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Laura Dorle,
Environment Maine

Report: Maine wind now supplies enough energy for over 100,000 homes

For Immediate Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, December 3, 2015, 1:30 PM

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Laura Dorle, laura@environmentmaine.org, 207-245-0394

 

Report: Maine wind now supplies enough energy for over 100,000 homes

BANGOR, MAINE – Wind power has grown exponentially in Maine over the last dozen years, and now supplies enough energy to power 100,000 homes, a new report from Environment Maine Research & Policy Center, released today at the Bangor City Hall, showed. Last year alone, wind turbines from Mars Hill to the Fox Islands, produced enough energy to reduce carbon pollution from 114,000 cars.

“Wind power here in Maine is already growing steadily, reducing pollution and helping to solve the climate crisis,” said Laura Dorle, Campaign Organizer with Environment Maine. “But we need policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to maintain our momentum in the fight against global warming.”

The report, Turning to the Wind, comes as state officials determine how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action that sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages clean energy development.

It also comes less than a month after the University of Maine received a grant of $3.7 million from the Federal Department of Energy for a new offshore wind turbine design.

Moving towards a 100 percent clean and renewable energy economy is a move that is broadly supported by different groups of people in Maine, including people of faith and public health professionals.

Laurie Osher, President of Maine Interfaith Power and Light, and Orono resident, spoke about the need to tackle this problem within our own communities on up to the national level. She spoke about her organization’s work saying, “Maine Interfaith Power & Light is inspired by diverse faith perspectives to care for the natural world and its most vulnerable inhabitants.  Congregations and church community members have worked to reduce the rate of climate change and improve communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change through education, advocacy, energy conservation and the use of clean renewable power. We thank Senator Collins, Senator King, and Respresentative Pingree for standing up for Maine people and voting against the attacks on the Clean Power Plan.”

It is not just our environment that is at risk; our public health is deeply threatened as well.

Dr. William Wood of Bangor spoke to this stating, ““A warming climate allows disease-carrying insects and arthropods, termed ‘vectors,’ to expand their range northward.   Lyme disease cases in Maine have risen 500% in the last 10 years, according to CDC statistics.  Maine had the highest incidence, or number of cases per 100,000 population, of any state in 2014 – the most recent year for which there are CDC data.”

He called on our leaders to act adding, “As a physician, but more importantly as the parent of young children, I know we need to act faster to limit climate change.  We must end our dependence on carbon-intensive energy sources, and switch to renewable energy. I drove here today in my all-electric car.  Yesterday I got an estimate on solar panels for our Bangor home.  But only large scale governmental and societal action, immediately, can limit the worst effects of global warming.”

One of his young children joined Environment Maine at the Bangor City Hall this afternoon. Twelve-year-old Wells Wood gave a powerful plea to our leaders here in Maine and around the world. “My generation is the one that will feel the worst impacts. We need you [our leaders] to take action.”

The analysis is also timed with what’s become an annual tradition in Congress: waiting until the last minute to renew critical tax incentives for clean energy. The credits, which have helped spur wind power’s growth over the last two decades, expired at the end of last year, and any measure to reinstate them must be adopted before Congress adjourns for the year on December 18. Both U.S. Senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Angus King have continuously supported these tax credits for onshore and offshore wind power development.

The report also showed that renewing tax credits for clean energy sources could nearly double current wind power capacity by 2020, and reduce carbon pollution equal to that produced by as many as 30,000 additional cars. Nationwide, as much as 104.2 million tons of carbon pollution could be avoided.

As world leaders meet in Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slash climate-changing emissions, environmental advocates said wind power should play a critical role.

While we wait to see what comes out of the Paris talks, local municipalities are already taking it upon themselves to take action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Bangor City Council Chair Sean Faircloth spoke about how cities like Bangor should not wait. “Over the next year in my role on the council, I will make it a priority to tackle this issue right here at home.”

“Indeed. From Bangor to Caribou to Portland, to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Dorle, “and that must include doing everything we can to develop abundant, pollution-free wind power.”

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Environment Maine Research & Policy Center is statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.