The wind industry has told us repeatedly that "Maine is the Saudi Arabia of Wind". Moreover, by enlisting locally known figures to repeat this such as Angus King, they have been able to spread this lie far and wide. Not unlike what they have done in at least 14 other states.
We're taking a moment here to correct this Saudi Arabia moniker by putting Maine's wind potential into proper perspective using data from the NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab). Hopefully one day the Maine media will pick up on facts like this. And hopefully, if and when they do, they will not employ the oft used "Anti-wind activists say that wind industry claims are false", but rather use a more accurate headline such as "NREL data proves wind industry claims in Maine are false".
It took all of about 45 minutes to complete this simple analysis. These figures have been there all along, had anyone spent any time doing a little bit of research. The media have been repeating wind industry propaganda for years and have not once scratched below the surface of slick wind industry propaganda to report on exactly how poor Maine's onshore wind "resource" is.
Here's the overview:
There are ten states which account for 77.6% of the nation's wind energy potential - Nebraska, Kansas, SD, ND,Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming and Minnesota.
These states represent only 27.3% of the nation's area. If all states exhibited equal wind energy, you would expect a state with 27.3% of our geographic area to represent 27.3% of our wind potential. The fact that these 10 states represent 77.6% of national wind potential means they exhibit a disproportionately high potential yield. This can be stated in the form of an index number, i.e., 2.85. In other words, the 10 states have 2.85 times more wind potential than what would be expected by virtue of their size.
Now let's look at Maine.
Maine accounts for 0.1% of the nation's wind energy potential and 0.9% of the nation's area. That translates to an index number of .11. In other words, Maine has only 11% of the wind potential that would be expected by virtue of its size.
Stating the obvious, the nation as a whole has 100% of the nation's wind potential and 100% of its area, meaning the nation has an index of 1.0. In other words, Maine's .11 index means that Maine's allocation of wind potential versus area is 89% below the national average.
The correct headline is therefore: Maine's wind potential is 89% below the national average.
Unfortunately, the headline we have had to read one too many times is "Maine is the Saudi Arabia of Wind".
If one picks apart the wind industry propaganda that has the potential to persuade well meaning legislators to unwittingly sacrifice Maine's core essence, our quality of place - increasing electricity rates, transmission charges
and creating cumulative impact that will eventually reduce tourism revenues, one will find that almost all of this industry's propaganda is just as false as the Saudi Arabia moniker.
In retrospect, that line about Saudi Arabia was to elicit greed and when people get greedy they drop their guard and fall for things they shouldn't. Confidence gaming 101. Just read any email from Nigeria telling you they have discovered riches they owe you - if you'd just give them access to your bank account. If you'd just give them access to your ridges and hilltops - locally affected residents be damned.
Let's please go back to the very start of the expedited wind law that was never debated in the legislature and with our guard up this time, study every claim anew before we grant this industry unbridled access to Maine. And Maine media - please recognize that the tide is turning, there are reams of new information you can start reporting and that now is the time to start using this information in earnest and begin rectifying the damage that has been done to many of your readers and advertisers by your largely pro-wind bias to date.