The opponents to wind power are concerned with the pace at which its development is occurring in the state of Maine. Skepticism and caution are necessary anytime new industries and possibly lucrative business opportunities develop. There are big bucks and big questions now associated with wind power.

Oversight is the responsibility of both the state and local regulatory processes. These do not need to be loosened so much that we, as small communities, relinquish adequate control to protect our health and safety.

The last thing we need in all of this debate, however, is a “not in my backyard” attitude, which serves a few individuals well but does a disservice to society as a whole. We depend on reliable sources of energy, and woe be to our power companies if our lights go out for extended periods of time. Recollections of winter ice storms remain fresh in the minds of Mainers.

Conservation is an essential part of a national energy plan, and we are not doing enough to explore and enforce the possibilities. Public buildings, despite the call for reduced electrical consumption, are still lit up like ocean liners and computers hum away through the night while workers are fast asleep.

Maine is heavily dependent on petroleum. The amount of oil is limited and this fuel is becoming scarcer as other countries such as India and China join North America in consuming increasing amounts of this limited resource. The reliance on oil has warped our foreign policy. The United States has close ties to authoritarian countries such as Saudi Arabia for only one reason — its possession of oil fields.

Another option is nuclear power but those who voice support for this source of energy have short memories. The Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant carried its own bag of hazards, financial and environmental. In addition, there is still no agreement on where to dispose of the wastes. We await scientific solutions to resolve the challenges of nuclear power.

Perhaps solar energy generation can serve as a supplemental source of power, and we also await developments with that technology. Interestingly, the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation is now exploring the thermal use of waste to heat the pipes next door at the Penobscot Bay YMCA, and Camden continues to explore the potential use of wind turbines to generate local power.

Maine is doing its job in exploring and encouraging alternative energy production sources. Wind, waves and tides offer exciting opportunities that must be pursued. Economic developments will always bring about unexpected changes, including noise and alterations to the landscape.

That is happening now on Penobscot Bay. Wind power is a growing major economic and energy force in the state. We must be wise to who potentially makes a buck from this development, and we must ensure that local communities collaborate with the state regulators and industry representatives. Fox Islands Wind is an excellent example of this. It is not all smooth sailing on Vinalhaven and this proves we have a long way to go to ensure that NIMBYism does not derail good energy projects.