The Natural Resources Council of Maine walks a fine line — trying to be supportive of clean energy while standing up for wildlife, land protection and other environmental quality. Though the overall impacts of wind power are always fewer than fossil-powered generation, all energy generation has some impacts.
Wind developers are not always happy with NRCM's decisions. The bottom line is that there is a lot of context and data that needs to be considered before decisions are made about particular projects.
Wildlife and human health impacts of wind power are negligible when compared to most energy alternatives. Efficiency improvements to eliminate energy usage are the only exception. While we need to reduce our energy use, we cannot make it all go away. Therefore, low-impact options such as wind are needed.
Not all mountains are created equal. Just because one happens to be in, or visible from a town does not make it special or in need of special protection. Wind turbines do not belong on every mountain ridge, but there are certainly some, where clean energy production is a good idea. Wind power does reduce the amount of fossil fuels needed to make the electricity that we must use.
Life requires trade-offs. Protecting land or providing benefits to local communities is sometimes part of a wind project package.
I believe that it is time to stop looking for evil plots where none exist. We need to focus on the good that wind power is accomplishing in Maine.
Dick Hall, Portland