Industrial Wind Lobby Attempts to Shore Up Image Amid Growing Criticism
Wilton, ME – Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), the leading group dedicated to protecting Maine’s mountain regions from the proliferation of industrial wind turbines on hundreds of miles of ridgelines, says the promise of jobs and generated revenue made at today’s Maine Wind Day in the State House are greatly exaggerated.
Organized by the Maine Renewable Energy Association and promoted by the Maine Wind Industry Initiative in the face of growing opposition to rampant wind development on Maine’s mountaintops, the wind lobby hoped to shore up dwindling support among lawmakers, many of whom take a common sense approach to lowering energy costs and creating jobs.
FMM governmental affairs director Chris O’Neil commented, “The industry likes to say they’ve invested almost a billion dollars in Maine. We say they’ve squandered almost a billion dollars because wind power is unreliable, unaffordable, and unnecessary. Maine could create hundreds of well-paying, temporary construction jobs paving a four-lane highway from Dover-Foxcroft to Eagle Lake. Would that be a necessary, useful, and worthy investment of taxpayer dollars? Certainly there’s a great deal of money being spent, but it’s all ratepayer and taxpayer money, and most of it goes to China and Europe, where the turbines are manufactured.”
“Publicly funded jobs, like those that will be temporarily created building these 450-foot tall turbines in rural Maine, should meet the criteria of being necessary, economic, and useful,” continued O’Neil. “Mountaintop wind in Maine is none of the above. Consider the number of local, long-term construction trades jobs that would be created if we invested this public money in weatherization, conservation, and efficiency retrofits instead of blanketing the Maine landscape with unreliable windmills.”
“The industry lobbyists are quick to point out how much coffee and fuel is sold at the rural corner store down the road from one of these projects and how many hours the construction crews worked. What they don’t want to talk about is how many Maine jobs are lost because of Maine’s embarrassingly high electric rates. These same wind industry officials admit that they cannot compete with low natural gas prices, which experts say will remain low and stable for years to come.
Charlie Colgan has been the State Economist and the Chair of the Consensus Forecast Commission for the last 12 years. How many times during that period where his forecasts reliable? In the long run, investing in industrial wind will be like spending a million public dollars per job. We think that is extravagantly wasteful,” concluded O’Neil.
Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a research and educational organization whose mission is to research, formulate and promote effective and reliable energy and power solutions that will protect Maine’s natural resources, especially Maine’s mountains, as well as Maine’s industries and private property owners, while also ensuring that those solutions have a positive environmental and economic impact for Maine people and businesses.
March 3, 2011
Contact: Chris O’Neil, (207) 590-3842
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