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Changing wind directions

The executive order creating the task force notes that "wind resources occur in various areas of the State that may have important ecological, natural resource, remote resource, and other values that are important to Maine people that can lead to conflict regarding the siting of wind power facilities." The group is to recommend ways to resolve such conflicts, to improve and streamline regulation and siting, and to encourage wind power in Maine. The order does not say that an important value is being able to turn on lights, televisions, computers, coffee makers, computers, and on and on.

The rejection earlier this year of a wind power project in western Maine highlighted the need for a better way to evaluate the benefits and negative consequences of installing turbines on mountaintops and in other areas. A task force, created this week by the governor, should help but it must enable regulators to consider wind farms in a different context than other energy sources, such as coal-fired power plants.

The executive order creating the task force notes that "wind resources occur in various areas of the State that may have important ecological, natural resource, remote resource, and other values that are important to Maine people that can lead to conflict regarding the siting of wind power facilities." The group is to recommend ways to resolve such conflicts, to improve and streamline regulation and siting, and to encourage wind power in Maine.

The order does not say that an important value is being able to turn on lights, televisions, computers, coffee makers, computers, and on and on.

This, and the fact that the current energy supply, which is heavily dependent on coal and oil, is a large contributor to air pollution and climate change, makes the work of the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The rejection earlier this year of a wind power project in western Maine highlighted the need for a better way to evaluate the benefits and negative consequences of installing turbines on mountaintops and in other areas. A task force, created this week by the governor, should help but it must enable regulators to consider wind farms in a different context than other energy sources, such as coal-fired power plants.

The executive order creating the task force notes that "wind resources occur in various areas of the State that may have important ecological, natural resource, remote resource, and other values that are important to Maine people that can lead to conflict regarding the siting of wind power facilities." The group is to recommend ways to resolve such conflicts, to improve and streamline regulation and siting, and to encourage wind power in Maine.

The order does not say that an important value is being able to turn on lights, televisions, computers, coffee makers, computers, and on and on.

This, and the fact that the current energy supply, which is heavily dependent on coal and oil, is a large contributor to air pollution and climate change, makes the work of the task force timely but difficult. It is also complicated by the fact that local residents and visitors may be asked to bear negative impact for distant and dispersed benefits.

However, the nation, Maine included, has powered itself into a polluted corner, and the question is whether, for a relatively brief time, it can endure the use of low-polluting but unsightly wind turbines while it searches for better energy choices. The structures will by necessity be proposed for scenic areas because dramatically high places are coincidentally scenic and windy.

Power generation doesn't belong just anywhere and people really do need places where the view is uninterrupted by the cost of their necessities and pleasures. But any theory about wind power displacing a measurable amount of fossil-fuel power here depends on the placement of hundreds of these turbines in Maine.

The Conservation Law Foundation calculates that New England needs about 8,000 megawatts of wind power to meet regional climate-change goals that Maine agreed to. The only existing wind farm, on Mars Hill in Aroostook County, produces 54 megawatts. Maine has the greatest wind potential of any state in the region - but potential doesn't turn on the lights and two wind projects have been rejected with two others are in early phases of applying for permits.

The most notable rejection was the January recommended denial by the Land Use Regulation Commission of a 90-megawatt project on Redington and Black Nubble mountains in western Maine. Despite a staff recommendation for the 30-turbine project, the commission voted 6-1 to recommend denial due to concerns about its impact on views and the mountaintop ecology.

This week, Maine Mountain Power announced that it will ask LURC to consider a scaled-back project with turbines only on Black Nubble Mountain. LURC should allow the company to submit a revised plan, hold a public hearing and then vote on it, rather than beginning the application process anew.

Roadblocks to wind power, erected for understandable reasons, leave the unacceptable status quo of sticking with oil or gas or coal before upsetting the landscape.

The task force offers a way out of this uncomfortable corner.



Source: http://bangordailynews.com/...

MAY 12 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/8854-changing-wind-directions
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