First Wind tells the story of a supporter in Maine

This is a guest blog by Christine Duval of FirstWind, originally posted on FirstWind’s website.

Richard Anderson says the state of Maine is well positioned to harness wind power as a commodity that can be exported to help grow the state’s economy and further offset the need for fossil fuels.

Anderson, 79, served as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Conservation between 1981 and 1987. Previously, he was the director of the Maine Audubon Society from 1969 to 1977. He is also a founding member of the International Appalachian Trail, which runs from Mount Katahdin through New Brunswick to theGaspé Peninsula of Quebec, after which it takes bridge crossings to Nova Scotiaand Prince Edward Island, a ferry ride to Newfoundland, and then continues to the northern-easternmost point of the Appalachian Mountains at Belle Isle,Newfoundland and Labrador.

What do you like best about wind power?

“I like being able to watch the breeze blow past and know that is being captured to light people’s homes and help them cook their dinners.  It’s a much better, efficient and more reliable source of clean energy than hydropower because you don’t have to worry about droughts. There’s no smoke, no ash and it’s almost impossible to measure the impact. From my perspective, there’s no better way to make electricity.”

But some people say wind power impacts scenic views.

“Personally, I don’t see a negative visual impact from wind power projects. The IAT (International Appalachian Trail) goes right through a wind farm in Quebec. But I can see how some people would prefer not to see energy being generated. I have a question for those people: would they rather get their electricity from a few turbines or from a coal-fired generation plant?”

Others say Maine has all the electricity it needs, and we don’t need more wind farms because that electricity is being sold out of state.

“For more than a hundred years, we have been selling toilet paper that was harvested in Maine all over the world. We don’t consume every lobster we harvest or every potato that is grown here. We have a chance to continue exporting our natural resources to support our economy right here in Maine. That is what we have been doing since before Maine became a state.  Is anyone complaining about exporting timber or agriculture products?

What do you say to wind power opponents?

 “I try to get people to talk about how we make the electricity we use. I ask them to tell me what they think is better than wind. Maine has a good wind resource, and you can’t just put wind anywhere.”


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