The following letter went to every Maine legislator today - along with the following Excel file.
*** Copies addressed to all Maine legislators via Multiple Emails ***
A lot of "biomass" got thrown around during the Baldacci era with respect to "green" energy.
"Maine is the Saudi Arabia of Wind"
"Wind will get us off foreign oil"
"We need the CMP upgrade due to aging lines".
None of these oft repeated messages were true, but that didn't stop them from being constantly repeated via the bullhorn of the media.
I'm taking a moment here to correct the Saudi Arabia moniker by putting Maine's wind potential in proper perspective using data from the NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab).
A copy of my analysis is attached. It took me all of about 45 minutes to complete. These figures have been there all along, had anyone spent any time doing a little bit of research.
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 disproprtionately 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 to 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 likely reduce tourism revenues, one will find that almost all of this industry'spropaganda 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.
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, study every claim anew before we grant this industry unbridled access to Maine.
Thank you in advance for doing the right thing.