Article

Wind power has its place in Maine - and that's very far offshore

Our governor is proposing emergency legislation mandating the installation of what would amount to thousands of wind turbines within three miles of our Maine coastline (L.D. 1810: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force). This has been referred to as "offshore" wind development. It is actually "near-shore" wind development that would displace fishermen and disturb the treasured views of Maine's fantastic coastline.

Careful decisions require a less feverish pace than that driven by fast-track legislation.

ARROWSIC - Our governor is proposing emergency legislation mandating the installation of what would amount to thousands of wind turbines within three miles of our Maine coastline (L.D. 1810: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force).

This has been referred to as "offshore" wind development. It is actually "near-shore" wind development that would displace fishermen and disturb the treasured views of Maine's fantastic coastline.

We should step back and look at the big picture while the opportunity still exists. Now is the time to get this right.

Most can agree that the United States will benefit from energy autonomy and from significant reductions in combustion pollution.

Maine is as good a place as any to begin implementing creative change. Conservation, efficiency and renewable resources are obvious areas of primary focus. Our energy solutions should uphold two priorities: environmental consciousness and the best interests of Maine residents.

As a state, we must make careful, measured decisions that... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Careful decisions require a less feverish pace than that driven by fast-track legislation.

ARROWSIC - Our governor is proposing emergency legislation mandating the installation of what would amount to thousands of wind turbines within three miles of our Maine coastline (L.D. 1810: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force).

This has been referred to as "offshore" wind development. It is actually "near-shore" wind development that would displace fishermen and disturb the treasured views of Maine's fantastic coastline.

We should step back and look at the big picture while the opportunity still exists. Now is the time to get this right.

Most can agree that the United States will benefit from energy autonomy and from significant reductions in combustion pollution.

Maine is as good a place as any to begin implementing creative change. Conservation, efficiency and renewable resources are obvious areas of primary focus. Our energy solutions should uphold two priorities: environmental consciousness and the best interests of Maine residents.

As a state, we must make careful, measured decisions that maximize long-term benefit. This requires a pace less feverish and frantic than that which is driven by fast-track legislation.

It is increasingly clear that projects for harnessing renewable resources are not held equal. Mountaintop and near-shore wind projects large enough for the power grid carry obvious negative impacts, and to embrace them is to support the alteration and disturbance of two of Maine's greatest attributes: natural character and aesthetic quality. Many people live, work and visit here for these reasons alone.

Should Maine's natural treasures be jeopardized in haste? What are the true public benefits to such projects over the long term? Are there better alternatives?

It is safe to expect that most gains from these projects will be made by a handful of key players who are lined up to profit nicely.

One alternative requiring less sacrifice on the part of the citizenry is the installation of rooftop solar on every school and publicly owned building in the state of Maine. Imagine the possibilities if such systems are designed and installed properly.

Another exciting solution is well offshore, meaning far beyond the 3-mile Maine waters boundary: grid-scale wind development. Compared to mountaintop or near-shore options, the impacts to the environment, residential areas, views and fishing grounds could be minimal.

If sited carefully, thousands of turbines might be installed in locations that pose little conflict with the public or with fishermen. Of course, wind development many miles offshore will require higher installation costs due to new technology hurdles.

Recently, Habib Dagher of the University of Maine and Karen Mills of the U.S. Small Business Administration pitched wind power and composites technology to students in school assemblies. The speakers were accompanied by an entourage of midcoast legislators. All parties were enthusiastic and confident about the prospects of well-offshore wind, and of overcoming the associated challenges.

Except for reasons of quick financial gain, why would the lesser mountaintop and nearshore options even be considered?

It seems efforts have been made to marginalize any individual or group who voices opinion in opposition to wind projects. Implied or stated, they are treated as naysayers, obstructionists, not-in-my-backyarders and even anti-environmentalists. They are generally referred to as wind energy opponents.

I suspect the majority of people would like to see wind development succeed, though would prefer that it not be placed in their backyard or implemented at the expense of the things they hold dear.

This is only natural. I doubt many developers have particular interest in building a wind farm on their own back forty. It is easy to ask someone to put up with a little noise, though not so easy to put up with it oneself.

Maine's mountains and coastline are a sanctuary for many. Let's not hand them over so easily. Well-offshore, grid-scale wind looks to be a promising energy solution. So does rooftop solar.

Maybe it is time for people to stand in strong support of these options and in strong opposition to some others. Where do you stand? With emergency legislation at your doorstep, it may be time to let your elected officials know.


Source: http://www.pressherald.com/...

MAR 16 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25177-wind-power-has-its-place-in-maine-and-that-s-very-far-offshore
back to top