Leaders from the Northeast wind energy industry met this week in Portland for the second time in three years, as Maine has emerged as the region’s wind energy hub.
Attendees at the American Wind Energy Association’s Northeast Regional Summit at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks discussed development of new wind farms in Maine that are creating local jobs and generating local tax dollars, which in the long run will lower electric bills for consumers and help protect the environment.
The Summit attracted over 300 attendees and 20 businesses showcasing their products on a sold-out exhibition floor.
“The wind industry cluster in Maine has become well established and is now a significant part of Maine’s economy,” said Paul Williamson, Director of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative. “We have over 100 businesses that provide direct services for wind energy projects here in Maine. We have companies in Maine that manufacture goods that are sold into the growing global wind supply chain. The growth of wind locally and internationally benefits our state’s economy.”
Maine has emerged as the Northeast hub for wind energy as a result of recent Power Purchase Agreements signed with Massachusetts and Connecticut. In total these contracts mean nearly 800 megawatts of new wind power capacity, which will help make the region’s energy mix cleaner and more affordable for consumers while generating valuable local economic growth.
“Reed & Reed is an 86 year-old Maine company that has become the largest builder of wind power projects in New England,” said Jackson A. Parker, President & CEO of Reed & Reed. “Over the years we have built hundreds of bridges in the region, but wind power has transformed our company. New wind energy development has been one of the few bright spots in our economy in recent years, creating hundreds of jobs and expanding the tax base, often in areas of the state that really need a shot in the arm.”
Wind energy growth in regions like the Northeast has been made possible by a 43 percent reduction in the average cost of wind energy in just four years, driven by technological advancements and U.S. manufacturing. Expanded wind energy is supported by over 70 percent of Mainers because of both its environmental and economic benefits.
“Strategic companies do not have to choose between investments in renewable energy or energy efficiency and profits,” said Greg Hasevlat, Research Analyst for Pax World Management. “Instead they are taking advantage of the opportunities available in today’s renewable energy market. In fact, a majority of Fortune 100 companies have a renewable energy goal, greenhouse gas goal, or both.
“Bipartisan support from Maine legislators has helped scale this industry. Supporting policies like the Production Tax Credit and the pending Carbon Pollution Standards will allow businesses to make future investments,” Hasevlat said.
The recent growth of wind energy development in Maine and New England as a whole has become a cost-saving opportunity as well as a boon to economic development. As Mainers and New England residents are faced with how to power their homes in the future, wind energy is proving to be a valuable commodity to jump-start the economy and create jobs all while making the region’s energy mix cleaner and more affordable.
In less than two months, the entire U.S. wind energy industry will come together at AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, May 5-8 in Las Vegas.
Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative (MOWII) Maine is home to companies that have years of experience providing specialized services and products to the global ocean and wind energy markets. These businesses have national and international operations and actively support efforts to attract and retain investment in Maine and the surrounding region.
Pax World Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds, offers a comprehensive platform of actively and passively managed Sustainable Investing strategies. One of the first investment managers to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) or sustainability factors into investment analysis and decision making, today Pax World manages more than $3.2 billion in assets (as of 12/31/13) for individuals, financial advisors, and institutional investors.
Headquartered in Woolwich, Maine, Reed & Reed, Inc. is an 86 year old Maine construction firm specializing in heavy civil infrastructure, including wind farms. As New England’s leading builder of wind projects, the company’s portfolio includes wind projects in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts totaling 338 turbines and over 730 megawatts of clean renewable electricity.