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Offshore wind farm too costly; solar power a wiser investment

Wake up, New Jersey, before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Gov. Corzine's offshore wind farm. ...In these hard financial times, our state and federal governments need to invest taxpayer dollars more wisely than they have. Alternative energy sources are needed, but they must make financial sense. Windmills on land are borderline cost-effective, and that's only because of energy subsidies. Windmills in the north Atlantic never will come close to recovering their cost. If something doesn't make financial sense, we should be looking at who will benefit from its construction. New Jersey citizens will not benefit from this ocean wind farm. Electric costs will rise because of it. Someone needs to follow the money to see who will benefit.

Wake up, New Jersey, before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Gov. Corzine's offshore wind farm. The governor is proposing to create a 80-unit wind farm capable of producing 350 megawatts of electricity in the waters off the South Jersey coast at an estimated present cost of $1.5 billion.

Last week, New York canceled plans for a smaller farm of about 40 windmills, off Jones Beach, because of rising cost estimates already exceeding $700 million for a project originally projected to cost about $200 million. New York officials were smart enough to recognize a financial black hole before they started it. Are New Jersey officials ready to do the same?

Our energy policy, first and foremost, should be about economics, while factoring into account the environmental effects, both positive and negative, of the various types of energy production.

Oil is supposed to be the cheapest energy source available, but the real cost of oil consumption should be measured in the lives that are lost on foreign battlefields to protect our so-called national interests. Add onto that the $500 billion our military has spent in Iraq alone to provide "Big Oil" with their record profits, and oil is not so... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Wake up, New Jersey, before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Gov. Corzine's offshore wind farm. The governor is proposing to create a 80-unit wind farm capable of producing 350 megawatts of electricity in the waters off the South Jersey coast at an estimated present cost of $1.5 billion.

Last week, New York canceled plans for a smaller farm of about 40 windmills, off Jones Beach, because of rising cost estimates already exceeding $700 million for a project originally projected to cost about $200 million. New York officials were smart enough to recognize a financial black hole before they started it. Are New Jersey officials ready to do the same?

Our energy policy, first and foremost, should be about economics, while factoring into account the environmental effects, both positive and negative, of the various types of energy production.

Oil is supposed to be the cheapest energy source available, but the real cost of oil consumption should be measured in the lives that are lost on foreign battlefields to protect our so-called national interests. Add onto that the $500 billion our military has spent in Iraq alone to provide "Big Oil" with their record profits, and oil is not so cheap anymore.

Biofuels are cost prohibitive without huge government subsidies, and are now causing large food price increases. Nuclear power, while clean, has that waste disposal problem that has not yet been solved, besides those antique units that still depend on estuarine waters for cooling and single-handedly kill more marine life than the commercial and recreational fishing industries combined.

Wind power production, while clean, has unknown environmental effects on the marine ecosystem. And the cost of a wind farm offshore is enormously more costly than a land-based farm. Maintenance is also much higher on the ocean due to the harsh environment and the corrosive effects of salt water.

A large European wind farm required helicopters to transport repairmen to the turbines when needed. Will we also need helicopters for simple repairs? What will be the real cost of building and maintaining this farm? Who will pay for it? The energy company customers.

I realize the governor is a financial genius, but let's do some math. Eighty offshore windmills will produce 350 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25,000 homes. This will cost at least $1.5 billion and probably twice that when all is said and done. By comparison, for $1.5 billion, solar panels could be placed on 37,500 homes, figuring an average cost of $40,000 per home, which should decrease as more production comes on line.

Most importantly, the solar panels will produce the most energy when we need it, during the peak summer months, while the windmills will sit idle producing most of their power in the fall, winter and spring. And those 37,500 homeowners will, after the initial cost of installation is paid, have electric bills amounting to little or nothing. Sometimes the electric company will have to pay them when the panels produce more electric than the household uses.

So what's wrong with this picture? The government and energy monopolies do not want individual citizens producing their own power. If all houses had solar panels, who would need electric utilities? If there were no electric utilities, who would replace all those large campaign contributions?

In these hard financial times, our state and federal governments need to invest taxpayer dollars more wisely than they have. Alternative energy sources are needed, but they must make financial sense. Windmills on land are borderline cost-effective, and that's only because of energy subsidies. Windmills in the north Atlantic never will come close to recovering their cost.

If something doesn't make financial sense, we should be looking at who will benefit from its construction. New Jersey citizens will not benefit from this ocean wind farm. Electric costs will rise because of it. Someone needs to follow the money to see who will benefit.

Our state and federal governments should start a Manhattan project to fully realize the potential of solar power, and free our citizens from the utilities' monopoly.

James Lovgren, Brick, is a commercial fisherman. He is a member of the board of directors of the Garden State Seafood Association and the board of trustees of Clean Ocean Action.


Source: http://www.app.com/apps/pbc...

SEP 5 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/10929-offshore-wind-farm-too-costly-solar-power-a-wiser-investment
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