We are learning that energy comes with a number of different costs.
The recent disasters at the coal mine accidents in West Virginia and Russia and the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are dramatic reminders that society pays a high cost for energy. As such events illustrate, those costs are far beyond financial.
In Maine, we use very little coal, but we continue to pay a very high cost for coal’s usage. While more subtle than the recent disasters, the fact that fish from our lakes and streams are endangered and the tree degradation Maine experiences from coal pollution are equally tragic.
In contrast, we can celebrate the fact that Maine is taking the lead in developing clean, renewable energy.
The most abundant, renewable resource is wind energy. Gov. John Baldacci has declared May 9-15 as Maine Wind Week. Across the state, there are public opportunities to learn more about Maine wind energy.
As Maine develops clean energy from sources such as wind, we are providing solutions to reduce dependency on dirty carbon fuels. All energy does have impacts and associated costs. The major cost associated with wind includes using available lands and ocean spaces to harness the power with wind farm developments. As a result of making that investment, the state has seen job growth, economic benefits and a path toward energy independence. We really have a lot to celebrate.
Paul Williamson, Augusta
Editor’s note: Paul Williamson is a project manager for Maine Composites Alliance, which supports the opportunities associated with alternative energy in partnership with the Maine Wind Industry Initiative.