I suspect many were disappointed in the negative tenor of discussion and the disparity of claims made in regard to the solar bill, L.D. 1504. When discussion degrades to one party saying that the other is lying, it is difficult to know who is closer to the truth.

One major issue is that, unfortunately, Central Maine Power is no longer the friendly neighborhood power company we have known for years. Today, CMP is a tentacle of and owned and controlled by Iberdrola, a large Spanish conglomerate.

In fact, on another front, Iberdrola has been scheming, through subsidiaries, to subvert Maine’s statutes preventing utilities from both producing and delivering electricity. Throwing out an unsubstantiated $150 million scare number (about the added cost to CMP customers from L.D. 1504) is an example of CMP’s new hardball approach.

The solar industry doesn’t have clean hands, either. The way advocates presented costs and benefits didn’t always make clear the unsubsidized costs. Nor did they do a good job of explaining the effect on the grid that input from large numbers of small-scale solar users might have.

It seems to us, as a member of the alternate energy industry, that this focus on solar has sucked the wind out of discussion of any other form of alternate energy benefiting Maine through economic activity or lower energy costs. It would be preferable if the bill had been an alternate-energy policy rather than industry-specific to solar.

It may seem that any hydro, in-stream river or offshore wind, or ocean tidal, wave and ocean current are irrelevant, when, in fact, there is enough power near and off shore to replace most, if not all, current generating capacity in New England. One example: Remember the 5 gigawatts (5,000 megawatts) that the University of Maine says is out there in just one area.

James C. Monroe

principal, Blue Water Dynamos

Gray