Feb. 23, WABI-TV in Bangor posted a survey question on their Web site. “Which would you rather see, wind turbines on land, or off-shore?”
The wind industry often quotes the Critical Insights poll of 2010, commissioned by its supporters, when it is trying to sell its product. That “product” is a plan to build approximately 350 miles of grid-scale wind energy facilities on Maine’s mountain ridges, along with the hundreds of miles of high voltage transmission corridors which will be needed to connect those plants to the New England grid. Those survey results said that more than 80 percent of Mainers supported industrial wind development.
I would like to see those survey questions. Obviously, questions can be designed to elicit a certain response. For example, if I were asked the question “Would you support a wind development if it would reduce carbon emissions, counter global warming, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, bring American soldiers home, lower electric rates and bring jobs to Maine?” – I would say “yes.” If I had never researched the facts and I believed those claims, then I would surely be a proponent of suitably sited wind developments.
Now, imagine survey questions designed a little differently:
Would you support a wind development which cost millions in tax-payer dollars, provides erratic, undependable power for which our grid was not designed and which would necessitate the building of a $1.4 BILLION high voltage transmission corridor, more than 400 miles long and cutting through 75 Maine towns, and for which CMP rate payers would have to bear a portion of the cost (even though Maine does not need and will not use most of this electricity)?
My answer would be NO.
Would you support a wind development which would negatively impact the health and “quality of life” of many Mainers who lived within two miles of a project?
Would you support a wind development if you knew that science was showing that wind-generated electricity does NOT significantly reduce carbon emissions and may, in fact, contribute to higher greenhouse gas emissions?
Would you support a wind development if you knew that in Spain, one of the world’s leaders in wind turbine facilities 2.2 jobs were lost for every 1 job gained in “renewable energy”?
Would you support a wind development if you realized that in other areas of the country, real estate values within two miles of wind facilities have dropped between 25- 40 percent, with some homes deemed a complete loss?
Would you support a wind development if it had longterm, negative impacts on Maine’s tourist economy?
Would you support a wind development if it caused higher electricity prices, when less expensive, already available, renewable hydro power could be purchased from Quebec?
Would you support a wind development if you knew that 60 percent of the cost (most of which comes from hard-working Americans’ pockets) went overseas to places like China, where the turbines are manufactured?
Would you support a technology which was abandoned 100 years ago for good cause, if there were other, less expensive electrical generation options which were clean and more efficient?
Would your wilderness experience be enhanced by the sight and sound of 400’-500’ tall wind turbines with blades which sweep an area more than an acre and a half in size, with blades spinning up to 200 mph at the tip, and which have been proven to be fatal to raptors, migratory birds and bats?
Survey questions can be very subjective, as you can see. I hazard a guess… that the wind industry’s survey questions were designed to elicit support for wind turbine developments. That survey was necessary because the wind lobby was beginning to realize that Mainers were waking up to the facts about Big Wind —and they needed to do some damage control and attempt to sway that segment of the population which has not been apprised of the science and economics behind this current energy plan.
WABI-TV’s question was direct and unbiased. “Which would you rather see, wind turbines on land, or offshore?”
And the results?
Turbines On Land 2 percent (17 votes)
Off Shore Wind Power 12 percent (104 votes)
Neither 72 percent (658 votes)
Both 14 percent (130 votes)
Obviously, there is no way for us to know if those numbers are accurate. Some of these surveys allow the same person to vote more than once. Two votes per household is a reasonable number, if you have spouses each lodging their opinion. More than that, and questions arise as to a survey’s accuracy. However, if nothing else, what we have here is a public question, without apparent bias or slant. “Which would you prefer?” Simple. And it appears that 84 percent of those who answered do not support the concept of land-based gridscale wind energy facilities in Maine. And 72 percent don’t support it, at all.
I hope our Legislators take that into consideration when they vote on the upcoming protective legislation pertaining to industrial wind.
I encourage Mainers to get the facts for themselves. Don’t believe me, and don’t believe the corporate wind lobby. This is serious business, and unless something is done to ensure that we approach our energy situation with common sense and science and fiscal responsibility it will soon be too late to preserve “Maine, the way life SHOULD be.”
Karen Bessey Pease is a resident of Lexington Township.
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