LePage’s critical wind-power stance creating uncertainty

LePage’s critical wind-power stance creating uncertainty

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine GOP convention in May 2012.

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine GOP convention in May 2012.
Posted May 27, 2012, at 5:06 p.m.
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ELLSWORTH, Maine — Recent statements from Gov. Paul LePage regarding wind energy are causing some angst in Maine’s wind power industry at a time changes in Augusta and Washington, D.C., are creating uncertainty over political support for renewable energy.

Since his election in 2010, LePage has questioned the economics behind wind power as part of his administration’s focus on lowering energy costs for Maine ratepayers. But the Republican governor’s rhetoric has intensified in recent months, suggesting that the technology is increasing energy costs and padding the pockets of “special interests.”

“We have people in Maine who say that wind is the answer. And it is the answer for people who lobby for wind,” LePage told a crowd in April. “Wind is costing us dearly. It’s costing us jobs, it’s costing us investment and it’s costing us big.”

Those comments came months after LePage repeatedly suggested that state policies designed to encourage development of wind power were partly responsible for Maine’s higher electric rates— a claim sharply disputed by renewable energy proponents.

More recently, LePage has used the debate over wind power to attack independent U.S. Senate candidate and former governor Ang..., repeatedly calling him “the king of the wind cartel” and suggesting he made “a fortune” on ratepayers backs. King was until recently a large stakeholder in Independence Wind that built the 22-turbine Record Hill wind farm.

While LePage’s statements have been welcomed by wind power critics in Maine, they’ve caused some discomfort in an industry that supporters point out has invested more than $1 billion in Maine — and much of that during a recession. They also suggest the comments stand in stark contrast to LePage’s mantra of being a pro-jobs and pro-business governor.

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Comment by norman f. harte on May 28, 2012 at 7:39am

Governor LePage, Well done you have clearly seen through the individuals that are out for the big payoffs by pushing the concept of these wasteful windfarms/factories. Please on behalf of those who love Maine,step up the position that we all is correct. More publicity is needed by you and your staff. Norman Harte, Island Falls.

Comment by Hart Daley on May 27, 2012 at 11:15pm

1 billion invested in Maine.....1 billion dollars of our hard earned taxpayer money.....let the PTC die just like wind power is doing across the globe!

Comment by MaineHiker on May 27, 2012 at 9:42pm

To brother Paul, Maine and Maine's wilderness and mountains are NOT trinkets for sale by others. Please allow people to have block powder signal-canons  in the mountains,and other precious landscapes around Maine.

Comment by Bob Sousa on May 27, 2012 at 8:13pm

The Governor has done the research and realizes that the temporary jobs for out of state contractors benifits only the parisites looking for taxpayer money.  Wind has not, and will not be effective with present technology. Good jobs will come to Maine when we have a business friendly enviroment and not until.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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