After taking a walk in Winslow behind the old Scott paper mill, which is proximate to the Brookfield Renewable operated dams, I quickly realized that if solar panels were placed on or above the roofing of these old buildings, this would likely be an efficient, clean and cheap energy source. It is likely that solar panels covering this acreage would generate more energy output than what is currently generated by all four central Maine Kennebec River dams.

Saving these old dams because they were the optimal way to generate electricity 100 years ago for industry and communities along the Kennebec River does not make sense today when there are cheap, clean and efficient alternative energy sources. Nor do saving these old dams make sense when it comes at the expense of making extinct aquatic life including salmon that have spawned in the Kennebec River and its tributaries for thousands and thousands of years.

Brookfield Renewable previously suggested willingness to invest $32 million for fish passage improvements. However, the Maine Department of Marine Resources in their scientific research and information gathering has been clear that there does not exist any kind of fish ladder that would allow salmon passage in the kinds of numbers that would prevent their extinction.

What if instead of litigation Brookfield Renewable would collaborate with the State and local Kennebec River communities and industry. These stakeholders could develop an energy generating plan that truly protects Kennebec River aquatic life and is also cheap, clean and efficient to build and maintain. I would think the $32 million Brookfield Renewable already put on the table with possible additional financial incentives from the state and federal government this could happen.

There are solutions to keep Maine the way life is supposed to be if we want to find them!

 

Diane Weinstein

Waterville

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