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Department of Energy funds misguided Maine wind project

Wealthy Yale Endowment and Politically Connected King Get Taxpayer Handouts

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, calls the decision by the Department of Energy to provide $102 million dollars in federal loan guarantees to the developers of the Record Hill industrial wind project an example of political cronyism and a reckless use of federal stimulus funds.

The developers of the project are a partnership formed between former Maine governor Angus Kings’ Independence Wind LLC, Wagner Wind Energy LLC of Lyme, NH and the Yale University Endowment.

“The support of this project with federal tax dollars highlights perfectly what the growing number of critics of industrial wind have have been saying all along,” said FMM executive director Michael Pajak. “First, Angus King’s strong political connections to the administration in Washington, DC have enabled this substantial subsidy to a project that could not otherwise prove its own financial capacity. The loan guarantee is in addition to an anticipated $70 million from the US taxpayer in the form a Section 1603 cash grant that will be handed to King & his partner Rob Gardner.

“The Yale University Endowment is currently valued at just under 17 Billion dollars. One has to ask,” continued Pajak, “if industrial wind is the sound, economic and sustainable energy-producing investment that its proponents claim, why are the federal government and the American taxpayer needed to finance their venture? This federal loan guarantee is said to be for innovation. Windmills have been around since at least the days of Don Quixote. The only innovation here is the use of other people’s money to line their own pockets while blasting Maine’s mountains.”

This announcement ends months of speculation over whether Yale University was officially involved with the Angus King project and comes at a time when concern over the environmental impact of industrial wind projects has gained the attention of growing numbers of Maine people. In a state that has a long, storied history of being a destination for people seeking to experience one of the most undeveloped landscapes east of the Mississippi, any project that will significantly alter that landscape rightly comes under serious scrutiny.

Not so with industrial wind. “These projects have been given the green light and fast-tracked through the permitting process so quickly that local residents, let alone the larger environmental community, have hardly had a chance to prepare a defense,” said Pajak. “Now we learn that an entity as well-known for its’ commitment to the environment as Yale University is prepared to accept government handouts while destroying a significant Maine asset, our landscape.”

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.