As the wind industry works to find ways to counter the growing opposition to grind-scale wind facilities in Maine, they often invoke our European neighbors’ experiences. One recent example in the press:
“It will be important to draw lessons from other markets including Germany, Denmark and Ontario where developers have built successful community power partnerships that have led to additional benefits for communities including job creation.” (http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/06/nova-scotia enacts-huge-opportunities-for-wind)
I agree with a portion of that statement. We must draw lessons from other markets, learning from those who have already been down this winding, windy road.
Statistics from Canada Free Press (canadafreepress.com)
* Renewables, including wind… have raised household energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany. Denmark has the highest electricity prices in the EU.
* Partially due to wind subsidies, Danes pay some of Europe’s highest energy tariffs —more than twice those in Britain, on average.
* Spain increased its electricity costs…20% between January 2010 and January 2011. The government’s official explanation is the huge bill for renewables’ subsidies. Industry’s electricity costs have risen 110 percent and Spain has over 20 percent unemployment.
* The Italian government passed a decree to (make) deep cuts in wind energy due to its high costs to consumers and technical problems integrating wind into the existing infrastructure.
* Spain cut subsidies for wind projects by 35 percent
* In Spain, “green jobs” can require subsidies of $1,000,000 per job. These “green jobs” cut 2.2 traditional jobs.
* Capital needed for one “green job” in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy.
* The Netherlands is reducing its renewable energy targets and slashing the subsidies for wind…
Why is Italy’s UPC (First Wind) and Spain’s Iberdrola targeting the U.S. —and Maine— for their massive wind projects?
I believe they are hoping we haven’t learned from Europe’s mistakes.
Karen Pease is a resident of Lexington Township.
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