Wind power is a false promise. Its easy to put a turbine on a mountain top. The hard part is getting the grid to try to regulate fossil fuel generators in response to the erratic, unpredictable and uncontrollable output of wind turbines. The ISO-NE grid has been studying wind integration for several years. It has outlined a number of issues that must be solved for wind to be effectively used as capacity. Storage, massive new transmission projects, dependable wind forecasts, smart grid, automatic regulation are all problems without current solutions. Wind power is, if anything, premature. Until these issues are resolved wind power simply adds to the excess capacity the grid maintains as a safety buffer and does not reduce fossil fuel consumption at all. It is neither useful or valuable, but we pay a high price for it.
The ISO-NE wind integration study says that to build all the infrastructure required for 20% wind power will require a tax on carbon of $100 per ton. In the most recent RGGI auction, carbon sold for $1.89 per ton, which is the floor price set by RGGI. On the Chicago exchange carbon recently sold for 10 cents per ton. Wind power is ridiculously expensive compared to cheap and plentiful coal. One of the "unintended consequences" of building a massive transmission system so that wind power generation can find a home somewhere is that midwest coal plants are chomping at the bit to sell power over these same lines to the energy hungry east coast. They will even absorb the cost of transmission. Wind power will not make a dent in coal mining, and may in fact give the coal industry a huge new market.
Mountain top coal removal is dirty business, just like the extraction of any of the raw materials the worlds economy runs on. I'm glad the mountains of Maine do not contain coal, or uranium, or bauxite, or iron ore, because they would be exploited if they did. What Maine's mountains contain is one of the last unspoiled places that people can come to to enjoy the absence of man's heavy hand. Wind power will industrialize this landscape and scar it for all future generations.