Portland, Maine—Wind energy is on the rise in Maine and is providing large environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released today by Environment Maine. Maine’s wind energy avoided 1 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution in 2013, which is equivalent to eliminating the pollution from more than 110,000 cars. The report also finds that Maine has the potential to get 30% of its energy from wind power, enough to avoid pollution from over 2 million cars.
“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Laura Dorle, Campaign Organizer for Environment Maine. “This analysis comes at the same time as lawmakers jockey over the fate of important federal wind energy tax credits that were unfortunately were allowed to expire last year. We need Senators Susan Collins and Angus King to act now to get these tax credits extended through next year, an important step to ensuring a clean energy future.”
Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
Wind power projects such as Mars Hill in Northern Maine and Vinalhaven on the central coast already produced enough energy in 2013 to power over 96,000 homes. Moreover, the analysis predicts offshore wind will expand significantly in Maine over the next 15 years, with the capacity to produce enough power for over 1 million homes.
Paul Williamson of the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative pointed to the economic benefits of wind energy for Maine. “Wind energy isn’t just good for the environment and our health, it’s Maine’s economic future,” said Williamson. “The wind industry has invested more than $1 billion in Maine over the last 10 years, putting more than 700 local Maine businesses to work across all 16 counties. That represents thousands of real jobs for local people. And the industry is poised to invest almost $2 billion new dollars in Maine during the next three years alone. Wind is Maine’s future.”
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block despite the public support of over 8 million Americans including 50,000 Mainers who are ready for action on climate.
“This report shows that we need wind power to combat global warming and reduce pollution,” said State Senator Chris Johnson who serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources in the Maine Legislature. “That’s why we should affirm, not block, the Clean Power Plan, and reinstate the tax credits that can spur more wind development here in Maine.”
Additionally State Senator Rebecca Millett voiced her support for expanded wind power in Maine stating, “The acidification of our ocean waters and resulting impact on Maine's important fishing livelihoods speaks volumes to the need for us to get serious about carbon free emission energy sources. Maine is perfectly poised to be a central player in this effort with offshore wind production and is a win-win by helping to protect its important fishing industry and creating new jobs.”
“America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast. Expanding wind power now is critical to protecting our environment, our health, our children, and our future,” concluded Dorle.