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Wind boosters’ claims fall far short of credibility

I write in response to Rep. Stacy Fitts’ letter of Sept. 4 on wind energy.

Expedited wind permitting is not sound. It is a result of a flawed system started by former Gov. John Baldacci, who formed a wind development task force. Between Baldacci presenting Maine as a leader in wind development to this group and appointing members whose livelihoods are windpower-related, we have expedited wind applications that many in Maine rightfully oppose.

Mainers appeal those applications because wind has been shoved down our throats. Fitts boasted about the $1 billion of investment that wind power has brought to Maine. Small hydropower projects statewide would bring a more widespread economic boost.

“As we tap our wind resource, Maine becomes more competitive. Unlike fossil fuels, wind is a local resource providing us stability. There is no cost for the wind that turns these turbines,” says Fitts. Wind power does not make Maine “more competitive” in regional tourism nor in the job field. Solar and hydro provide a stable economy and do not desecrate the mountains.

Fitts’ statement that “wind does not cost anything” is disingenuous. Wind is inconsistent, causing brown-outs requiring on-demand gas plants. On-demand gas backup is more costly than steady gas power production.

“Wind power is subsidized at much lower rates than fossil fuels,” he claims. In fiscal 2010, wind received $3.6 billion in direct federal expenditures, coal $37 million, and nuclear zero; natural gas and petroleum liquids got $1 million.

Percentage-wise, total subsidies and support for wind are 42 percent of their cost; coal gets 10 percent and natural gas 5.5 percent (U.S. Energy Information Administration).

Maine needs a wind moratorium to study all the aspects of wind power and to halt the advancement of this scourge upon our landscape. We need a chance to make hydropower, biomass and solar as available as wind.

Merrylyn Sawyer