Planet Gore

From The Archives on Cape Wind

This is a great post from January 2009 on why we should be opposed to Cape Wind, and it has nothing to do with the Kennedys’ ocean views. Ed writes:

The lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, entitled “Blowhards” and excerpted below, is a heartwarming tale of green hypocrisy and aggrieved NIMBYism. It details the efforts of some of our favorite environmentally holier-than-thou Democrats to prevent a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
Now, personally, having done some sailing around Nantucket Sound — including Hyannisport, where I witnessed Robert Kennedy tooling around in a fume-and-fuel-spewing powerboat — I would agree that Cape Wind’s massive towers would be horizon-marring eyesores. But all the aggrieved parties cited want these kind of wind towers built — just in someone else’s backyard. So pardon the schadenfreude.
The Gilbert Metcalf study the Journal cites, recently published by the Manhattan Institute, is available here. Perhaps we can generate a little discussion of that study in the week ahead.

And an excerpt from the editorial:

Mr. Kennedy blustered that the report was rushed out: amusing, considering it runs to 2,800 pages. Bill Delahunt, the windy Cape Democrat, also denounced the action as “a $2 billion project that depends on significant taxpayer subsidies while potentially doubling power costs for the region.”
Good to see the Congressman now recognizes the limitations of green tech, such as its tendency to boost consumer electricity prices — but his makeover as taxpayer champion is a bit belated. Green energy has been on the subsidy take for years, including in 2005 when Mr. Delahunt was calling for “an Apollo project for alternative energy sources, for hybrid engines, for biodiesel, for wind and solar and everything else.” The reality is that all such projects are only commercially viable because of political patronage.
Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government. The Energy Information Administration estimates that wind receives $23.37 in government benefits per megawatt hour — compared to, say, 44 cents for coal. Despite these taxpayer crutches, wind only provides a little under 1% of U.S. net electric generation.