More than a decade ago, Maine said it wanted to generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity from onshore wind by 2020. That was a very aggressive goal and the state has fallen well short, even though it’s the Northeast’s leader in wind power: It generates about 1,000 megawatts on a good day, almost as much as Seabrook Station at full blast.
The Bangor Daily News looked at what happened in this article. Three things contributed: It’s hard to find locations with good wind and good grid connections but not much NIMBY; the GOP’s inexplicable anti-wind stance under former Gov. LaPage blocked things; and surprisingly cheap solar has stolen some of the renewable-energy financing.
DOE published tables indicate the Maine has only 4.8GW of potential wind capacity onshore at 80 meters hub height. This goes to over 115GW or 24 times more potential above 140 meters. Maine is 90% forested so over 20,000,000 acres of forest land could hide these from residents and cities. Less than 10% of this area could be used to supply all of New England states with clean renewable energy and few residents would even see the towers. This is the cheapest form of producing power and could heat homes and power electric vehicles in the future. People might buy into this if they were honestly informed of options by the news media.