In a March 6 commentary, Sarah Leighton of Sierra Club Maine advocated for the electrification of our heating systems to reduce the use of fossil fuel, which is fine. However, this is the same Sierra Club chapter that is working side by side with the fossil fuel industry to stop New England Clean Energy Connect, which would replace 1,200 megawatts (the capacity of the Seabrook nuclear plant) of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Because of the intermittent power of solar and wind, lithium battery storage and fossil fuel will be required to meet demand. Lithium extraction has similar environmental impact as fracked natural gas. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama region, lithium extraction consumes 65 percent of the region’s water supply, which has had a major impact on local farming. Would the Sierra Club’s Maine chapter support lithium extraction in Maine?

If we want to electrify our heating system, and do it without fossil fuels, we are going to need hydro to work in tandem with solar and wind. New England Clean Energy Connect will help get us there. I will go even further and say that the state of Maine should be reaching out to Canada to see what we can do to get connected to the Atlantic Loop proposal. According to a study released last year by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, building two-way power flow between Canada and New England would help accomplish our carbon-free goals.

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