USA and Massachusetts
Few are aware of the staggering profit by way of contracts payable to avian specialists in an industry borne from wind towers that kill birds.
This service industry is referred to as "Adaptive Management," and/or "long-term environmental monitoring." Its value is $2 million to $3 million first year startup for a wind project, based on the value of Altamont, Calif., wind tower monitoring contracts.
These contracts represent $1 million per year paid to the monitor during construction phase, and impose terms as Mass Audubon has in their "Challenge" press release: "We also propose adoption of an Adaptive Management Plan that includes a rigorous monitoring program beginning at the construction phase and continuing for at least three years post-construction." ..........Mass Audubon is in a position to profit by counting bird carcasses, "monitoring," while attempting to "solve" this problem; the industry term for this is "mitigation," if Cape Wind is permitted and construction begins.
Robert Sullivan's review of "Cape Wind" (June 17), about the battle over the development of a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, made me wonder why a majority of Cape Cod and island residents would oppose a project that promised them clean, cheap, non polluting renewable energy at a time when everyone is focused on making America energy independent. You can start with the fact that this project won't deliver lowercost energy because offshore wind is by far the most expensive form of energy. You can then wonder what all the fuss is about when you understand that at its optimum operating efficiency (an average of 170 megawatts, according to Cape Wind's own Web site, and not the 468 megawatts its proponents claim) it would produce just 1 percent of New England's electricity supply. And because wind energy is inherently unpredictable (it depends on when the wind is blowing and cannot be stored), fossil fuel plants would always have to be online as reserve power to keep our lights on. Concluding his review, Sullivan mentions the growing opposition to a wind farm proposal off the coast of Long Island. This opposition is bolstered by the economic facts of the project - according to previously confidential documents obtained by Newsday, energy from the proposed wind plant would cost Long Island ratepayers as much as double the wholesale cost of energy.
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.
The focus is on renewables, the energy sources that we imagine will displace carbon-based sources in the future as, to make it so, we constrain and tax abundant oil, natural gas, and coal supplies into undeserved oblivion. Good luck to us, I suppose.
But, bearing in mind the allure of the renewables, one despairs of what is non-renewable about the near shore waters we have till now enjoyed and exploited so enthusiastically.
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.
Residential insurance rates are a valid consideration, and one that ought to be examined, especially by those homeowners who will be directly affected by the turbines, which will include living within the blade throw, ice throw, fire, lightning, environmental spill hazards, etc. of a commercial wind turbine.
Since this setback issue is new for the insurance companies, actuaries for the insurance companies will be figuring out the exposure.
Green energy has been on the subsidy take for years, including in 2005 when Mr. Delahunt was calling for "an Apollo project for alternative energy sources, for hybrid engines, for biodiesel, for wind and solar and everything else." The reality is that all such projects are only commercially viable because of political patronage.
Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government.
A Boston weekly newspaper once described the movie Z as a "comic book for liberals." The line implied that the film's hero was portrayed as nothing but heroic, and his foes as nothing but evil.
In Cape Wind, Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb have written a comic book for supporters of the Cape Wind Energy Project. Their hero, developer Jim Gordon, resembles a pleasant Peter Parker bitten not by a radioactive spider but by the wind power bug. Energized, if you will, he battles a clutch of super villains including Sen. Ted Kennedy as well as Rep. Bill Delahunt's chief of staff, Mark Forest (referred to in true comics style as the "fixer.")
And just as Spider-Man can't get a break from J. Jonah Jameson's Daily Bugle, so Gordon suffers at the hands of the Cape's daily paper.
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?
The media have obscured the significant dangers of this irresponsibly sited project with careless generalizations and speculation. Headlines like "Key hurdles cleared" and "Cape Wind ready to rev up" would have us think that the construction barges and pile drivers are on their way. Suggestions that Cape Wind's approval for a federal lease is just two weeks away are far from the truth. Cape Wind is nowhere near a done deal - and the fight is far from over.
Over the past year, we have read several op-eds and letters to the editor debating the true cost of Cape Wind. After eight years of controversy, the Cape Wind developer has failed to prove that his costly private venture won't raise our electric bills. The Alliance has asked Gov. Deval Patrick to order an independent cost analysis to get Massachusetts ratepayers some well-deserved answers to the looming Cape Wind cost question.
In the absence of a formal cost analysis, we can look to Europe, California, and perhaps most importantly, Texas, for lessons learned.
Something awful happened in a conference room at a hotel in Falmouth on Dec. 18. The U.S. Coast Guard revealed itself to be totally politicized in its review of radar and safety issues arising from the plan of a Boston energy entrepreneur (Jim Gordon) to build a wind farm covering 25 square miles of Nantucket Sound.
Attorney General Martha Coakley was quoted Nov. 17 in The Cape Cod Times: "We are running out of time to look at what we need to do for alternative energies." The article went on about Cape Wind and wind turbines as if commercial wind turbines are the only renewable energy resource in the world.
Who made the decision to bypass other sources of renewable energy such as photovoltaic, geothermal or heat exchangers?
We have wasted eight years in Massachusetts on the permitting process for 130 commercial wind turbines.
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.
This letter was submitted to the Cape Cod Times newspaper in response to the report claiming the Cape Wind project will save $4.6 billion in costs to New England over 25 years of operation.
A great disservice will be done to the people of Massachusetts and all others who enjoy the pristine scenery, water sports and solitude of Nantucket Sound by placing an industrial plant in its heart, as intended by Cape Wind and politically correct politicians who want wind energy there regardless of the cost and its effect on national treasures and National Natural Landmarks.
As Cape Wind gets closer and closer to receiving permit approval and securing a power contract, I think Massachusetts residents deserve an open and honest accounting about the true impact this project ...At a time when American taxpayers just bailed out Wall Street and now one in 10 people are without a job, we must make sure that our policy decisions to make this energy transition minimize the financial burden we place on those who can least afford it.
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."
CRITICS OF PROPOSED US offshore wind farms have recently lauded efforts to develop deep-water offshore wind energy technologies that would allow wind farms to be built far from shore. They suggest that advances in research and development are proceeding at such a rapid pace that thousands of wind turbines could soon be operating off the northeast coast without encroaching on anyone's view or posing any threat to the environment. Clarification about the current state and potential of deep-water offshore wind energy appears timely.