Investigating the Viability of Wind Power

There are many arguments on both sides of the wind power discussion.  I recently toured an installation in Carthage (my hometown!) to see some of the turbines up close and personal.

This installation, known as Saddleback Ridge, includes 12 turbines making 2,850,000 watts each.  That’s a lot of hairdryers!  (About 2,800 per turbine).

Obviously, not everyone loves windpower.  It’s certainly fair to argue that this 2800′ mountaintop, which has never seen a road, is significantly altered.  On the upside, the road is open to the public for hiking (and hunting, thankfully), and the project has been good for the town of Carthage, shoring up the budget.  And good for the State, in effect paying the costs education for the Town (otherwise paid by the State).  And the location is a very strong one as far as wind resources – it’s early yet, but it may be one of the best locations in all of New England.  On the flip side of that argument, the turbines are quite visible from beautiful Webb Lake, especially at night (when you can see the flashing red lights).

As I am fond of stating, my goal is for Maine to have the cheapest, cleanest power in the nation.  I believe properly executed, wind power can be part of that mix.  I do not support wind power in every case, however, and I strongly supported LD 828 in the last legislative session which increased the citizen’s voice in wind power siting discussions.  What are your thoughts?