by PAUL TROWBRIDGE, CHAIRMAN, PENINSULA POWER
What is a nonprofit community-based clean energy project about? It is decision-making by and for the community. The community has the ability and responsibility to look out for its own interests. Those interests include caring about our planet and the people who live on it, specifically in our own neighborhood.
How can we balance the demand for electricity and other energy products with a clean and healthy environment? How can we promote a responsible energy economy that harnesses our local resources without doing more harm than good? These are some of the questions being discussed at Peninsula Power meetings. Peninsula Power is a group of interested volunteers from our area who want to find answers to some of these questions. Only the community at large will have authority to act on any findings. Hopefully all members of our community are interested in helping solve some of these questions and would like to be part of the conversation, education, and study process. Peninsula Power is not an outside force or profit-making venture aggressively pushing for a commercial site on the Blue Hill Peninsula that will devastate our community.
Complacency with the status quo is a slippery slope that could lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. For decades Maine, and our local area, has imported 95 percent of its energy needs from out of the state and country. According to state statistics that equals $5 billion a year being shipped out of state and never coming back.
Can we afford those losses? We as a state are vulnerable to any supply or price fluctuations, and virtually any and all energy issues and problems. With world demand for energy increasing at a rapid rate these concerns are only getting greater. China has already surpassed the USA in its number of cars on the road and annual energy consumption. In two hundred years we will have burned up carbon-based fuels that were two million years in the making. When is a good time to look for a clean alternative? Maine people have historically been independently minded and willing to create their own solutions, not willing to take what is spoon fed from afar.
Let’s look at all the difficult issues and see what can be done. Individual communities can make a difference.
Noise from wind turbines is one of the biggest issues with wind power. Let’s look at the facts and see what we can find out. Check out this article and accompanying podcast from “Renewable Energy World” about wind power noise issues featuring a Texas town and the Vinalhaven wind project: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/podcast/2010/08/when-is-wind-energy-noise-pollution.
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