Maine Economic Growth Council cites energy costs as an obstacle to Maine’s economic growth
The Council’s “2010 Measures of Growth in Focus annual economic report”, released February 25, 2010 list energy costs as a problem for Maine:
“The most recent data for 2007 shows the average retail price of electricity in Maine was at $42.77/million
British thermal units (Btu.) This was almost 60% higher than the average U.S. price of $26.84/million Btu.
The price gap between Maine and the nation has widened since 1990 when the difference was 16%.
Businesses, particularly manufacturers, weigh the cost of energy heavily when making decisions to locate and expand. This puts Maine and the region at a competitive disadvantage relative to the nation and to the north in Canada as Maine Utilities’ prices are anywhere from 25% to 65% higher than Hydro Quebec and New Brunswick Power electric prices.
“Reigning in energy costs is very important for an energy dependent state like Maine,” said Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree. “By increasing the mix of renewable generation and increasing efficiency in our homes and businesses, Maine can take control of our energy future”.
While it is agreed that Maine’s electricity prices are already sky high, one has to wonder which forms of renewable energy the Council and Hannah Pingree would suggest. Unfortunately, these days in Maine, renewable energy is often code for the W word.
If the state infers from this report that wind power is a solution to reduce electricity costs and spur economic growth, it is suggested that they take a look at the European experience, where the exact opposite effect has been experienced:
Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.
For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.
The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power - - which are charged to consumers in their bills -- translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.
“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.
Groundbreaking Study Puts Real-World Numbers Behind The Promise of "Green Jobs"