A recent letter in support of the Garden Wind project perpetuates a number of common misconceptions about the economic and environmental benefits of wind development in Michigan. The most egregious is the suggestion that wind is the most economical source of power.
A few facts:
The Michigan Public Service Commission reports that the Garden I Wind’s energy is being sold under a 20 year fixed price Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for $106.20 per megawatt hour. It holds the distinction of being one of the most expensive Wind PPA’s ever approved in the State of Michigan, nearly 2.5 time the price of current wind contracts. It is also more than triple the wholesale value of electricity in MI
And the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Wind Technologies report reveals that when Heritage sold that Wind PPA for $106.20/MWh in 2010, it was the most expensive Great Lakes region wind contract recorded that year. Most Great Lakes region wind contracts were selling for only $60-80/MWh.
In fact, that same NREL report shows that the Garden Wind I Contract is one of the most expensive wind PPAs ever recorded in the United States.
And not only does Heritage receive nearly 3.5 times the wholesale value of electricity for 20 years, it also collects an additional $30/MWh in direct subsidies from the US Treasury. Every turn of the rotor in Garden strips revenue from school funding, military spending, education and agriculture support and hands it to Heritage-even as our national debt approaches $20 trillion.
Wind turbines do reduce CO2. But MISO, Michigan’s electrical grid operator, published a study showing that reducing CO2 with wind energy is 6 times more costly than by other means.
Fact: at a time when UP industry struggles to remain competitive in the world market, grossly uneconomical wind energy could force those employers over the cliff.
Garden residents should be proud of their patriotic opposition to Heritage’s outsized profits. Those profits come at local employers’ expense.