Wind power helps strengthen Maine’s communities, despite the inaccurate claims by The Ellsworth American’s Editorial Board in its July 7 commentary.
The board relied on faulty analysis from well-known anti-renewable energy activist Robert Bryce. Bryce has longstanding ties to special interest groups, and several years ago over 50 journalists and educators signed a letter to the New York Times urging the paper to disclose financial ties from op-ed writers, using Bryce as the prime example of someone with inherent conflicts of interest.
Concerning the analysis at issue here, Bryce produced a grossly inflated number for the amount of government incentives awarded to wind companies by including hundreds of billions of dollars in incentives that have nothing to do with wind energy. He even counts many incentives that were awarded to competing fossil and nuclear energy sources.
Bryce cites diversified companies that conduct some wind business, and then incorrectly assumes that all incentives awarded to those diversified companies were actually given to their wind operations. However, clear line-item labeling that indicates 99.9 percent of the incentives listed in his source dataset have nothing to do with wind energy. Even a cursory look at the dataset Bryce uses indicates that almost all of these incentives went for activities as diverse as food product manufacturing, international water projects, insurance companies and other activities clearly unrelated to wind energy.
Here are the facts: wind supports up to 2,000 well-paying jobs in Maine and has attracted over $1 billion of investment into the state’s economy. Through 2050, it will help save the state’s families and businesses over $1.75 billion on their electricity bills. That’s on top of more than $780 million saved from protection against conventional fuel price fluctuations. Wind also helps communities fix roads, fund education and improve health care facilities by increasing property tax revenue. By 2030, it could add more than 18 million additional dollars to county coffers every year.
In reality, wind energy creates good jobs, saves money on electric bills and brings added resources to communities, a different picture from the one painted by those who obscure the truth.
Eastern Region Policy Director, American Wind Energy Association