<ul><li>Wind on the Maine coast is not only the highest in the state but some of the highest in the country </li></ul><ul><li>Community wind on islands have the potential to save communities whose electric rates are unpredictable and often fluctuate uncontrollably </li></ul>
<ul><li>Community wind is extremely beneficial because all of the wind stays on the islands. Communities instantly see the drop of electric rates, and extra energy can be saved or sold back to the mainland. </li></ul><ul><li>These wind projects also stabilize prices almost immediately, ensuring no more unexpected rises in electric rates </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Rockland based organization Island Institute has also sparked an island initiative for wind power. The Institute backs potential island wind projects with almost 50% funding, providing a stepping stone for communities that would never be able to fund wind power themselves </li></ul>
<ul><li>With the help of the Island Institute, the Fox Islands Wind Project, upon its completion in late 2009, became the largest community wind power facility on the East Coast </li></ul><ul><li>Powering the communities of Vinalhaven and North Haven, the three 1.5 Mwh turbines have produced enough energy to provide converted surplus energy to heat homes in the winter </li></ul>
<ul><li>Located 7 miles off of Mt. Desert Island, Swan's Island is a small community of roughly 300 and in 2006 began exploring wind power possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>After research was done on two possible locations on the island, it was found that wind on the island was consistently higher than that of Vinalhaven </li></ul>
<ul><li>In late 2009, a feasibility study was approved by vote, meaning that the study will be done in the fall of this year. Permitting would then take the entire year of 2011 before a turbine would be put up in 2012 </li></ul><ul><li>This project would include one 1.5 Mwh turbine costing a total of $5 million, with the island paying half and the Island Institute helping to fund the other half </li></ul>
Part II: Wind Power in Maine – The Upsides and the Downsides
Wind Power in Maine -There are currently 18 wind farms either under development or in use, from Mars Hill to Vinalhaven -The two largest wind farms in the state are home to 28 and 38 turbines, and located in Mars Hill and Stetson Ridge, respectively -Those two wind farms on their own are able to supply 50,000 homes with power. Even at half capacity, Mars Hill could power 22,000 houses
<ul><li>Many believe that wind power has a bright future in Maine – the state has designated about 2/3 of the state for wind power, and has looked into offshore wind as well </li></ul><ul><li>Alternate energy is becoming more and more important as oil becomes more and more scarce; it simply does not make sense for Maine as a state to continue to rely on fossil fuels when so many alternate energy resources are at our fingertips </li></ul>
-Wind power, such as the Beaver Ridge Wind Project in Freedom, Maine, are part of the smaller community scale wind projects. Three turbines were constructed in 2008, and help power Freedom as well as the nearby communities of Palermo and Montville. The wind project has also caused controversy, ending with the neighboring towns to ban all wind power from being developed.
<ul><li>Wind power, however, has become a very hot button issue. Jonathan Carter, founder of the Forest Ecology Network, argues that wind power is not a sustainable solution in Maine and a moratorium must be put on wind power until more research is done. </li></ul>
Mountaintop wind farms destroy the ecosystem – it is essentially mountaintop removal
Problems with Wind Power: -Mountaintop wind is also just 25% efficient – meaning much of the time is it not economical. Only two mountaintop sites in Maine would make sense economically, those being Sugarloaf and Katahdin -In Maine, 300+ miles of ridgeline have been approved for wind sites – on the other hand if the same money being given to wind power was given to forest restoration, there would be a bigger CO2 impact -Since so much power is created, it is sent right to the grid, resulting in a scenario where if the power isn't used immediately it is sent out of state
Affect on Animals: - The noise from wind turbines severely affects animals – it takes only 3 Db to mask animal sounds; sounds needed to communicate and also to detect predators and prey -Habitats are destroyed by miles of access roads; wildlife simply disappear -The rotors of the turbines rotate at around 200 mph, wreaking havoc with any bird that comes near it
My Conclusion: Alternative energies must be developed. Although there are obvious flaws with wind power, it must be developed now in order to be effective in the future. In terms of community island wind, it is a huge benefit to be able to produce your own electricity, and I think community wind in general should be invested in before huge mountaintop wind projects. As one of the top locations for wind power in the country, the state of Maine has a big opportunity to become a leader in wind power, and it is our responsibility to make things happen.
A Very Special Thanks To: Suzanne Pude Beth Callahan Ed Schwabe Jonathan Carter Coach St. John Ken Boulier Melanie Woods Brian Scalabrine & Ben Garant Jared Allen Mrs. Aronson Ruth Pease & Greg Blanchette