Gubernatorial Candidate Profile: Wind Power 

All this month, we’re profiling the three candidates running for governor – Independent Eliot Cutler, Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud.

We asked them the same series of questions.

Here’s one of them: “There has been a lot of debate about wind power in Maine. Should the state be encouraging an expansion of this form of energy?”

Eliot Cutler: “We ought to be encouraging the expansion and the use of every one of our renewable resources in Maine. Wind, Solar, Tidal power, Bio-mass, run of the river hydro, on and on and on. We have probably the best resource profile, renewable clean energy resource profile of any state in the east, if not in the country. And our future, our kids’ future, depend the use of clean energy sources that have a low life cycle cost instead of maximizing, like we are doing now the use of oil. Natural gas has got to be a bridge fuel but it needs to be a bridge fuel, where we do not get stuck on the bridge. It has to be a bridge to a renewable future. We need to have an energy plan for the state of Maine, we don’t have one. We don’t have a plan for just about anything in Maine, but we certainly don’t have a plan for our energy future. We need the tools, we need a Maine energy finance authority, which is what I have suggested, so that we can access the lowest cost debt, we need to really take a look at all of our energy resources and figure out how to use them wisely and get at it. ”

Paul LePage: “I would say that certainly we should continue with research and development to get it to become a competitive fuel source. Right at the present time it is more costly than others, I think that we take all the alternatives and put it into the bucket and we select them by priority of affordability. Right now the most affordable and most readily available for us for the near term, the near mid-term, the next 10 or 15 years would be hydro energy out of Canada and certainly natural gas. If we could connect the Marcellus Shale to Maine, we already have the infrastructure in the ground. So we could go and lower the cost of doing business in Maine and lower the cost of residential heating, significantly.”

Mike Michaud: “Yes, the state definitely should be encouraging that as well as other clean renewable energy. We have a great potential here in Maine with the offshore wind potential, solar power, tidal power. These are the areas that the Maine technology institute just came out with a report that said these are the growth areas with high paying jobs. And we have to get off of our dependency of home heating oil. And I made that my goal to reduce our dependency by 50% by 2030 and I am going to be able to do that with the clean renewable energy sector. And natural gas is key as well for transitional fuel. We have a problem in Massachusetts with a bottle neck there. But for the clean renewable energy sector, those are real jobs. When I was able to get federal dollars for the tidal power project in Washington County they were able to hire about 100 employees to put that together. Maine is the first state in the country to be hooked up to the grid with tidal power and offshore wind power as well.”