To The Daily Sun,
America's first offshore wind power plant, five turbines, will cost about $300 million to build. Located three miles from Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, the wind farm is supposed to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes. The projected cost is about $17,600 per household to build.
That means if the homes served paid for the construction cost through their electric bills over a 30-year period their rates would increase, best case scenario, by $48.89/month without factoring in debt service, operating cost, maintenance costs or useful life of the equipment. We know those costs will not be zero. Would you be comfortable with that kind of rate hike?
The comparatively high cost of offshore wind doesn't worry environmentalists, and socialists love the idea. Salon.com says about the project, "it's the precedent that counts." What is more alarming is that despite the cost, federal officials want to power 23 million homes with offshore wind by the year 2050. That means construction cost alone in today's dollars would be about $405 billion. All I want to know is: Where is the money for that going to come from?
Offshore wind power is expensive because installing and maintaining any kind of infrastructure at sea and underwater is extremely difficult. Ocean salt water is corrosive and makes operating such facilities difficult and expensive. Electricity is so comparatively inexpensive in most parts of the country that offshore wind isn't generally competitive.
Offshore wind is so pricey that early investors in it, like Germany, plan to stop building new turbines to lower their cost of electricity. There's a message in there somewhere. We know the average American's electric bill has gone up 10 percent since this administration took office due to regulations imposed by government bureaucrats in support of green energy. It has risen far more than that right here in New Hampshire.
Most economic analysts agree rising residential electricity prices are also harmful to the standard of living of American households. High-priced power disproportionately hurts poorer families, the elderly and other lower and fixed income groups. The poor tend to spend a higher portion of their incomes on "basic needs" like power, so all increases in these prices hits them the hardest.
As essential goods like electricity become more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers. Businesses in areas served by these high-cost projects are disadvantaged compared to their competitors. High electric rates are a contributing factor in business relocation ... and that reduces the number of jobs available in affected areas.
Clean energy is good. Smaller carbon footprint is desirable. The question becomes how to cost effectively move toward what is good and desirable. Life isn't always getting what we want when we want it. Sometimes we have to temper our enthusiasm for the good and desirable with our ability to pay.
- Category: Letters
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