To The Daily Sun,
It now appears that we will all be facing higher electric bills for the foreseeable future. I take no joy in saying "I told you so," since it will make it that much harder to attract and maintain manufacturing and high-tech jobs in state, both of which need copious amounts of electricity at a decent price. Our reliance on natural gas power plants has left us up the proverbial creek. We have the power plants, but don't have the pipeline capacity to fuel them and that won't change in the near future.
Already the NIMBYs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are gearing up to oppose the pipeline and tie it up in endless regulator red tape and lawsuits that could drag on for years. Meanwhile we will be paying the bill and may even see brownouts or rolling blackouts. Even if Northern Pass and every other form of alternative energy came on line tomorrow, it wouldn't be enough to offset the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant which is scheduled to close in just a few weeks.
We are part of the New England Power Pool, so we can get some extra electricity from the pool. But it will cost us dearly. Politicians of both parties know this but can't resist pandering to environmental groups who oppose any form of hydrocarbon infrastructure, period. It defies all reason, but the greenies seem to want to go back to some nostalgic rural utopia powered by solar panels and woodstoves and living off the land, though I doubt that any of these trust funders could handle the work to do it.
Business knows no loyalty to any state. They will move to where they can maximize their opportunities. We already have some of the highest energy and electric cost in the country because we haven't provided the infrastructure needed to support a prosperous industrial economy. The state is littered with abandoned mills that moved out to look for lower costs. The result is a brain drain where the best and brightest of our children fan out across the country to find decent jobs, leaving behind an aging population behind.
New England in general is very conservative and slow to adopt new ideas and technology which is part of what makes our area so charming. Almost any form of change brings protest from traditionalist and other groups. We have a very long history and are slow to change the things that have worked so well for so long; and frankly much of the changes offered aren't worth having.
But if you want a prosperous economy, you have to be willing to pay the price for the necessary infrastructure to support it. We need to bring our energy costs in line with other parts of the country to remain competitive. Without some changes we risk becoming a backwater and our young people our biggest export. All benefits come with a cost, because in life there's no free lunch.
- Category: Letters
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