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'No free lunch' with alternative energy

We applied a couple of years ago, using a consultant, for a grant to help with the installation of solar panels on one of our buildings. ...After all of this preparation we were notified that the grant would not be given due to lack of funds. However, it was suggested that since there were few requests for wind turbines, we likely would get a grant.

We, at Rochester Electronics, have not received a grant for $40,000 as stated in a recent article. I think it may be useful to more fully explain what we were trying to do.

We applied a couple of years ago, using a consultant, for a grant to help with the installation of solar panels on one of our buildings. This is a lengthy and costly process that allows for a decision to be made about the feasibility of the project. When the building was built, we strengthened the roof to support between 50,000 to 100,000 square feet of solar panels. The projections were done and the estimates were made and it appeared that based on rising energy costs, this would be not a money-maker, but some savings would be seen. Future maintenance and/or replacement were not included and there was no guarantee of usable sunlight.

After all of this preparation we were notified that the grant would not be given due to lack of funds. However, it was suggested that since there were few requests for wind turbines, we likely would get a grant. The $40,000 mentioned was the maximum being offered. We never received it, and we never asked for it since the projections appeared to be less than acceptable. One stumbling... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

We, at Rochester Electronics, have not received a grant for $40,000 as stated in a recent article. I think it may be useful to more fully explain what we were trying to do.

We applied a couple of years ago, using a consultant, for a grant to help with the installation of solar panels on one of our buildings. This is a lengthy and costly process that allows for a decision to be made about the feasibility of the project. When the building was built, we strengthened the roof to support between 50,000 to 100,000 square feet of solar panels. The projections were done and the estimates were made and it appeared that based on rising energy costs, this would be not a money-maker, but some savings would be seen. Future maintenance and/or replacement were not included and there was no guarantee of usable sunlight.

After all of this preparation we were notified that the grant would not be given due to lack of funds. However, it was suggested that since there were few requests for wind turbines, we likely would get a grant. The $40,000 mentioned was the maximum being offered. We never received it, and we never asked for it since the projections appeared to be less than acceptable. One stumbling block was the lack of data on wind and the need to erect a test tower for thousands of dollars that could not be otherwise used and would have to be demolished.

It seems that our reservations were well-founded based on the installations in Newbury and South Hampton. Both report only 30 to 40 percent of projected power yield. The old "no free lunch" comes to mind. Current activities to subsidize alternative power with taxpayer money are based on increasing the cost of power with taxes on the producers and grants to alternatives. This kind of "free money" makes us more dependent on the government with the always associated regulations. If there was ever a time for old-fashioned Yankee common sense to make itself known, it is now. Congress will be voting on the budget and while they tell us, both parties, that we are in disaster range, they fund thousands of projects that have no value or help for people that need help. Maybe our reps need to asked where is our funding for the dump smell. Iowa's earmark in the budget is for $1.4 million for pig smell abatement. Maybe we need a stimulus for some common sense?

Mr. Gerrish is President & CEO of Rochester Electronics in Newburyport, MA.

Editor's note: Mark Richey Woodworking and Design, Inc. of Newburyport MA received a grant for $474,340 from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in December 2007 to erect a 292-foot industrial wind turbine. Mr. Richey did not conduct any wind studies to evaluate the wind resource prior to receiving the grant approval. (Click here for details)


Source: http://www.newburyportnews....

MAR 17 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19531-no-free-lunch-with-alternative-energy
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