Raye works for region
Gary Guisinger’s letter “Raye’s thinking” (BDN April 27) is a cheap shot at one of the best leaders we have in Augusta. I believe Sen. Kevin Raye is trying to bring much-needed jobs to Maine and to Washington County. Guisinger alleges Raye is part of a trumped-up coalition. Recently, Calais LNG sponsored a Department of Environmental Protection informational meeting attended by more than 250 people who showed overwhelming support. Attendees represented a cross section of area communities. Trumped-up coalition, I hardly think so.
The proposed energy corridor appears to have few tangible benefits for Maine, beyond the construction phase. Where are the plans to build generation facilities in Maine? Where are the thousands of jobs that will be created in Maine as a result? If Maine and New Brunswick truly share in being an energy hub, then it should start with Canada’s support for the proposed Washington County LNG projects. Maine should not become a one-way street for Canadian-produced energy.
Perhaps Sen. Raye’s position is based in the admirable belief that we should work together as partners and mutually support each other’s efforts.
Those who support local LNG projects do not oppose the energy corridor. However, we do want to ensure that Maine’s energy projects are not sold short in the process. I think that Sen. Raye is doing his best to champion Maine’s interests by supporting these LNG projects and I applaud his efforts.
‘Pursuit of morality’
The Bangor Daily News staff continues to fail to capture the true nature of the debate on same-sex marriage in Maine. The front-page story “Family Matters” in the April 25-26 edition included the two competing viewpoints. They had subtitles of “In Pursuit of Equality” and “In Pursuit of Tradition”. The subtitles should have been “In Pursuit of Equality” and “In Pursuit of Morality”.
GOP’s same old ideas
Maine Republicans want to make state workers pay more for their health insurance so as to be more like that which private business offers.
This is the usual Republican “solution”: Have the workers pay more for everything businesses once paid for. Pensions, health insurance, a living wage and job security all have been going away for the last 30 years as Republican policies increased. The present financial crisis is the final blow. And yet still they seem to think their ideas hold some kind of relevance to help us overcome the situation we find ourselves in today.
Rather than have state workers have the same as “private” workers, what’s wrong with private workers getting better deals? Why is private business our model for doing things? With the current global financial crisis, how can anyone say that business, free to do whatever it wants, will give us only prosperity and security? How, in other words, can Republicans keep promoting their same old ideas as the answer, not the cause, of our problems?
The OpEd by James Schlesinger and Robert L. Hirsch “Get real on wind, solar power” (BDN, April 29) needs clarifying. The Department of Energy already has confirmed that there are no technical reasons we cannot have 20 percent of our electricity coming from wind by 2030. System designers typically know average output within 3 percent and plan accordingly. Wind installations are happening very quickly; one reason is that each individual turbine can be brought on-line and start generating revenue unlike a traditional plant, which takes longer.
Other storage techniques include flow batteries and vehicle-to-grid (where batteries in plug-in hybrids are used to supply peak demand when the vehicle is parked.) TXU and Shell have just announced a 3,000 MW wind farm in Briscoe County, Texas, which will use compressed-air storage. Air will be compressed when demand is low (typically at night), stored in old mines and fed into gas turbines when needed. This will reduce gas consumption by an estimated 50 percent.
Schlesinger and Hirsch claim that 100 percent fossil fuel backup is required: Innovative storage techniques can reduce this dramatically.
Wind is already cost-competitive with coal. And how do we assign a cost to pollution? What will it cost to remove mercury from Maine’s lakes or restore mountain tops in Appalachia? What is the value of avoiding a child’s case of asthma? What about CO2? In my mind, the sooner we move to wind and solar, the better off we’ll be.