Harness The Wind

A couple of weeks ago I was down in Newburyport, MA (my hometown) and saw that someone had erected a wind turbine. Not everyone there is happy with the wind turbine, however some get the value and understand that we must utilize alternative energy sources before it’s too late. One of the claims about wind turbines is they make too much noise. A Newburyport resident who drives by every day says not so.

After seeing the wind turbine in Newburyport two weeks ago, I wondered why Eastport, Maine, where I recently re-located to after nearly 19 years in Los Angeles, isn’t working on wind turbines of their own. The cost per KWH of electricity here is outrageous. Part of the problem is the transport of the electricity. A few well placed wind turbines would generate quite a bit of power for the lovely coastal city in the Passamaquoddy Bay and would give residents a break on their electric bills.

Much of coastal Maine has been shown to have “wind resources consistent with utility-scale production,” including the Eastport area. The Mars Hill Wind Farm on the summitt of Mars Hill Mountain here in Maine, “generates approximately 42 megawatts of power, enough to power 45,000 average Maine homes,” when operating at full capacity. 

Even at 35% capacity, the project generates enough power to accommodate at least 22,000 homes. The electricity produced from the Mars Hill Wind Farm results in a reduction of approximately 65,000 tons of carbon dioxide and over 350 tons of other damaging pollutants every year.

Listening to the roaring and howling winds last night and today, and over the months since I moved here, I keep thinking it’s time to harness the wind. And honestly when you think about those roaring and howling winds, they are probably noisier than a few combined wind turbines.

In early January, the Maine Public Utilities Commission introduced a new incentive program for Maine residents and business owners who are interested in installing wind turbines to produce electricity.  

I am fully aware of all of the debates over wind turbines and I have even written in the past, that I was not completely convinced of their benefit over the possible negatives. However, 5 months of the highest electric bills I’ve ever paid in 30 years or more, does give pause for thought.

We can’t be dependent on oil forever and I think that utilizing local resources is vital. Tidal power is another excellent resource to look at in this area, and thankfully there is something in the works here on that realm, though it still has quite a long way to go.

I love living in Eastport, but there have been challenges. Eastport is beautiful little city that has much to offer and it’s time to begin to revitalize it.

A small wind turbine project would bring much needed work to the area (even if only temporary), lower electricity rates over a period of time and give residents and business owners a much needed break on winter bills. With that, perhaps in time more small businesses would be able to flourish here in the winter months, rather than close their doors until the weather breaks.

Eastport was once, from what I understand a thriving little city. That could happen again, but residents must be willing to move towards the future and embrace alternative energy as a both an energy source and an economic boost for the area.

[Cross posted from my personal blog: PamelaLeavey.com]

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