For several years, Maine residents have been exposed to the great promise of economic growth related to the approval of wind farms on our mountaintops. Numerous jobs and tax revenues have been emphasized as natural outcomes if wind farms are installed to provide clean wind electric power.
There is much to say about the strategic approaches deployed to hype the Baldacci administration vision, but I will limit my letter to the promise of permanent jobs.
We need to ask a few questions:
1. What are the industrial businesses that will come to Maine to manufacture the wind turbine components (towers, blades, turbines, etc.) to provide the jobs?
2. Where are the wind turbine components manufactured now?
3. Is it realistic that any or all of the current (foreign and domestic) manufacturers will relocate their plant(s) to Maine?
4. Can Maine compete with the existing manufacturer(s)’ costs?
5. Doesn’t the use of wind turbines in Maine increase the cost of electricity? Will cost inhibit Maine’s ability to sustain or attract new businesses in any business sector? Will we lose jobs?
6. Why would a wind turbine component manufacturer plan to come to Maine if the implementation of wind turbines in Maine increases the cost of electricity and decreases their profitability?
I hope the advocates of on-shore wind power will answer the above questions. Until then, I believe Maine towns must become more and more skeptical of idle promises.
Len Greaney, Rumford Center
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