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Wind power also comes with environmental costs

At the center of the back-and-forth between the Maine Public Utilities Commission and warring energy developers is a question of whether industrial-sized wind farms are feasible in Maine. ...The transmission line issue is not new to the PUC or to state and industry leaders who promote wind-power development in Maine. But it may come as a surprise to much of the public who see wind power as a clean form of energy that comes with little or no environmental cost.

Even green power will have to be delivered to market over transmission lines.

At the center of the back-and-forth between the Maine Public Utilities Commission and warring energy developers is a question of whether industrial-sized wind farms are feasible in Maine.

Wind power is often seen as Maine's chance to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and to take advantage of its potential of becoming the "Saudi Arabia of wind."

Members of a trade mission led by Gov. Baldacci to Spain and Germany last month talked about developing 8,000 megawatts of wind power in Maine, both on and off shore, by 2030.

That would be roughly 10 times the capacity of the former Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset. To move that much electricity from remote areas to markets in southern New England, power companies would have to build a system of transmission lines unlike anything we have ever seen here.

According to a study by ISO New England, the operator of the regional power grid, building those lines would cost up to $29 billion, a cost that would be shared by utility rate payers throughout the region.

Maine would certainly benefit from that much investment, and wind power will be a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Even green power will have to be delivered to market over transmission lines.

At the center of the back-and-forth between the Maine Public Utilities Commission and warring energy developers is a question of whether industrial-sized wind farms are feasible in Maine.

Wind power is often seen as Maine's chance to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and to take advantage of its potential of becoming the "Saudi Arabia of wind."

Members of a trade mission led by Gov. Baldacci to Spain and Germany last month talked about developing 8,000 megawatts of wind power in Maine, both on and off shore, by 2030.

That would be roughly 10 times the capacity of the former Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset. To move that much electricity from remote areas to markets in southern New England, power companies would have to build a system of transmission lines unlike anything we have ever seen here.

According to a study by ISO New England, the operator of the regional power grid, building those lines would cost up to $29 billion, a cost that would be shared by utility rate payers throughout the region.

Maine would certainly benefit from that much investment, and wind power will be a valuable commodity if, as expected, carbon emitting power sources will become more heavily regulated by climate-change laws.

The transmission line issue is not new to the PUC or to state and industry leaders who promote wind-power development in Maine.

But it may come as a surprise to much of the public who see wind power as a clean form of energy that comes with little or no environmental cost.

The choice is not whether wind power is good or bad for Maine, but whether the benefits outweigh the costs. The benefits include zero carbon emissions and independence from foreign oil; the major cost would be the impact of massive transmission lines throughout the state.

That trade-off should be part of the wind-power debate in Maine.


Source: http://pressherald.mainetod...

OCT 4 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22484-wind-power-also-comes-with-environmental-costs
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