Businesses come together to promote wind power

Businesses come together to promote wind power

By Ramona du Houx - March 26th, 2010 · 

The wind industry in Maine remains strong.  That simple message spread through the halls of the State House on Friday during Maine Wind Day, a gathering of more than 100 contractors, educators, students, developers and supporters of wind power at the State House in Augusta. 

Jeremy Payne of the Maine Renewable Energy Association gave an overview of the status of wind power in the state, saying that investments have – and continue to be – made in Maine at a time when good economic news is hard to come by.
 
“The state has already seen an estimated $750 million of investment, of which approximately $283 million is staying here in Maine to create and sustain jobs, grow the supply chain, conserve land, and enhance additional statewide economic opportunities,” said Payne.  “We estimate the incremental wages to be equal to $288,000 per megawatt, which leads to more than $105 million in wages already.”
 
Payne added that wind power projects in Maine also give direct property tax benefits to host communities, with projects at more than $93 million in direct property tax payments, community benefit agreements, land conservation, and electric rate cuts to communities with wind power projects. 
 
Maine’s overall wind power goal is to reach 2,000 MW of wind by 2015, and 3,000 MW by 2020.  Currently, officials estimate that Maine has reached 367 MW of wind power that are either operational or have received permits.  That is a little more than 18 percent of the way toward the goal.
 
Reed & Reed, a Woolwich, Maine-based business for 82 years, has constructed eight wind power projects, six of which were in Maine.  Reed & Reed says that wind power projects have enabled several hundred employees to remain busy during an economic downturn.
 
“Wind is responsible for Reed & Reed’s strong performance over the last five years during a difficult time in the public works sector,” said John Cooney of Reed & Reed.  “Reed & Reed has grown its professional staff of engineers in order to support wind energy projects.  Over the past three years we have added 10 engineers.  Most of them went to the University of Maine.”
 
Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce added his voice to the supporters of the economic picture created by wind power in Maine.
 
“When you look at the people around us that have come together – not just business, but the private, the public; the republican, the democrat – you have to be impressed that this message unites all of us,” said Connors.  “We thank the developers here today for the investments made because they saw, believed, and invested in the potential, which has provided jobs, provided taxes, and generated revenue.”
 
Representatives from Northern Maine Community College, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and several elected state officials also spoke of the benefits realized by wind power projects.
 
“Wind power in Maine is making huge investments in our state, our environment, our business, and our people,” said Payne.  “We must stand ready to support and welcome them into our communities.”