Monday, March 14, 2011
Foreign-Owned Maine Wind
Maine isn’t just a magnificent piece of real estate—it’s a brand. This beautiful state in which we live is a destination. Maine residents already have what millions of people the world over are craving.
Maine is unique—and Mainers are distinctive. We’re independent. Resilient. Proud. We’re a people who resist domination and prefer to be self-reliant. We’d rather do without, than do wrong.
Maine is at a cross-roads. For years we have been inundated with propaganda from the wind industry and its biggest supporter--the Baldacci administration. We’ve been told that we must do our part to counter-act global warming, and we’ve been led to believe that installing hundreds of miles of industrial wind turbines on our mountains would help affect that change. Wind proponents have also used fear tactics to encourage us to support their plan. As Angus King said in May of 2010, “I haven’t talked to anything about global climate change… but the bottom line is—we’ve gotta stop burning! And we particularly have to stop burning stuff we have no control over… It just strikes me as not very sensible to be totally dependent on other people—particularly other people who don’t like us very much.”
Science does not support the notion that adding wind-generated electricity to the mix will reduce carbon emissions. In fact, it may do just the opposite (See the Bentek Study “How Less Became More”, “Wind Farms are Redundant” and “Wind Power Won’t Cool Down the Planet” R. Bryce, WSJ, and others).
In addition, less than 2% of Maine’s electricity is generated by oil. Adding an undependable, intermittent power source to the grid will not reduce Maine’s usage of ‘foreign oil’.
But our dependence on the oil-producing countries in the Middle East ‘who don’t like us very much’ has been advertised exhaustively as an important reason to invest in wind. In March of 2010 Dr. Dora Mills, then head of Maine’s CDC, wrote in an email, “The unfortunate thing is that currently Maine people are dying from our world's dependency on fossil fuels. Wind turbines and other strategies to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels help improve our overall health.”
The scenarios conveyed by wind supporters show dire circumstances if Maine does not build extensive wind turbine developments along our mountain ridges… only a few of which have ‘sufficient wind’ resources. Independence Wind, the development company owned by Angus King and Rob Gardiner, used to have the following statement on their website. (From a PDF copy of the page titled “Wind Power Site Selection”, which has recently been removed from the site.)
“Wind strength is the most critical factor, and less than 2 percent of the state has
So. Only a small portion of Maine has ‘sufficient wind’. Those locations are atop our iconic mountains, which are synonymous with Maine’s ‘quality of place’—that same quality which draws millions of tourists and buyers of vacation properties to our state. That same quality for which so many residents remain.
Also-- according to wind developers, anyway--it is imperative that we stop being dependent on foreign oil producers.
I find that puzzling; given the current ‘wind’ climate in Maine. Former governor Baldacci went to Spain to court Iberdrola, the corporation which owns Central Maine Power Company and the parent company of Iberdrola Renewables—the world’s largest wind developer. Iberdrola was only too happy to collaborate with the former administration and foist their product on Maine and its people.
However, Iberdrola is affiliated with corporations in the Middle East. In a May 25, 2008 article in “TAQA”, we read that Iberdola partnered with Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, of the United Arab Emirates.
The goal of the partnership was to “explore co-investment and development opportunities in power generation, renewables and upstream assets in… North America. Thanks to this strategy, the Company has become the 4th largest in the world energy sector… and world leader in wind power.”
And today, March 14, 2011, we learn that Iberdrola has a new investor.
Chron Business News states: “Qatar Holding is the main investment arm of the OPEC member's Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund… Monday's deal calls for it (Iberdrola) to set up a regional headquarters and research and development operations in Qatar…
“(O)ur investment in Iberdrola provides significant exposure to other important global markets including… the United States of America," Qatar Holding managing director and CEO Ahmad Mohamed al-Sayed said.”
My question then, is this: If these foreign, oil producing countries ‘don’t like us very much’, and if we are frantic to reduce our dependence on them, why are we inviting them to Maine? Why are we giving the largest wind developer in the world carte blanche on our mountains? We won’t only be importing their oil, we will be allowing them to export our wind—pitiful energy producer that it is.
I often wonder if all these smaller, independent wind developers aren’t the ‘front men’ for the biggest industrial wind developer of them all. I envision Independence Wind, Patriot Renewables, Maine Wind Power LLC—and perhaps even First Wind—building their projects, receiving their millions in tax-payer subsidies, and then selling out to this multi-national conglomerate which owns our major electric utility. Currently, CMPC is barred from both producing and delivering electricity at the same time—but I’ve heard whispers that the law which created deregulation is going to be challenged. I hope I’m wrong. I hope we are not allowing our government to set Maine up to be at the mercy of a huge foreign corporation which will have a monopoly here in our state.
We independent, resilient and proud citizens still have power. We still have the right to say ‘No!’ It’s not too late to change the policies which put our state in this tenuous position. But we must stand up—and stand together. Sound science and economics should be the basis for our energy policies. If we adopt and enforce that strategy, there is no way that ‘wind’ will dominate our unique mountain summits.
Wind developers use scare tactics, but that’s a double-edged sword. When they tell the whole story, maybe then--they can be believed.