Maine Governor proposes rollback of wind targets

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has introduced legislation that would eliminate the state’s wind power target, despite criticism from environmental groups that say the move represents an attack on renewable energy.

The bill would roll back a 2008 law signed by then-Gov. John Baldacci (D) that set a wind energy production target of 3,000 megawatts by 2020.Patrick Woodcock, the director of LePage’s energy office, said replacing the target with renewable energy “goals” would help lower electricity costs for consumers without affecting the wind industry.”If we are going to have wind development, how can we maximize the benefits to Maine people who are struggling with very high energy costs [and] promote economic development at the same time?” said Woodcock.But opponents said the bill would hurt wind development and drive renewable energy investors out of the state. Maine currently produces 450 MW of wind energy, enough to power about 175,000 households.

The bill “takes away years of work around setting these goals and inserts one man’s interpretation of what he’d like to see around wind,” said state Senate President Justin Alfond (D)