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Maine governor questions offshore wind push

The administration of Maine Gov. Paul LePage is questioning state support for a $20 billion offshore wind project planned for the Gulf of Maine ...LePage's energy advisers are reportedly skeptical that offshore wind development would reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil.

The administration of Maine Gov. Paul LePage is questioning state support for a $20 billion offshore wind project planned for the Gulf of Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported yesterday.

LePage's energy advisers are reportedly skeptical that offshore wind development would reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil by generating electricity for electric cars and heaters.

Ken Fletcher, director of the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security, estimated that electricity from the project would cost about 27 cents per kilowatt/hour. The article did not explain how he reached that number, which is substantially higher than projections and power purchase agreements for other offshore wind farms.

"The LePage administration has taken the point of view that we cannot pass these costs onto Maine ratepayers, and this is going to be the main challenge," Fletcher said. "We haven't signed [on] the dotted line yet."

James LaBrecque, who is an adviser to LePage, a mechanical engineering adviser at the University of Maine and a small business owner, said that there was unspoken skepticism on campus about the project.

"This offshore wind project has become a bit of a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The administration of Maine Gov. Paul LePage is questioning state support for a $20 billion offshore wind project planned for the Gulf of Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported yesterday.

LePage's energy advisers are reportedly skeptical that offshore wind development would reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil by generating electricity for electric cars and heaters.

Ken Fletcher, director of the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security, estimated that electricity from the project would cost about 27 cents per kilowatt/hour. The article did not explain how he reached that number, which is substantially higher than projections and power purchase agreements for other offshore wind farms.

"The LePage administration has taken the point of view that we cannot pass these costs onto Maine ratepayers, and this is going to be the main challenge," Fletcher said. "We haven't signed [on] the dotted line yet."

James LaBrecque, who is an adviser to LePage, a mechanical engineering adviser at the University of Maine and a small business owner, said that there was unspoken skepticism on campus about the project.

"This offshore wind project has become a bit of a sacred cow on campus and throughout the state. Those who are skeptical won't speak out against it for fear of being blackballed," LaBrecque said. "You ask anyone in the engineering department at UMaine and they will tell you that there are a number of things that don't add up in the overall plan."

In a presentation yesterday to local officials, however, UMaine offshore wind expert Habib Dagher said that investing in the technology will require long-term vision but will pay dividends.

"If you want the cheapest energy next week, build yourself a natural-gas-fired power plant," Dagher said. "But that's not what we're doing here."

Dagher was speaking to local officials from the towns of Belfast and Searsport and Stockton. Those communities are working together to capture the onshore support operations - and jobs - that would come with an offshore wind farm.

"Belfast and Searsport and Stockton have pretty much been looking at this and looking at this and wanting to be recognized as a can-do neighborhood," said Searsport Selectman Dick Desmarais. "We have the space for it, we have the deep-water facility and we have the skilled workforce."


Source: http://offshorewindwire.com...

JUN 1 2011
https://www.windaction.org/posts/30996-maine-governor-questions-offshore-wind-push
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