February 20, 2011

Deepwater Wind: That Whirring Sound is Dollars Flying out of Our Wallets

Monique Chartier

Kudos to WPRI's Tim White and Ted Nesi for obtaining and releasing (against the will of National Grid) the cost to Rhode Island state and local government of the artificially jacked electric rates necessitated by the first phase (the experimental stage) of the Deepwater wind farm.

Keep in mind that this is the ADDITIONAL cost ONLY for state and local governments. It does NOT include the increases that will show up in the bills of individual rate payers - hundreds of thousands of residential households - or businesses. The latter will certainly not - this is laughably unlikely so why even bring it up? - simply pass that increase on to their customers, will they ...?

Deepwater Wind's initial project will raise state and local governments' electric bills by a combined $1.5 million in its first year, according to documents reviewed by the Target 12 Investigators.

Municipal electric bills will increase by a total of $1 million while state government's bill will rise by $476,630, according to an estimate commissioned by National Grid from Energy Security Analysis Inc. The cost would rise by 3.5 percent every year for the next two decades.

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I was hoping we could get Justins opinion on the windfarm that the east bay towns want to put in on Tiverton town land. It seems like many local people here think it will help to lower taxes but at what other costs.

Posted by: Triplerichard at February 20, 2011 9:21 AM

Yes, let's support grossly inefficient and expensive mechanical windmill technology from the 1400's over clean and ultra-efficient nuclear power. Blame the politicians for the corruption behind these insider deals from day one, but blame the brainwashed RI population for allowing progressive faux-environmentalist feel-goodism to trump science and economic reality. Any true environmentalist knows that the answer to independence and lowering carbon emissions is nuclear power. Building a bunch of windmills everywhere is just, you know, quixotic.

Posted by: Dan at February 20, 2011 9:42 AM

Right now Rhode Islanders pay $0.14/KWh for their power. A modern nuclear plant like the AP1000, which is 'meltdown-proof' could power the whole state at $0.02/KWh and have extra power to sell to the grid. We could build an AP1000 and take Vermont Yankee out of commission, so it would be a net-positive move for anti-nuke activists. The plant would bring thousands of construction jobs immediately, and hundreds of long term high-tech jobs when complete. It would position us very well to cut carbon not only from electricity generation, but from home heating and eventually automobiles. To Progressives, I say: We could cut our electricity bills in half and -still- have enough extra to outright give the poor free heating and electricity, imagine if every household made a $50 donation monthly to the 'good neighbor energy fund', this would be the equivalent. To assuage the lefties worried about 'corporate nukes putting our safety second to profits' (a legitimate concern, in the case of nukes), the taxpayers could be 51% owners of the plant, with a majority on the board of directors, that's what they do in Austin.

Posted by: mangeek at February 20, 2011 1:35 PM

According to newspaper and National Grid estimates average RI residence will see an increase of about $3 to $4 a month on their electric bills. However it’s the large user of electricity like commercial business and colleges and universities that will suffer.

Toray in Quonset Point, North Kingston is a film extruder owned by Toray Industries Inc. of Tokyo has indicated the Deepwater Wind project would cost it $304,732 in above-market payments in the first year of operation, and $7.3 million over the life of the contract with National Grid. Toray employs 600 in Rhode Island with a $79 million annual payroll.

Polytop in Slatersville is a closures injection molder has indicated its costs would be $46,000 in the first year and $1.1 million over 20 years. Polytop employs 200 with a $10 million annual payroll.

Both these companies could leave the state due to increased operating cost especially the fixed 20 year annual 3.5% increase in rate costs.

Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, University of Rhode Island plus all the smaller educational institutions will see significant increases in their electricity bills.

Cost of living, state and municipal taxes in RI will certainly rise as these extra charges are passed on to the residents and visiting or tourist consumers.

Posted by: Ken at February 20, 2011 6:56 PM

"Yes, let's support grossly inefficient and expensive mechanical windmill technology from the 1400's"

(sigh) And for no good reason.

Posted by: Monique at February 20, 2011 10:12 PM

I am amazed at the negative chin music we continue to hear about alternatives. Lets review a few facts about BIG power;
Nuclear - no plan to store or dispose of spent toxic and RADIOACTIVE fuel has been devised. New plants are subsidized by Fed Taxes. Our taxes that continue to increase. How about that for a report for WPRI? DOE just signed a note committing 8 Billion $$ - yes with a "B" to "Assist" companies like Westinghouse sell Nuc plants. Westinghouse is owned by a Mitsubishi so all that money - and jobs since most of the components will be built in China goes overseas. And taxes - never mind the deficit - RISE.
Oil - anyone who is not watching the Middle East cook off should pay more attention. Oil prices are rising - and how do you all think that will impact LOCAL municipal budgets?
Nat Gas - we the people are told the "New" discoveries of Nat Gas on US soil are ten times the energy capacity of ALL mid east oil reserves. Great. What nobody tells us is the process of "fracking" used to release these reserves pumps billions of gallons of fresh water mixed with TOXIC chemicals like benezene, tolulene, diesel fuel and all kinds of other nasty stuff into the GROUNDWATER supplies. Dick Cheney was instrumental in getting this process removed from the Clean Water Act so Halliburton - his company - could clean up on this "New" energy sources. Watch "Gasland" to get a real scary picture of "Cheap" power from Nat Gas. Drinking water is the next crisis and dont kid yourself it wont be.
Coal - dirty, toxic coal plants will be required to install scrubbers and filtration to clean up their act- this is EPA law already in place that kicks in by 2015. Now tell me that Big Power will eat those Billions in costs? No Way - their lawyers will waltz over to the PUC and demand - not request - HUGE RATE INCREASES - to cover their cap ex costs. Imagine that WPRI story line on the 6 O'clock snooze. Dont kid yourself that BIG POWER will be good citizens and not pull this one. Or they may simply choose to convert to Nat Gas or shut plants down. But the expense will still have to be passed on to avoid hitting the almighty bottom line. NY Times recent report showed that Big Power could possibly close 20 or more power plants in the NE US that are too old to refit. Thats 50 to 100 MW of power no longer available. With no plan for replacement. And theres the ash pits from coal plants you never hear about until one collapses and sends mountains of toxics into rivers and onto towns - tell me you never read about that whole nightmare? Did you think those big plants just made juice? And there are thousands of pits out in the world - with no plan and no funds set aside to clean them up - so once again who do you think gets the bill eventually? Please tell me how anyone cannot see RATES rising if supply of KWH power drops while demand rises?
These are facts. Not just cocktail party chatter. The "Secret" report from the PUC was common knowledge. I attended all the meetings, read all the documents and saw how the power costs would have to increase for this new technology to get traction. And create some jobs. Big Power and all their dirty money fund all the negative nonsense you hear about alterntives like wind. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound fighting Cape wind is funded 100% by Oxbow Energy. Oxbow is a COAL COMPANY that sells very dirty product to pollute our air and water while making juice.
We as a society need to wake up to the harsh reality that something has to be done or ?????
No cheap, easy smarmy options exist that will make everyone happy. Why is this side of the coin not being highlighted by WPRI? Take a guess.

Posted by: Tom Delotto at February 21, 2011 9:37 AM

Green is the new Red and you better believe it.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 21, 2011 2:26 PM
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