Wind power is an industry in Maine that, in addition to its environmental benefits, already is creating jobs and millions of dollars worth of economic and community benefits statewide. The wind power projects currently operating and under development in Maine are generating employment opportunities, tax revenues, opportunities for local construction and contracting companies, and the potential for component suppliers and composite manufacturing within the state. Maine’s Public Utilities Commission released a report stating that Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard policies provide enormous economic benefits, much larger than costs.
Wind power means thousands of clean energy jobs for Maine
Maine has set a goal of building 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power by 2015, and 3,000 MW by 2020. This amount of wind power would bring $4-5 billion dollars in economic investment in Maine, creating several thousand construction jobs, over 1,000 long-term jobs, more than $25 million/year property tax payments, and over $6 million/year direct payments to local landowners. This chart shows what the U.S. Department of Energy projects for economic benefits in Maine of developing 1,000 MW of wind power.
Is there a clean energy job near you?
Maine is already experiencing the economic ripple effect from wind power development. This map shows an example of economic activity throughout the state generated from construction of a single wind power project, the 57 MW Stetson Wind Farm. Of the $65 million spent for construction, engineering, and development services at Stetson Mountain, about $50 million was spent here in Maine. This includes more than 130 Maine companies large and small. Look at our other map to see the nearly 300 businesses that have benefited from four constructed projects in Maine.
Real Maine companies, real Maine workers
A skilled wind power workforce is already emerging in Maine. Thanks to programs like Northern Maine Community College’s wind power technology program, Mainers are being trained in-state for this growing industry. Additionally, Maine businesses are developing expertise in wind power construction that helps position them to compete for jobs throughout the northeast. Contracting companies like Reed & Reed have made major investments in equipment for construction of wind farms and are now regional leaders in the field. Other major Maine companies like Cianbro and Bath Iron Works have begun researching their place in the renewable energy market. Longshoreman were put back to work in Eastport in May 2009 when wind turbine blades arrived for the Rollins wind project.
Here is what people are saying about Maine’s emerging wind power economy
Tim Crowley, Northern Maine Community College, President: “We are very excited about this program. It is important for the economic development of the region and it is important because it helps us meet the energy challenges we face locally, nationally, regionally and worldwide…We believe the wind power technology program will provide a valuable and needed resource for entities that erect turbines, as well as excellent placement opportunities for future graduates of the College.” Jack Parker, Reed & Reed, President and CEO: “Our company does not have expertise in the science of climate change, nor are we policy experts. But we have become involved in the construction of renewable energy projects in Maine and believe that the transition to clean energy is vital – for Maine’s environment and our economy. Reed & Reed was the prime contractor for building a 42MW wind farm in Mars Hill, and a 57MW wind farm, the Stetson Wind Farm, in Danforth. The Stetson Wind Farm involved workers from Maine businesses across the state, and provided economic benefits to dozens of Maine firms. Nearly all of the workers on these projects were from Maine.” Jeffrey S. Geiger, Bath Iron Works, President: “The increasing need for alternative sources of energy, coupled with our expertise in complex marine systems, makes it natural for us to look at the possibilities in ocean energy, including offshore wind, tidal and wave… I know we have the experienced work force and facilities to design, construct and support those installations and to design and build the ships that will make those plans a reality.”
Kevin Raye, Senate Republican Leader (represents Washington County in the Maine Senate): “This is good news for our region. The expansion of wind power at Stetson Mountain not only helps us lessen reliance on foreign sources of energy and reduce carbon emissions, but it helps position Washington County to leverage job-creation and economic development in the green energy sector.” Ray Mersereau, Mars Hill, Town Manager: “The Town Council in Mars Hill felt very strongly that we needed to broaden and diversify our tax base; the wind farm has been the perfect vehicle for this strategy. We have been able to substantially reduce the mil rate and the tax burden to our local citizens.”