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Ocean energy conference asks: Why not Maine? | Portland Press Herald

Ocean energy conference asks: Why not Maine?

Some place will be the home base

of a new energy industry, it could be Maine

Ken Fletcher, the director of Maine’s state energy office, got a chance last week to back away from some earlier statements about the future of offshore wind power.

Fletcher had been quoted expressing skepticism about the LePage administration’s interest in a power source that would be more expensive than the above-average prices Mainers pay already. But Fletcher was reacting to a price target from a demonstration project, not the full-scale offshore wind farm that would be built only if the demonstration were a success. That development is projected to produce competitively priced power by the end of the decade.

Such a negative message coming from the governor’s top energy adviser, on the eve of a national ocean energy conference in Portland, could have been disruptive to an industry that is on the verge of viability after a long period of slow incubation.

Fortunately, Fletcher attended the conference, took part in a panel discussion and moderated his earlier comments. He also made a good point that is worth repeating: It’s not just about the power that you buy.

“The real opportunity we see is though our R&D, manufacturing and assembly,” Fletcher said.

Click to read more of the editorial in the Portland Press Herald.