Wind offers pollution-free, renewable energy generation at prices that are now competitive with fossil fuel sources [0, 1], thanks to recent advances in wind energy technology.
Wind energy is the fastest-growing form of energy generation in the United States, providing some 42% of all new US energy generation capacity in 2012 . 80,000 Americans are presently employed full-time by the wind industry nationwide . Wind power equipment is now manufactured in 550 manufacturing facilities across 44 US states , including Maine .
Wind energy has become a major component of the US energy portfolio. As of January 1, 2013, the US has over 60,000 MW of wind energy generation capacity  -- equivalent to 67 nuclear power plants the size of Maine Yankee  (except without producing an average of 126,054,000 gallons of nuclear waste per year ) or equivalent to 582 average Maine coal-fired power plants  (except without producing 260,000,000 tons of greenhouse-effect-causing CO2, over 1,065,000 tons of acid-rain-causing SO2 per year , and more radiation than an equivalent-output nuclear power plants ). Every time the wind blows, less fossil-fuel energy is needed, so less fossil-fuel pollution is produced, and Maine's air stays cleaner.
Wind energy facilities are sited in areas where the wind resources are strong and consistent enough to make them economical. And while it's true that the wind doesn't blow all the time, many wind energy facilities are sited in areas where the wind is sufficient to generate at least some energy about 95-97% of the time . Wind power isn't designed to completely replace base-load power (like hydro, biomass, or natural gas) -- it's meant to supplement the existing energy supply, and reduce the need for fuel-based and pollution-generating energy sources. In countries like Spain and Denmark that have developed their wind energy generation potential to a high degree, a windy day can provide a significant portion of the country's energy needs. In September 2012, Spain set a national record when it generated 64.2% of its electrical needs from wind power alone ; in March 2013, Denmark set an even more impressive record, when it generated over 83% of its electrical needs from wind power alone . In either case, fossil fuel and nuclear power usage was scaled-down significantly and much less pollution was generated than usual.
In Maine, wind now generates 5.9% of all electricity consumed in the state , almost twice the national average. Maine has significant commercially-viable onshore and offshore wind resources  and could easily develop this resource into a major state export, just like lobster, blueberries, potatoes, and forestry products  -- providing a major boost to the Maine economy.
Maine has no commercially-exploitable coal, oil, or natural gas resources [5, 8], and no actively-mined uranium resources . Maine imports fossil fuels to provide over 60% of all energy consumed within the state [15, 16, 17, 18]. Fossil fuel imports provide about 80% of Maine's home heating energy needs , and nearly 100% of Maine's transportation energy needs  - causing Maine's so-called "oil poverty", a term coined by Maine State Representative Ken Fredette (R-Newport) to describe the financial drain caused by Maine's overdependence on energy imports.
Every dollar spent on importing fossil fuels into Maine for transportation, heat, and electricity generation goes straight into the hands of the colossal oil, natural gas, and coal conglomerates. It has been estimated that petroleum products alone drain $5 billion from the Maine economy every year [20, 21].
On the bright side, Maine has significant renewable energy resources -- notably in the form of wind, biomass, hydro, and tidal energy [21, 12, 20]. If Maine were to realize its clean energy potential, it would result in the creation of thousands of quality jobs and become a tremendous boon to the Maine economy . The first 491 MW of wind energy development in Maine has resulted in over $1 billion in private direct investment in Maine, largely in rural areas where jobs, tax revenues, and direct investment are needed most .
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