It’s heartening to hear of a zero-emissions energy project anywhere, particularly one as close by as Grand Manan. Eastern Wind Power, Inc., of New Brunswick, is proposing to build a 20-megawatt wind farm at Dark Harbour. Energy from the project’s 11 turbines would be sold to NB Power, the provincial utility.

Granted, there’s never a free lunch: eleven turbines mean eleven 256-foot-tall towers, each with three 128-foot blades. Unless the Bay of Fundy’s fog settles in permanently, these towers are going to be visible a long way off. And if some critics of a similar project at Mars Hill, Maine, are correct, the project could endanger migrating birds. As we said, no free lunch: “free” energy depends on your point of view.

Nevertheless, a major energy project that doesn’t involve oil or coal or nuclear power or even LNG deserves a fair chance. Wind power is renewable; it doesn’t spread mercury or particulates or threaten us with oil spills; it doesn’t consume resources that don’t grow back; it doesn’t leave behind radioactive waste. It doesn’t depend on strip mining or a lifeline of tankers extending to some unstable region of the world. Best of all, a wind farm means greater diversity in the energy supply – a welcome move beyond nonrenewable oil, coal, nuclear and natural gas.

Still, the rarity of wind farms in this region is one more reminder that in the United States at least, we’re woefully short of a responsible national energy policy. Harnessing the wind, making the most of our existing hydroelectric capacity, building a more efficient transportation system and conserving energy where we can – all of these efforts would more than pay for themselves in the coming years.