July 29, 2013

Another View: Adding more large-scale hydro would lower bills in Maine

An editorial criticizes the governor for wanting to have a more competitive energy market.

The Press Herald's July 23 editorial, "Our View: Maine can have both hydro and wind power," criticizes the governor's effort to expand hydroelectric resources and states that Maine should be supportive of both hydroelectric and wind. Ironically, that has been the policy of the administration: encourage the development of all renewables, not just wind.

Instead, state policies inherited by the governor discriminate against large hydroelectric resources by making this power source ineligible to comply with our renewable portfolio standard.

Moreover, the governor has supported the development of wind when it has local support and when this comparatively expensive electricity source is exported to other states and not borne by Mainers.

Finally, what is lost in the editorial is the fact that bringing additional competition through a partnership with Canada inherently drives prices down. Are the Canadians going to provide a free lunch? Of course not, but building interconnections with a neighbor with tremendous clean energy can supply us with a stable, low-carbon energy supply that will insulate us from the energy prices that the editorial points out are driving prices higher in New England.

Just recently, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have all joined in Gov. LePage's vision for a better partnership for large-scale hydro. The Portland Press Herald should reassess its opposition to expanding a large-scale hydro partnership and join in this vision of cross-border collaboration to lower greenhouse-gas emissions and provide stable pricing to Maine families and businesses.

Rep. Larry Dunphy, R-Embden, is a member of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

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