Tourism is the lifeblood of Maine. The excerpt below from "MAINE WIND ASSESSMENT 2012, A REPORT" dated 1/31/12 (six years ago) prepared for the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security discusses wind development and tourism.
The passage below notes: (comments in bold are mine)
" we are aware of no formal research conducted in Maine of tourism impacts from wind development."
RECOMMENDATION: Go to a lake surrounded by wind turbines and another with no wind turbines and decide which one you would want to drive to from New Jersey if you were seeking a week's vacation with peace and tranquility.
In Scotland...."on a national level “there is little evidence of significant negative impact or substantial loss of value from the introduction of wind farms into the landscape.
RECOMMENDATION: Disregard when it's on a national basis because the pain felt near the wind projects is diluted when buried into a national figure.
"On a local level, though, the “small changes” were found to have a significant negative economic impact."
RECOMMENDATION: To protect the people and to keep the tourists in the areas they visit, you must examine the effect on tourism locally, i.e., proximate to wind projects.
"it will be important to follow up on the Scottish studies".
RECOMMENDATION: Start off with a visit to Scotland's areas thus affected and talk first hand to those affected; perhaps invite some of the folks in Scotland to see the devastation here; i.e., follow up.
"it will be important to follow up on the Scottish studies and conduct quantitative research on the impact of wind farms on tourism in Maine."
RECOMMENDATION: Please do it, focusing on the local areas affected, not allowing local results to be quantitatively blended into the whole state....after all, what do the folks in Cape Elizabeth really know about the devastation in the Lincoln Lakes?
"Looking at the behavior of sporting camp clientele and their likelihood of return trips has been suggested as an important element of any research."
RECOMMENDATION: Please do it, but also please look at those who come just to soak up the peace and tranquility, gaze at the night skies and hear the loons in what is otherwise pure stillness.
"The wind permitting process in Maine does require an analysis of project effects on scenic resources, but that analysis does not directly address potential economic losses in tourism resulting from negative scenic impacts."
RECOMMENDATION: Recognize that only in a playing field created by wind lawyers would it be possible to find a devastating project effect on scenery and not infer that tourists experiencing this effect would look for another place to visit. As the Maine Tourism Association wrote in its testimony on wind:
"Part of the Maine experience that draws first time visitors to our state or ensures that those who have visited before choose to vacation here again is our beautiful and scenic landscape. Data from the 2015 Annual Report from the Maine Office of Tourism shows that touring and sightseeing remain one of the most popular interest areas of overnight visitors. Sightseeing, enjoying the ocean views or rocky coast, and driving for pleasure are the most common touring/sightseeing activities among first-time and repeat visitors. Additionally, hiking, climbing, or backpacking and exploring state and national parks top the list for both first-time and repeat visitors for active non-water outdoor activities. That is why it is so important to the tourism industry to keep our scenic vistas in their natural state as much as possible. "
The letter is at the following two links:
VII. Wind Development and Tourism
Varying perspectives on wind development’s impact on tourism have one element
in common: they are largely unsubstantiated. Nationally and internationally, wind
energy trade associations and environmental/scenic resource advocates alike rely
on anecdotes, personal testimony and selective excerpts from research papers to
advance claims that wind development either boosts or diminishes tourism
economies. In fact, much of the academic research on tourism impacts is
prospective or hypothetical, having been conducted in advance of a wind project’s
construction and attempting to gauge likely visitor response and behavior.14 By its
nature, this type of evidence is speculative.
For example, we are aware of no formal research conducted in Maine of tourism
impacts from wind development. Anecdotally, staff at the Maine Office of Tourism
report that it is a topic they hardly hear about from operators and trade groups.
There are, however, several studies from Scotland that look to provide meaningful
analysis of the relationship between these two economic sectors.15 Both reports
reach a similar conclusion, that is, on a national level “there is little evidence of
significant negative impact or substantial loss of value from the introduction of
wind farms into the landscape, but some evidence of small changes.”16 In the
research, loss of value was assumed to come from two areas: fewer visitors and
reduced lodging rates. On a local level, though, the “small changes” were found to
have a significant negative economic impact. We interpret this to mean that in rural
regions of Scotland with a high dependence on tourism and where other job
opportunities are limited, the tourism employment and revenue loss resulting from
wind development can be meaningful.17 Certain Scottish regulatory bodies require
wind developers to prepare a Tourism Impact Statement parallel to the
environmental impact analysis routinely required. Some researchers have
suggested that the Tourism Impact Statement be obligatory in parts of Scotland
where tourism is important in the economy.
Scotland and Maine share a number of characteristics: they are rural places with
low population density, high economic dependence on tourism and natural
resource industries and a rapidly growing wind development sector in which
electricity is produced largely for export. Because of these similarities, it will be
important to follow up on the Scottish studies and conduct quantitative research on
the impact of wind farms on tourism in Maine. Looking at the behavior of sporting
camp clientele and their likelihood of return trips has been suggested as an
important element of any research. Only then will permitting agencies have a
context for considering tourism impacts in the regulatory process and
understanding the threats of specific wind projects raised by guides and lodging
owners. The wind permitting process in Maine does require an analysis of project
effects on scenic resources, but that analysis does not directly address potential
economic losses in tourism resulting from negative scenic impacts.
14 Lilley, M.B.; Firestone, J; Kempton, W. The Effect of Wind Power Installations on Coastal Tourism. Energies 3,
no. 1 and Davidson, Michael. Impact of Wind Farms on Tourism in Skamia County, Washington. June, 2010.
15 Caledonian University, Glasgow. The Economic Impact of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism. A Report for the
Scottish Government. March 2008 and Riddington, G.; McArthur, D.; Gibson, H. Assessing the Economic Impact of
Wind Farms on Tourism in Scotland: GIS, Surveys and Policy Outcomes. Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 237-252 (2010).
16 Assessing the Economic Impact, Ibid.
17 There is an interesting parallel to the Scottish tourism findings in research conducted on property values and wind
development by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, “The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential
Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis.”, December 2009. The study reviewed 7,500
sales of single family homes within 10 miles of 24 wind farms in nine states. “The analysis finds that if property
value impacts do exist, they are too small and/or too infrequent to result in any widespread, statistically observable
impact, though the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes that have been or could be
negatively impacted cannot be dismissed.” As with the tourist studies, these findings suggest that local property
value impacts can exist where no national scale impacts are apparent.
Download: MAINE WIND ASSESSMENT 2012, A REPORT at the following two links:
Also consider the effects of every individual wind project on the likelihood of other wind projects built as a result, i.e., if a project entails new transmission and that transmission will attract new wind development downstream, the potential downstream effects should be considered.
Maine Tourism Contact Information
State of Maine Tourism Office https://visitmaine.com/tourism-staff-directory
Governor's Conference on Tourism (April) https://www.mainetourismconference.com/
Maine Tourism Association https://www.mainetourism.com/contact-us/
Maine Innkeepers Association https://www.maineinns.com/contact-us/
Maine Restaurant Association http://www.mainerestaurant.com/?page=staffdirectory
Maine Campground Owners Association https://campmaine.com/contact-us/
State Tourism Organizations https://visitmaine.com/plan-your-visit/statewide-tourism-organizations
Maine Professional Guides Association http://www.maineguides.org/professional-guides-contact-us
Maine Sporting Camp Association http://www.mainesportingcamps.com/
Maine State Parks http://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/contact.shtml
Baxter State Park Director Director at 64 Balsam Drive, Millinocket, ME 04462
Baxter State Park organization https://baxterstatepark.org/shortcodes/organization/
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument https://www.nps.gov/kaww/contacts.htm
Acadia National Park https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm
When PPDLW was fighting FW's Bowers project we presented the results of an online survey we conducted. It showed hands down now that project would hurt the local tourism based economy. Long Islander, your comments above are 100% spot on. Juliet Brown tried very hard to discredit our study any way she could. The study was referenced extensively in DEP's denial decision.
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