Wind developers wait for November to see market signals in Maine

"If we would like to see investments avoid Maine, moratoria and unfair and unreasonable treatment of the wind industry is the best way to do that," Payne said.

Maine had its own renewable energy targets in place in order to send positive market signals to investors, Payne said, but they are not enforceable.

Even a short moratorium could still have longer term impacts, "because it sends market signals" of unreliability and uncertainty, ACORE's Foley said.

LePage is not the only governor to enact a moratorium on renewables, Foley said, referencing Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich's 2014 two-year freeze of the state's renewable energy and efficiency standards. Kasich vetoed a bill that would have extended the freeze at the end of 2016. The two-year freeze was opposed by a handful of Ohio businesses in addition to clean energy advocate.

Foley said that renewable development has since picked up in Ohio, but not at the same rate that preceded the freeze. While hesitant to compare the two actions, Payne said the chilling effect offered a lesson into how investments would shift without a supportive policy landscape

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Comment by Penny Gray on July 10, 2018 at 6:48pm

Let us hope the next governor has enough smarts to send the right signals to an industry that would destroy so much of what makes Maine a special place, and threaten it's most reliable economic engine, tourism.

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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 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?" 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.”

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