Times Record: Blown off (July 5, 2013)

The decision by Statoil to lift anchor and sail away from a pilot wind project off Boothbay Harbor is unfortunate. It seems the perfect has become the enemy of the good — and everyone loses.

Statoil is a well-known international operator that’s shown a long-term commitment to Hywind Maine, investing time and resources in the project. That the University of Maine could also drive innovation in wind power also seems positive. So why can’t the two work together?

The answer: Gov. LePage, a critic of renewable energy who has made undoing the state’s leadership in wind power a centerpiece of his energy policy. By reopening a term sheet that was already signed between the state and Statoil, he has helped scuttle a project under the false pretense of competition.

There’s plenty of expertise to go around, and plenty of desire to succeed — everywhere but in the Blaine House.

It’s our hope that Maine can maintain its leadership in the development of offshore wind with both Statoil and the University of Maine. Without that sense of cooperation — not competition — the Mid-coast will lose next-generation jobs and high-paying opportunity.

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