Two Letters to the Editor from the 8/10/12 Bangor Daily News
The Maine media bias in favor of wind development has been obvious for some time. A recent BDN article served as a perfect example. The story of the truck losing its wind tower load in a ditch went the extra mile for the industry by devoting much of its space to promotional data for First Wind and the industry in general.
I don’t recall other stories reporting truck accidents including favorable factoids about the company or industry involved. When a logging truck loses its load, the related article doesn’t tell how many jobs were created by the logging job the truck was working. We don’t hear how many homes will be built by the company’s timber products.
But, with a wind tower in a ditch, we get a wind power sales pitch.
On top of that, the promotional data is misleading. The article said that First Wind’s projects in Maine could supply the “energy needs of 85,000 homes.” Hardly. Wind turbines supply electricity only. Maine homes use a variety of energy sources other than electricity, especially for things such as heating. Supplying all their energy needs with wind electricity would make the 85,000 figure much smaller.
The Maine media’s pro-wind bias might not change, but the objectivity and accuracy of the reporting should. A 2010 University of Maine poll showed that 79 percent of Mainers get their information on wind energy from newspapers.
With this type of reporting, it’s no wonder the Maine public’s wind energy IQ is so low.
Two hundred jobs and power for 85,000 homes has been cited over and over when reporting anything about First Wind’s industrial turbine projects. Are these 200 new jobs for Mainers? Or are they the same jobs that build all projects? The Reed and Reed employee who testified at the Land Use Regulation Commission public hearing in Ellsworth when the Bull Hill project was being permitted stated that if LURC gave the OK the crew would move right over to Bull Hill after Rollins Mountain.
Are the 185 megawatts that are quoted as being produced by First Wind’s projects the capacity on paper or the actual production? In Maine, wind projects typically produce approximately 14 percent of their total capacity. This would then actually provide energy for far fewer homes.
Where are these homes? In Maine?
What does it mean to state “enough energy for 85,000 homes”? All the electricity they’ll use in a week? A year? Ever? It’s too vague a statement to be printed without clarification. These “facts” are reprinted with almost each news item covering wind projects in our area. Please find the answers for us.
Mary Ann John
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