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True impacts obscured

I am writing in response to Karin Tilberg’s letter-to-the-editor, in which she defends the “Wind Law” and the task force that led to its implementation “Articles were unfair,” Aug. 27).

She criticizes Naomi Schalit for unfairly characterizing the process, but the incriminating words in Schalit’s three-part series came not from Schalit, but from those interviewed who were involved in the process.

The chairman of the task force said no calculation of the number of turbines required to achieve 2,700 megawatts of power was ever done (as many as 1,800 1.5 MW turbines on 360 miles of mountain tops), and it is clear that no one bothered to figure out that 2,700 MW of wind power at a 25 percent capacity factor would only provide about 2 percent of the generation capacity of the ISO-New England grid.

This suggests the process was designed to obscure the true impacts of wind power while greatly overstating its insignificant benefits.

The “Wind Law” was not passed unanimously as Tilberg claims. It was passed “under the gavel” – which means “by unanimous consent” without debate or a roll call vote. The legislative record of this law shows that “suspension of the rules” was employed at every step to assure passage.

A law that unraveled 50 years of protection of Maine’s priceless scenic heritage passed through both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law in three weeks! It’s a sad testament to the Legislature that it was asleep at the switch when the 2,700 MW train barreled through Augusta in April 2008.

Maine is self sufficient with a greater percentage of renewable generation than any other state. Maine does not need more generators. If there is a demand for electricity elsewhere in the grid, Hydro-Quebec offers unsubsidized low cost electricity. Vermont just signed a new 20-year contract for dependable, low-priced Quebec hydro electricity. Maine should do the same. Destroying the scenic beauty of Maine’s wild places for wind power must not be permitted to continue.

Steve Thurston, co-chairman, Citizens Task Force on Wind Power, Oquossoc