Maine, the Saudi Arabia of Wind

John Davis

king.jpgA former governor of Maine is calling on his state to invest in a major wind power plant off the coast of the northeastern state.

In a story in the Boston Herald, former Maine Governor Angus King told a group at Bowdoin College that Maine should start a $15-billion network of offshore wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine over the next 10 years:

A “wind ranch” of 1,000 turbines placed 26 miles offshore could provide all of Maine’s electricity as well as heat for its homes, he said.

“The Gulf of Maine is the Saudi Arabia of wind,” King said. “There is nothing I’ve come across that has the large potential this has. We need to be thinking big about this.”

King, who is now working on two conventional wind farm proposals in western Maine, didn’t say how such a project would be paid for, except that it would take both private and government funding.

The cost won’t look so daunting in 10 or 12 years, he said, as oil and gas prices triple. Oil prices could realistically rise to $300 a barrel in 2020, he said, up from the current price of just over $110 a barrel.

“Filling up your (car’s gas) tank will be $200. To fill up the (heating oil) tank in your basement with oil _ $2,000.” Maine, with its cold winters, will be uninhabitable, he said.

Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says the idea has a lot of merit… although he says land-based wind farms are probably closer to reality. But he says he have to think big in these days of $115-a-barrel oil.