A wind turbine the size of one and a third football fields propped on end is a bit like a train station or a marina – it’s desirability is largely dependent upon location. And the place for a commercial wind turbine, let alone a string of a dozen or more, for that matter, let alone several strings of a dozen or more, is surely not high in the pristine mountains of Maine.
People come from across the nation and even across the globe to hunt, fish, ski, hike, and just plain old gawk at the natural beauty of our area. Will we squander that unique value for a slew of unsightly and noisy wind turbines that will profit a company from away, and create perhaps a half a dozen permanent jobs (that may or may not go to locals)? To do so will surely mark us for amazed derision from those who will cease to come to our area when it has lost its scenic beauty, as well as from a certain number of our own residents, who have weathered our uncertain and depressed local economy in order to surround themselves with the natural beauty of our wilderness—now shattered by the thump and shadow of industrial turbines.
And for what? Maine already has an extremely green energy grid, the best in the nation, by some rankings. Trying to improve upon this record by adding wind turbines will make our energy more costly and devalue local property. And, because oil accounts for only about 2 percent of our electrical production and these turbines will not even allow for it to be taken out of the energy mix, our sacrifices in permitting them will not affect our carbon footprint or dependency on oil one bit.
The state has a formula for mandating how much a wind energy company contributes to a town to compensate it for the burden of the industry’s presence. For Rumford, that “windfall” would amount to less than a dollar annually, per person, per turbine.
Is that really what we will sell our peace and scenic mountains for?
Wind is a subsidized scam. Subsidies have their places, and I would support subsidizing wind power, on a small, experimental scale, until it is made financially and environmentally feasible, but not on this current scale, that sacrifices some of the last undeveloped mountains in New England as a laboratory, a gamble. Let’s face it: when wind truly becomes viable, it is most likely to be relegated to either offshore or open plains locations where the turbines can be densely packed, not in skimpy strings along ridge tops that rob us of our wildernesses and compromise the views and peace of people for miles in every direction.
Vote against the proposed ordinance. Then tell your selectpersons to say “no” to large-scale ridge top development altogether.