Two of Maine’s four candidates for governor are coming out strongly in favor of developing more wind energy, while two others are making distinctions about the degree to which they would support it.

Responding to questions from the Portland Press Herald, the candidates offered their positions on wind power, the controversial ban on new projects ordered by Gov. Paul LePage, and what signals they would send to wind developers. Here are some excerpts:

Republican Shawn Moody:

“We need a comprehensive energy policy that will include input from all stakeholders. The goal will be to provide energy providers with predictability and consistency in regard to permitting and regulation.”

“In the long term, renewable energy can play an important role in this energy strategy, but we cannot subsidize high-priced sources of energy, or special interests, at the expense of Maine people.”

Citing the importance of tourism and recreation on the economy, Moody said he would: “Require economic impact studies that take into account the aesthetic value of our panoramic sites. Every project will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure Maine’s energy strategy protects our environment and also focuses on reducing costs; but we must not permanently damage Maine’s landscape. …”

“It’s important that we embrace new technology, but we cannot subsidize special interest groups and harm Maine’s viewscape, just to benefit the profits of a few.”

Democrat Janet Mills:

Mills said she strongly supports wind energy in Maine and wouldn’t extend LePage’s ban on new development.

Mills added: “Maine has the resources and the expertise to lead the entire nation in growing the clean energy economy, creating good-paying jobs, cutting pollution and lowering energy costs. What we’ve been missing is a leader willing and ready to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Mills said she would “support the cutting-edge research into offshore wind energy being done right here in the University of Maine system. There are federal dollars waiting to expand these programs, that we should accept. With the right leadership, Maine has the potential to become a wind-energy powerhouse, cutting our own energy costs and exporting power to the rest of New England and beyond, and bringing millions of dollars and hundreds of good jobs into our state.”

Independent Alan Caron:

“Gov. LePage’s policies have stalled the development of a wide array of alternative energy projects, particularly solar and offshore wind.”

“Maine should be a renewable energy leader in America. … My goal as governor will be for the state to be energy independent in 25 years. That would be good for the economy and also the environment because it would reduce carbon emissions.”

Caron said he’s “a big supporter of offshore wind power, which would have less of an impact on Maine’s landscape and would allow the state to be a global leader in this emerging technology.”

Caron would “proceed more cautiously” on land-based wind. “Fast-tracking wind projects is a mistake. When considering land-based wind, we need to consider both the positive and the negative impacts of projects, such as the visual impact on Maine’s landscape.”

Independent Terry Hayes:

Hayes said she wouldn’t extend LePage’s wind energy ban. She added: “Some policies of ​the ​LePage administration have discouraged investment in alternative energy sources, including wind. I believe that government’s role is to encourage competition and investment; fair, consistent regulations enhance predictability and invite development.”

“I support development of alternative energy sources, but not by tipping the scales or creating shortcuts for one strategy over another. If it’s right for Maine, we needn’t stack the deck; a level playing field will encourage fair competition.”

filed under: