Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Whirlwind in Maine…

Citizens from around the state convened last Saturday at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport to hold a legislative summit. Individuals and citizens’ groups concerned about the industrial wind plan for Maine’s mountains and hilltops have submitted several pieces of legislation to be considered in the current Session, and we came together to combine our resources, share ideas and develop factual talking points to use when these bills are heard in Committee.

The event received some coverage by the press, but the real story was found in the responses to the summit by supporters of industrial wind. One gentleman, Jeremy Paine, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, was particularly vocal in his attempts to trivialize Mainers who oppose this expensive and unnecessary proposal for our state.

"Better organization by a vocal minority shouldn't be interpreted as growing public opposition…Their voices may be growing louder," he (Payne) said of opponents, "but their numbers aren't growing larger."

One wonders how Jeremy Payne can be so sure of himself and his facts. Surely he doesn't want readers to believe he is a party to the inner workings of his opposition? This quote sounds like it comes from a man who is very worried. He may believe that if he states his opinion often enough, citizens will believe it is the truth. That may have worked, once upon a time, but no longer. Citizens all across Maine are becoming informed about the FACTS regarding this industrial wind energy plan, and as they do, they are stepping forward to have a say. We were denied that right by the passage of the emergency bill, LD2283, the "expedited wind permitting law". Now that the realities regarding the negative impacts of grid-scale wind facilities are coming to light, common-sense folk are determined to restore fiscal and ethical responsibility to the process.

Another article about the summit quoted Mr. Payne as saying, “Every time a turbine is spinning, it is offsetting fossil fuels".

I would like to see proof of that. If an apparent expert like Jeremy Payne can give such a sweeping statement, surely he is prepared to back that up with the facts which support his claim.

I believe that less than 2% of Maine's electricity is generated from oil-burning power plants.

I believe that many new fossil-fuel generating plants are being built in the U.S. and around the world for no other reason than to take up the slack when the wind doesn't blow, or when it blows too fast and hard.

I believe that oftentimes, when wind-generated electricity flows into the grid and must be used, it is renewable, storable and reliable hydro-power which is off-set.

I believe that Maine's predominant use for oil is in home heating and transportation-- neither of which can currently be efficiently or economically replaced by electricity.

Mr. Payne's job is to promote industrial wind energy facilities-- regardless of the cost to Mainers or to the environment. Surely, if average Mainers have access to the FACTS about wind energy, Mr. Payne must already know the truth.

His livelihood depends upon Mainers buying his story. We're too smart for that, and we're growing impatient with the corporate interests which are making our energy policies.

Let’s let scientists and economics experts have a hand in it, for awhile. Then we'll see which way the wind blows.

Many Mainers are tired of being asked to tow the line and quietly sacrifice for an industry which benefits a few in the short term, rather than benefitting us all, for the duration. Wind was abandoned 100 years ago for good reason. Until the electricity it can produce can be stored, we should not even have to have this conversation.

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