August 24, 2011

How a State Buries Itself with Wind and Overreaching Government

Justin Katz

Rhode Island had to have a speculative wind project. The General Assembly and former Governor
Don Carcieri effectively castrated the regulatory body that oversees energy policy and forced through the Deepwater Wind agreement that will raise energy costs for all Rhode Islanders in order to guarantee the company profits. Of course, those who use more energy, such as substantial manufacturers (and employers) like Toray Plastics are affected more.

Not to worry, though. Taxpayers can be tapped, yet again, to subsidize green energy:

The Economic Development Corporation board on Monday unanimously approved giving Toray Plastics (America) Inc. $1 million in energy-assistance grants that will pay about half of the company's costs to install 1,650 solar panels at its Quonset Point facility.

The investment of state and federal money is not expected to bring any additional jobs to Rhode Island, company President and CEO Richard R. Schloesser said before the meeting, adding that the solar project is "strictly for the environment — renewable energy."

That won't be all, though. You'll recall that, in its zeal to leap into the wind energy business, the government of Rhode Island explicitly called for energy distributor National Grid to ensure a profit for itself and for green-energy suppliers like Deepwater Wind by charging a premium "to all distribution customers through a uniform fully reconciling annual factor in distribution rates."

With Toray implementing a government-subsidized system to supply some of its own energy, it will be paying a smaller share of that "uniform fully reconciling annual factor," which means that everybody else will be paying more.

This is how a government can bury itself and the people it represents while attempting to react to the negative consequences of poorly considered policies, and Rhode Island's manner of governance is practically defined by this short-sighted dictate-and-dig methodology.

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Ahh. The wind/solar scam digs in their heels with promises of Gov't subsidies to help pay the guaranteed profits for private companies to stiffle any economic growth. Although this model has failed everywhere in the world, somehow it will work in RI.

And although domestic drilling and energy production has been halted to help raise gas to $4/gallon, by doing nothing we have increased inflation and destroyed more jobs. Another obama failure.

Where are the green jobs?

Posted by: dave at August 24, 2011 7:31 AM

All business should be motivated by making a profit, but no private business should ever have guaranteed profit built in on the backs of taxpayers.

If this wind turbine thing is a good idea, then it should make money on its own. If NG needs startup money to get the project going and then able to pay that back later in the name of helping the environment, that's one thing, but that's not happening here either.

And why is this "green energy" thing so expensive? All these left wing environmentalists tell us how much better it is, how it's going to save the earth, but none of them want to build it for cheaper and make it more cost-efficient than the current energy methods. is that because these green energy companies and their manufacturers along the way are trying to, sorry I'm going to say a bad word here, *turn a profit*?

Posted by: Patrick at August 24, 2011 8:28 AM

Well we're going to pay for this project that people seem to want, then while members of the government jump ship to work for these companies they've just guaranteed, we have to help businesses pay for the higher costs the project creates.

I feel like this is the new outlet for Rhode Island's mafia culture. It's backscratching, favoritism, and graft as far as the eye can see, but it's being done by the state, so it's legal.

Posted by: mangeek at August 24, 2011 1:44 PM

Justin what do you think of the proposal for wind turbines on town owned property in Tiverton. The survey they sent out asked if residents would trade greener energy for increased costs. They also are not clear about any tax increase or incentives being for the windfarm. What does the TCC have to say about all this?

Posted by: nana quacket at August 24, 2011 3:54 PM

"Don Carcieri effectively castrated the regulatory body that oversees energy policy and forced through the Deepwater Wind agreement that will raise energy costs for all Rhode Islanders in order to guarantee the company profits."
Whooaa cowboy... I thought you were all about cutting regulation and that action would quarantee profits... Is this not your mantra? Tell me you have not stated this formula? I know you will deny this. Your plan ( unicorns) puts small business in the drivers seat. Not some Deepwater Wind entity. But competition being -well- competition-- who do you think would prevail?

Posted by: DavidS at August 24, 2011 9:11 PM

David, you say the most ridiculous things. Nobody takes you seriously because you engage in the most outrageous dishonesty. Justin isn't complaining about deregulation and free-market competition. He is complaining (along with nearly every Rhode Islander) about a special deal rammed through the GA to give a subsidy to a single political insider at the expense of every citizen and business in the state. That is, he is complaining about the corrupt use of government power. You insult our intelligence.

You, as an advocate of nearly unlimited government power, generally favor such deals, except when they are not made to benefit your political allies.

Posted by: BobN at August 24, 2011 10:39 PM

Green as in fungus. Green is such a nice word. Green Party, Green jobs ,Go Green, Green energy.....yadayadayada.What it really means is the emperor has no clothes. It is wizard of oz kneejerk technology that reeks of political correctness and anti-capitalism. Just what our economy needs right now...more expensive energy. Green Emperor Hussein Obama fiddles while the private sector and the taxpayer burn.

Posted by: ANTHONY at August 25, 2011 12:27 AM

"Green is such a nice word.

... It is wizard of oz kneejerk technology"

And where did the Wizard of Oz live? Why, in the Emerald City, of course ...

Posted by: Monique at August 25, 2011 7:39 PM

Nice Tantrum BobN. Politically speaking, you must be a toy throwing three year old or an obstinate middle schooler who has read just enough and not nearly enough to be cocksure of yourself and your deranged political positions. More likely, you never grew up and remain in your own field of poppies..
Deregulation always works for the most favored. They spend the most. They talk the talk of small business that appeals to you guys, but it is always about bottom line for them.

Posted by: David S at August 25, 2011 8:29 PM

So David, you're OK with legislation that circumvents the regulatory process to benefit one company at almost triple the expense to rate payers? In the real world, support for deregulation is intended to benefit a sector or industry. This wasn't a sector nor an industry but one company. In typical liberal fashion, when BobN turned your ludicrous comments on their hind side, you attacked the messenger.

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 25, 2011 9:42 PM

David's argument makes no sense. Evidence of an addled progressive mind, incapable of making the kind of fine distinctions necessary for debate. Rent-seeking by connected parties, whether corporations, unions, or political insiders, has always been a major driving force toward limited government on this blog. More power to government means more power worth buying and trading for. His substanceless tirade against BobN is just more evidence that he has no logical argument. True deregulation doesn't mean for one entity, it means across the board, otherwise it's just more anti-competitive government interference. If he thinks "deregulation" is corruptible, he should witness the regulatory process in action. Most regulations are essentially ghost-written by would-be monopolists at the top of their industry for their own benefit. Just open up the CFR and read all the bizarre "exemptions" at the beginning of any rulemaking this year.

Posted by: Dan at August 26, 2011 8:09 AM

That's ok, David. I understand that when you have no response you resort to the cheap, crude insult. It's what we have come to expect from you.

What's next, are you going to quote Lou Rainone to me?

Posted by: BobN at August 26, 2011 9:01 AM

"Green...And where did the Wizard of Oz live? Why, in the Emerald City, of course"

HA-HA-HA HARDEE HAR HAR Monique as in unique

Posted by: ANTHONY at August 26, 2011 11:14 AM

I'd love to install solar panels on my house. Not to reduce my carbon footprint, but rather to reduce my dependence on foreign oil footprint.

With the already available tax credit incentives from the U.S. Government, there is a payback, but not immediate. My estimates, based on my property, oil price and other assumptions start the return out 3 or 4 years. The hard part is the initial investment.

But I guess my heart is not in the right place. If I were a local contributor to the RI powerbrokers and I presented my plan under the guise of "going green" I'd be a lot better off in the scheme of things all things RI.

But I'd rather sleep well at night.

Posted by: Douglas Farnum at August 26, 2011 1:39 PM


Before Dr. Evil was sent back in time to 1969, his minions made him a clone. The clone was identical in every way but was "one-eighth his size". Upon being introduced to his clone, Dr. Evil immediately declared, "Breathtaking. I shall call him... Mini-Me".

Do you suppose Dan is....BobN's Mini-Me?

Posted by: Phil at August 26, 2011 7:35 PM

What kind of magic PV solar gives return in three or four years at this latitude? When I did the math it was a loser all the way until the panels would need replacing in 20 years. That's including he incentives.

Solar thermal has lower outlays and much faster paybacks. Adding insulation is even better.

By the way, you're not lowering any foreign energy footprint with solar or any other electricity generation. Electricity here comes from American coal, nuclear, and hydro. If you inted to reduce the trade deficit, buying a smaller car is the big winner.

Posted by: mangeek at August 26, 2011 11:49 PM
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