USA and Massachusetts
It took an energy insider this past week to expose the dirty little truth about the future of wind energy - it's too costly, too unreliable and only getting more so because of government subsidies.
Take that, you green zealots.
We cannot evaluate the efficacy of federal spending programs by asking the recipients of federal largesse whether they are happy with the money. Of course they are happy! The real issue is whether American taxpayers and electricity ratepayers should be happy.
We live in a world where agency approval is deemed the gold standard. ...If the agency is rushing to the business interests of its lobbying friends, and avoiding its mission of providing the safest product to the public, then what value, if any, does the approval of the agency mean to consumer safety?
Those customers aren't the only ones who are being fleeced. Even at high premiums the entire wind industry would be blown away by conventional power sources if not for huge taxpayer subsidies. According to a 2008 Energy Information Agency (EIA) report, the average 2007 subsidy per megawatt hour for wind and solar was about $24, compared with an average $1.65 for all others.
Twenty-four-cent wind power would more than double the electric bills of tens of millions of Americans. But Obama and the liberals don't care about what would amount to a gigantic new tax on families who are far from the millionaires the president claims he wants to hurt.
The price of Cape Wind power comes in at well over $1 billion above market averages, according to Cape Wind's own regulatory filings about its contract with National Grid, the utility company that has agreed to buy half its power. ...it is safe to deduce that National Grid customers would be getting fleeced.
If a corporation is going impose their project into a public space that is already providing valuable uses, I would hope that they would at least pay for the damage themselves. With the DOE decision to halt the loan guarantee, Cape Wind now has the chance to really puts its sales skills to work in finding more dupes to buy really expensive, but unreliable power.
All of this adds up to one more case study in the perils of politically allocated capital. Like President Obama, Mr. Patrick has advertised the illusion that governments can nurture new companies, even whole new industries, with targeted taxpayer "investments." This is the entire premise of the "clean energy" industry, most of which wouldn't exist without subsidies because it can't compete on a market basis.
Ian Bowles, the state's secretary of energy and environmental affairs, argues that plenty of alternative power sources have emerged to date and supply should not be a big problem in the future. That seems like wishful thinking.
Wind power, especially offshore windmills, and solar power are not cost-competitive today. I doubt offshore wind will compete on price in my lifetime, and I'm convinced solar power in the Northeast will remain too costly.
This is exactly the position of the Cape Wind project where the price per kilowatt hour is to be more than double the typical charge. We have opposed this project and the Massachusetts state mandates that lie behind it.
If any Atlantic Coast turbines carry similar cost penalties they should be opposed too.
When there is no wind no power is produced. When the wind blows at night, battery storage power is as primitive now as it was in 1990, with very little improvement. The Big Breakthrough in proton exchange membranes and fuel cells is still a research hypothesis ...Thus, based on economics the conclusion is that Cape Wind is a No Build project.
Every resident of Massachusetts should question the judgment of the Mineral Management Service ocean wind turbine decision before any more projects approved by MMS go forward! Did the MMS since 2009 put too much emphasis on wind and other renewable energy sources?
The ferocious opposition from Massachusetts liberals to the Cape Wind project has provided a useful education in green energy politics. And now that the Nantucket Sound wind farm has won federal approval, this decade-long saga may prove edifying in green energy economics too: Namely, the price of electricity from wind is more than twice what consumers now pay.
What is troubling about the opposition to the project is that many of the critics have been politicians and media figures who are all too eager to impose windmills on "the rest of us." Only when a wind project threatened to mar the views from their Massachusetts coastal property did they object. And for nine long years, they succeeded in blocking the project, saying that particular area deserved protection that other areas did not necessarily deserve.
In a dispute this complicated - a Gordian knot of confounding alliances - perhaps it is best to ask, "Who benefits?" Or, in other words, follow the money.
So, here we go: Secretary Salazar admitted at the press conference, when he announced the Obama administration's approval of Cape Wind, that "I don't know the cost of the project, but I know it will be subsidized." Um, okay, but no one can agree by whom. (Taxpayers?)
When Patrick was asked about the cost of the project, he went on the record saying, "I am not being cute with you: you need to ask the developer."
I never thought I'd agree with a member of the Kennedy clan, but Bobby Kennedy's son got it right  when he dismissed the much-hyped Cape Wind project that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved last week. "It's a boondoggle of the worst kind," Kennedy said. "It's going to cost the people of Massachusetts $4 billion over the next 20 years in extra costs."
If anything, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, underestimated the cost of Cape Wind .
We are in desperate times economically, but we must not allow ourselves to be pushed by fear into destructive measures just to satisfy what appear to be fashionable, so-called must-do projects.
Remember, wind can only be a supplementary solution, and, on an industrial scale, would not be feasible without huge taxpayer subsidies.
What hasn't received national attention is the stunning taxpayer subsidized profits the developer is expecting to reap from the project. A study by the Massachusetts based Beacon Hill Institute found that the proposed $1 billion dollars in subsidies from the project would contribute to a nearly 25% return on equity by investors - more than twice the average historical for return for all corporations. Add taxpayers to that list of groups opposed to the project.
Over the past few days, there have been two unrelated but promising developments, both in New England, in the debate over wind power. The first was a finding by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that a wind project slated for construction in Massachusetts coastal waters would inflict "pervasive" and "destructive" harm on the seabed and on neighboring historic properties. The second was a decision by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission prohibiting the purchase of power from eight wind turbines also to be situated in coastal waters.
ACHP states, "The historic properties affected by the Project are significant, extensive, and closely interrelated. The Project will adversely affect 34 historic properties including 16 historic districts and 12 individually 2 significant historic properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island, and six properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes, including Nantucket Sound itself.