Energy Policy and Massachusetts
The complaints eventually reached the state level, prompting DEP sound tests. Eventually, both wind turbines were shut down at nighttime. ..."There is no energy technology out there of any real consequence that doesn't have environmental and social impacts that need to be carefully studied and addressed. Just by using a renewable fuel, does not eliminate that responsibility, that challenge."
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.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's wind energy agenda has led Commonwealth communities into expensive capital expenditures. Now, agencies, under his watch, fortify his agenda and turn theirs back on the community. Falmouth is left windburned and forced to fix itself.
"Wind energy has so much potential, and the completion of this project will be a big step forward in reducing our reliance on volatile, foreign fossil fuels," boasted Gov. Patrick this past December upon the completion of the Hoosac turbines. If wind energy does indeed have such potential, it should not be reliant upon the government for its business. Until wind energy, or any new source of energy, can exist without government intervention, it is obviously not suitable for popular consumption.
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.
The headlines focused on NStar's commitment to purchase 27 percent of the expensive power to be generated by Cape Wind - something the utility had been loath to do. Less noticed was another concession NStar made: that it would not use any hydropower to meet state-mandated renewable energy targets for the next five years.
The MTC, which now operates as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, takes renewable energy taxes from our electric bills and develops sloppy, poorly defined turbine project proposals. And we are forced to pay again to protect our homes from their incompetence. ...We have lost our democratic rights and have become second-class citizens, facing the theft of our land through regulation.
Nothing has caused more divisive and bitter controversy on Cape Cod in the past decade than Cape Wind's proposal to place 130 commercial-scale, 440-foot-high wind turbines in 25 square miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound, just five miles off Cape Cod's coast.
Only absolute necessity, only an absence of viable alternatives, could ever justify the degradation of our mountains, and I am confident that if people take the time to study the situation, they will conclude that many less destructive and more productive and dependable alternatives are available.
Most of the conversation and legal paperwork on the deal that would create a $17.5 billion electric company has revolved around rates and consumer protection.
Regulators and utility executives don't care to talk in public about another key factor: Cape Wind - and one of the private offshore project's biggest fans, Governor Deval Patrick.
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.
Wind power can be environmentally damaging, wildly expensive to consumers, and harmful to quality of life. It even causes pollution by forcing fossil-fuel plants to cycle up and down more radically ...One can only wonder why so many in government are so invested in a strategy that increasingly is giving the term "renewable energy" a black eye.
Cape Wind - composed of unnecessary rate hikes, sweetheart deals and hidden costs - has been disguised by a clean, green energy cloak, camouflage enough to fool any environmentally conscious consumer into thinking that if it looks green, it must be good.
Cape Wind is not good for Massachusetts.
Last spring all the skids were greased for a publicly funded $91 million "specialized vessel for installing offshore wind farms," according to a report filed by Danish ship builder Kurt Thomsen, who also happens to be a consultant to Cape Wind.
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 Act explicitly authorizes this single state agency to approve wind projects regardless of local decisions and regardless of recommendations from other state agencies with expertise related to such projects. It also replaces environmental laws with weaker "standards" that can be waived solely at the discretion of that agency and eliminates rights of appeal by municipal officers, municipalities, and most by other parties.
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.
We're not anti-wind. We're not anti-industry. We believe that wind farms have a role to play on appropriate land parcels, but this bill would force municipalities to adhere to the state's approval criteria and it would effectively silence opposition from property owners affected by a wind turbine installation.
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.
Massachusetts' planning for ocean wind development is inadequate. The state has recognized the more competent effort made in Rhode Island. The state's consideration of Cape Wind deserves a second visit. This is the moment to press for a tougher look at the wind energy question, at sea and on land.