US Energy Secretary Heads to Maine
United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu will meet with Maine Governor John Baldacci and others Friday to discuss the state’s potential to generate sustainable wind energy. University of Maine Professor Habib Dagher is also expected to speak with Chu. In 2008 Dagher testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and explained the state's largely untapped potential for generating wind power. Dagher was invited to testify by Senator Susan Collins. At the time he said 80 percent of Maine residents relied on oil to heat homes and businesses an economic reality that suggests Maine will become the first state in the nation to experience a heating emergency. “Ten years ago, less than 5 percent of the Maine family budget went to energy. Today, close to 25 percent — a quarter of the Maine family budget — goes to paying for energy. That's transportation, that's heating, that's electrical power. In 10 years, if we don't make any changes, about half of the Maine family budget would go to energy. Clearly, this is not sustainable," he testified. Dagher detailed University of Maine plans for offshore, deep-water floating wind turbine platforms and the state's ability to harness offshore winds to avoid the "eye of the heating hurricane."