was destroyed because of a bill called LD 2283 which sacrificed an entire state to the wind industry.
The euphemisms of pro-wind developers at a LURC hearing to add Kossuth Township to the expedited wind development zone highlight last fall offered a picture of disturbing political and financial alliances that scar Maine landscapes.
The take-home point from this and other windmill controversies is that windmills are not the magical power source they're touted to be. They should not be built near where people live.
They voiced their disgust that the governor signed the expedited permitting law as emergency legislation, allegedly for the safety and public health of Mainers, yet the electricity is for the benefit of southern New England. ...Gone is the myth that wind turbines will reduce foreign oil dependence.
With the addition of expensive wind, and even more expensive off-shore wind, and the cost of the new power line, Maine people cannot look forward to lower rates. Yet we will be in economic competition with Vermont and other states. Our future should be with hydro and natural gas, not wind power.
But the saddest thing to me is the way the public has been discouraged from participation.
Maine citizens weren't consulted before this misguided and biased law was enacted. As an "emergency measure" we didn't have time to make our objections known before it was implemented. What is now apparent is that the wind industry hugely influenced the crafting of this law.
Wind power in Maine is a chess game, a chess game for those protected by multinational companies and allies in the current administration. ...A game that put people's rights and public health behind those of the wind industry and simply ignored the complaints of those disturbed by the maddening whoosh of turbines.
In reality, commercial wind power is an unreliable, environmentally degrading, overpriced form of power generation. Nothing short of massive amounts of public money can make those projects happen, because no developer in his right mind would undertake a project without public money.
Save Wind energy isn't free. And, it's destructive.
The cost of electricity in Maine will double because of Gov. Baldacci's climate change policies favoring wind energy.
Despite the claims of "Wind Week" propagandists, there is no empirical evidence that wind power will: 1. reduce the cost of electricity in Maine, 2. reduce carbon emissions, 3. make Maine ‘energy independent', or 4) be environmentally friendly.
Doug Rooks is correct about at least one thing (May 9). There is a growing backlash to industrial-scale wind turbines on Maine's mountains. People who care about Maine's present and future are refusing to roll over for the short-term interests of the wind industry and its largely unfounded claims.