The Burlington Electric Commission voted Tuesday to continue negotiating a possible decades-long contract with Hydro-Quebec to meet about 14 percent of the city's power needs.Mainers full of gusto for wind power, survey finds | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
An hour of discussion among commissioners and members of the public preceded the vote, with most of the comments weighing the environmental and economic impacts of large-scale hydroelectric power generated by Vermont's northern neighbor.
Buying 9 megawatts of Hydro-Quebec's steady, round-the-clock power beginning in 2015 would help stabilize the city's electricity portfolio, particularly as it aspires to a greater commitment to renewable power, said Ken Nolan, director of resource planning at Burlington Electric Department.
Burlington's base power load fluctuates between 65 megawatts during the summer (due to air conditioning) and 54 megawatts in the winter.
Maine residents overwhelmingly support wind power development, chiefly because it cuts dependence on fossil fuels and creates jobs, according to the first survey released by the industry.
In a statewide telephone poll of 500 registered voters, 88 percent supported wind power in Maine. Calls to residents in seven rural "rim" counties, from Aroostook to Oxford, where most wind power projects are built or planned, showed 83 percent in support.