Just in case you need more evidence of the real reason for the push to develop industrial wind – try to find anything in this article that speaks to benefits for the citizens who will pay for this folly. Nope, it’s all about the money. Further confirmation of Jon Boone’s “The Windpower Industry’s “top ten” false and misleading claims … Number 7 – Industrial wind developers are interested only in providing a public service.”
From the Baltimore Business Journal: “Constellation Energy warms to wind farm business model”
Constellation Energy Group Inc. had previously eyed a Western Maryland wind farm years ago, but it didn’t buy the project until this week because it wasn’t until now that government incentives and reduced technology costs made it a profitable venture.
That sale, along with movement of many other renewable energy facilities in the state, is showing that a long-idealized green power industry is maturing to a point where it’s worth it to investors and energy firms to develop large-scale projects in Maryland. They are some of the first real evidence that federal and state policies are achieving their goals of encouraging cleaner energy generation.
As credit markets continue to loosen and the cost of renewable generation falls, that could further accelerate. But the state still faces hurdles that make it more difficult to match what’s happening in other states.
Two projects were announced Nov. 30:
• Constellation plans to buy a $140 million, 70-megawatt wind farm in Garrett County on Backbone Mountain, the state’s highest peak. The project had previously been stalled but Constellation hopes to close the deal and start construction next year.
• Competitive Power Ventures Inc. of Silver Spring added a 10-megawatt solar field to its plans for a larger 640-megawatt natural gas plant in Charles County.
Constellation had looked at previous, larger versions of the Backbone Mountain wind farm several years ago, but never made a move simply because it wasn’t good investment, spokesman Lawrence McDonnell said. But technology improvements have lowered costs and government policies have increased the upside, whether through tax credits or potential penalties for failing to meet renewable energy generation standards.
“By and large with Maryland wind projects in the past, they were not economically viable,” McDonnell said. “The economics are workable and doable, and it’s a good fit for our portfolio now.”
Maryland law requires 4.51 percent of energy to come from renewable sources in 2009, and that goes up to 20 percent by 2022. There are a mix of federal and state tax credits available for different types of energy projects to help meet that goal, including wind and solar. That includes a federal Production Tax Credit for wind projects that the stimulus package extended for three years to 2012 as well as a 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit.
“They’re getting more viable all the time,” Kevin Porter, an analyst with energy consulting firm Exeter Associates in Columbia, said of renewable projects.
Several others have also moved forward recently:
• The Maryland Energy Administration is considering proposals for offshore wind farms on Maryland’s Atlantic coast. There and in Western Maryland are the state’s best winds for power generation.
• The Public Service Commission approved another 50-megawatt Backbone Mountain wind farm earlier this month, planned by Synergics Wind Energy LLC.
• The City of Annapolis recently awarded a contract for a renewable energy park that will include solar, biomass and other forms of renewable generation to also generate 50 megawatts.
But whether reliable power can come from renewable sources in Maryland is still questionable, at least when compared to other states, Porter said. Both solar and wind power are more favorable in other states with more sunshine and higher elevations.
Don’t you just love the last line – regardless of whether reliable power can be generated, it can be profitable. Draw your own conclusions.
Related Links: “Destruction of Backbone Mountain soon to begin, ironically because no one has one!” … “Boiling Frogs” … “Email to Governor Joe Manchin questioning the decision by the WV Division of Culture and History to allow wind installations to negatively impact historic sites.” … “A Conversation with Jon Boone – Industrial Wind and the Environment” … “I’d love to kick in a little more Congressman … but, as you know, I only get a 77% subsidy to build my wind farms.” … “Maryland to open new Bald Eagle meat processing facility in Garrett County.“