How Numbers Affect Visual Impact

Friends of Maine’s Mountains, via an amendment to LD 901, wants to set a predictable visual impact standard instead of spot-zoning, instead of cherry picking favorite places. The Wind Lobby has its hair on fire, despite the fact that every wind application except one (Mars Hill) has submitted a Visual Impact Assessment during its permitting process. 

But over the years we've learned that how people see wind development depends a lot on...

                   people see wind development. 

If people look at a wind turbine and BELIEVE that it is saving the planet, they think the turbine is beautiful.  But it people KNOW that the turbine is merely a useless and unnecessary feel-good scam to line the pockets of speculators, their VIEW of Big Wind is changed.  If wind energy actually did some good, it would be easier to accept. 

Electricity generation is a virtual non-factor in Maine's GHG output but we are destroying our landscapes to benefit foreign corporations building wind and transmission all because of this virtual non-factor. See chart below:

By 2011, Maine electricity generation by oil had fallen to under one half of one percent of all Maine electricity generation.  

In Maine, one of the top three cleanest electricity states in America, transportation emits FIVE+ times more CO2 than electricity. Yet in less than a decade Maine has decided to throw $2 billion (not counting billions more for transmission, capacity payments, etc.) at unsustainable, redundant and unnecessary wind projects that contribute on most days 1% to 3% to the ISO-NE electricity mix, even as dirty plants continue to burn fuel and get paid handsomely for being ready.  

But what has Maine done about the real problem, transportation emissions?  

We raised the speed limit.  

It is noteworthy that both the Maine Wind Law and the more recent law that raised the speed limits on I-95 were enacted by the Maine House & Senate unanimouslywithout debate, and without any roll call votes.  

Prolific wind spending is the reason why your light bills have not gone down even as ISO-NE wholesale rates have dropped in a few years by more than double. (See spread sheet here.)

Numbers are actually relevant to visual impact assessment: the more Mainers learn about Big Wind’s big impacts and tiny benefits, the less tolerant we are of looking at it.  

See those poll results here.

Pick up the phone. Urge your legislators on the Environment Committee and Utilities Committee to update the visual impact submissions for wind projects.