I recently had the opportunity and privilege to attend a meeting at the Airline Community School in Aurora for an industrial-scale wind project in Hancock County. The majority of individuals in attendance lent their support to the developer, First Wind. One by one, they stood up and explained how this project would benefit their business and create jobs.
Unfortunately, some basic laws of economics were ignored. The expansion of taxpayer-funded industrial wind projects in the state will lead to higher energy cost for consumers and a net job loss.
According to information at the meeting, the wind projects built and being built will receive subsidies, federal stimulus money, federal green energy grants and federally-guaranteed loans. Without the federal and state subsidies and grants, no project would be built. When the electricity is produced and sold to the grid, it is vastly more expensive than all other forms of energy being produced. This difference is made up in the form of subsidies, which guarantee the wind companies a certain price above the equilibrium price of efficiency.
These higher energy costs will eventually be passed on to the consumers. As the price of energy goes up, Maine companies will become less competitive in the global economy and will look to scale back costs. These cost cutting initiatives will manifest itself in the form of layoffs, wage deflation and companies relocating to tax-friendlier states.