If industrial wind energy developers needed another reason to look elsewhere, Montville residents were happy to oblige this week as the town joined the list of Waldo County communities with tough wind ordinances.

And while Unity’s rejection of a wind moratorium appears to go against the prevailing winds, residents there recognized that the only wind turbines in the works were not the industrial turbines, but the ones that power farms and households — too small to bother anyone; but in the case of Unity, too large for the 35-foot height limit the moratorium would have imposed.

Unity residents wanted to support the construction of windmills like the one on the MOFGA property in Thorndike, the one down the road at the Kinney farm on Knox Ridge, the windmill at an Amish farm on Stagecoach Road in Unity or any number of others that can’t be seen from a major road. From the conversation at Unity’s town meeting, it appeared the same could not be said of industrial-scale turbines.

Wind energy advocates might see Waldo County’s nearly wholesale rejection of industrial wind development as “not in my backyard” short-sightedness. Andrew Price of Competitive Energy Services — the developer of the county’s only industrial wind farm, a three-turbine array in Freedom — complained after his company had backed out of Jackson and Dixmont that the mile-setback requirements there amounted to a ban on wind developments. Price said he doubted a location existed in southern Maine (which we understood to include Waldo County) that could meet those requirements.

To this we say, maybe, but who cares?

Maine is among less than half of all states to have a renewable portfolio requirement for our electrical utility. Ours requires that 30 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources. The governor has made wind energy a top priority and maybe industrial wind has a place in Maine, but with so much of Maine virtually unpopulated, why plunk them in the middle of the comparatively dense populations of the Midcoast? As far as we can tell, one answer is that the developers would rather not have to build miles of costly transmission lines, which amounts to a sort of “how about in your backyard?” short-sightedness.

If wind energy is the answer, or part of the answer, to the global environmental predicament, it has to be something we can live with. Our neighbors who have erected turbines for personal use know this already. To paraphrase a member of the Montville wind ordinance committee, it’s the difference between powering your farm and powering New Jersey.

Now that the wind developers have gone, let’s unhitch our dreams of solving the world’s energy woes from the image of bone white propellers turning on the horizon. Entrepreneurs in our community are already reaping the real rewards of wind energy — energy that bothers no one, and contributes not to the market in carbon offsets or the soundtrack of hope, but to actual reduced emissions, here, today.

Still need an image? Picture hundreds of small windmills rising from the hillsides the way woodsmoke would have risen out of every chimney on a cold night in Waldo County in the days before our thirst for energy got the better of us.