New York Wind falls short... again

By the end of 2013, wind energy represented 94% of the fuel used to meet New York State's RPS mandate. Twenty wind power plants are operating in the state with an installed capacity of 1,730 megawatts. We've been tracking NY's wind production figures since 2009 and its performance has not improved.  

Table I, derived from the 2014 NY-ISO Gold Book, shows the actual wind generation and capacity factors by project between the years 2009 and 2013. Only one project, Steel Winds II, ever achieved a capacity factor at, or over, 30% and that was for only one year.

TABLE I <Click on Table I to see the a larger view>

Eight of the operating projects listed received Section 1603 cash grants from the federal government in lieu of the production tax credit. It is well known that projects with poor performance figures (below 30% capacity factor) earn more in subsidies under the grant program. Table II shows the amount of money American taxpayers paid in cash grants to NY wind and the estimated amount the same projects would have received had they opted for the PTC over ten years. In appears that taxpayers overpaid for NY wind by $114 million (the difference between $510 million in grants and $386 million in tax credits). As an example, the Erie Wind project (15 MWs) would have had to operate with a 42.3% capacity factor over 10 years for the PTC to deliver close to the amount of money paid in grants. (This table assumes a PTC value of 23 cents/kwh.)

TABLE II <Click on Table II to see the a larger view>








APR 28 2014
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