Although TransCanada might hope that its huge payouts to local communities and even conservation organizations might dazzle people sufficiently to look the other way, its plans to carve up Sisk Mountain are nothing less than another cut at the North Woods. Nor can easy money hide the fact that wind cannot change the fundamental energy economy in the Northeast. It will not create a significant number of jobs, prevent climate change, or grant energy security.
No turbines come close to generate what they promise and even if they did, we do not have the transmission line capacity to get it to the Boston consumers. No, that would require a vast network of 750KV lines and towers that would forever blight the landscape.
And if you think this is just sentimentality speaking, consider that Maine’s economic engine is its scenery. That is what brings tourists and young professional families here. Don’t take my word for it; that was the guts of the Brookings report of a few years ago: that industrial and residential sprawl are the biggest threats to Maine’s future economic vitality.
So we are soiling our own beds in the bargain that gets TransCanada a bundle of stimulus package money and the chance to sell very expensively subsidized power to southern New England.
I can only hope that LURC can see its way to protecting Sisk Mountain. The trees that fall to the proposed turbine project will echo far and wide when all is said and done.
Steve Bien, Jay