H. Verrier: Outlandish statements

It is fascinating when newspaper editors and policy makers afford special attention to opponents of change who shout loud enough. However, this dynamic slows the progress of renewing the infrastructure and attracting the investment we all rely upon for community and economic development.

This has been the case with wind power for some time now. Project and legislative hearings include some carefully thought out and valuable input from the public, but also emotional and outlandish statements that sour the tone and sometimes require significant effort to investigate.

A recent example of loud voices requiring action is the follow-up editorial (Feb. 8) focused on reader comments about the earlier piece on the importance of a $1 billion investment in clean energy here in Maine (Feb. 5). Opinions are an essential part of our public discussion, yet as Mark Twain once wrote, "Opinions based on theory, superstition and ignorance are not very precious."

An example was the reader who claimed we will be seeing turbines everywhere.

Some turbines are and will be visible from some places. But given Maine's vast acreage, rolling topography and thick forests, the view from most places in this beautiful state will not change — including the one from the windows in my house.

The Sun Journal is leading the way in cleaning up reader comments. Hopefully, in the future, this newspaper, and the decision makers who rely on its reporting, will discount, rather than encourage, the shrillest voices.

Hugh Verrier, Eustis

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Comments

 's picture

photos

wish we could input photos?

RONALD RIML's picture

You can

Google up the 'img' tag using html

 's picture

wind sprawl

 's picture

thousands

1000 mega watt dense energy = 4000 mega watt WIND energy.

thousands of them.

Watch WINDFALL movie. Look at Tug Hill. That is only 200+ of them.

Thousands of them. Not 25-35. Thousands of them. As far as the eye can see.

How many do you look at?

Sunday, March 4, 2012 1-5 pm Dixfield High School Windfall Movie

 's picture

We Will Be Seeing Turbines Everywhere

If you were to understand the magnitude of the state's goal for land-based wind power that was incorporated into the Expedited Wind Permitting statute, you might be more alarmed by this. 2700 MW of installed capacity by 2020, just 8 years from now, leading to an onslaught of sprawling industrial wind sites.

Based on the recently completed Rollins project as an example of a mid sized project, we can project what an actual build-out of the state's goal would mean. I use Rollins as an example because I know that project inside-out and sideways; it sprawls through four Lincoln Lakes towns, with most of it in Lincoln, my home town. The blasting, leveling, and clearcutting that happened to Rollins Mt. and the ridges of Rocky Dundee are environmentally unforgivable! All for a fickle trickle of output from the 60 MW project, as it's first full quarter of operation indicates a capacity factor of 24% (FERC), just as we locals had predicted!

Anyhow, this project permanently clearcut 1,000 acres in total (roads, pad sites, powerlines, etc) destroying deer yards, filling wetlands, and threatening nesting bald eagles in the process. It sprawls across 7 miles of ridgeline, a combination of topography and the necessary spacing for turbines so they don't reduce efficiency (Efficiency? Ha!) by interfering with one another for wind flow. It encompassed 20 miles of new powerlines to get the power to the existing grid.

Take the 60 MW and divide into 2700 MW and get 45, meaning it would take 45 more industrial wind sites more or less the size of Rollins. Rollins was considered an ideal site by First Wind--we were told in public meetings, it is all on tape--that Rollins was a great site because the lower mountains and less ledge meant less blasting, less moving the mountains around, and the site was far more easily accessible (yep, just off ME Rte, 6) and close to the grid access point. Other sites, such as the Kibby Range project up near you in Eustis, Mr. Verrier, are far more remote, in higher more difficult terrain, requiring longer power lines. And, as dozens more communities restrict wind power through ordinances to protect their residents, these projects will be pushed to more remote areas.

That is why I project that a build out to reach the state's goals will mean more than 300 miles of Maine's uplands blasted away and leveled by these sprawling sites, more than 50,000 acreas of permanent clearcuts (graveled over areas and areas where re-growth is treated with herbicides), and a spiderweb of more than 1,000 miles of new powerlines. And then there is that MPRP expansion to 345kv trunk line, a $1.4 billion project overbuilt just to handle the few days a year when sustained winds actually create a surge of wind power into the grid.

In my opinion, development of wind power in Maine is environmentally destructive, totally unnecessary, hurts tourism and Maine's prized "Quality of Place", and is a costly debacle. Should the build out of the wind power goal occur, there really will be turbines in nearly every vista in Maine's mountain regions. I stand by every statement I write in this and other journals.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Opinions, both pro and con,

Opinions, both pro and con, on any issue should not be censured in the name of "cleaning up". Some of these opinions are based on facts to be found while others are not, yet they all represent a point of view from someone intersted in the issue enough to post their thoughts on it. Freedom of Speach.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Amen, brother. Regardless of

Amen, brother. Regardless of what Twain may have said, opinions are protected by the 1st Amendment, regardless of whether they meet his criteria.

Mark Belanger's picture

Right on Mr. Verrier

Right on Mr. Verrier !!!!!!!!!!!

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