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Let's Not Evacuate Maine

Eighty percent of Maine residents use heating oil to keep themselves warm in the freezing winter months there. But if prices for crude oil rise, so does the cost of heating. According to former oilman Matthew Simmons, fossil-fuel-based energy sources will become so expensive in the next decade that heating..

Eighty percent of Maine residents use heating oil to keep themselves warm in the freezing winter months there. But if prices for crude oil rise, so does the cost of heating. According to former oilman Matthew Simmons, fossil-fuel-based energy sources will become so expensive in the next decade that heating costs will completely overwhelm residents' budgets, and the state of Maine will become literally uninhabitable. Sounds dire.But the Gulf of Maine also happens to have the best wind resources on the planet. So Simmons has proposed a new $5 billion offshore wind power plant there. His deep water turbines would float 12-20 miles offshore, out of view, and the five gigawatts of energy they'd produce would be enough to completely replace the state's use of heating oil in winter.Referring to his own plan, Simmons said, "If we don't do this, we're going to have to evacuate most of Maine."In addition to keeping Maine livable, the scale of the project would provide the state with a slew of new jobs, and the platforms themselves could help the marine ecosystem, providing sanctuaries for fish and plants the way oil platforms do. It looks like a great investment.The International Herald Tribune has a great three-page article on Simmons' plan. You can read the plan itself on Simmons's oceanenergy.org. And for some thorough (and encouraging) analysis of the floating turbine technology available, see this great piece on The Oil Drum.