Boston Television Reporter apologizes for support of Cape Wind – w/Video

Thanks to Jon Boone for directing us to this incredible video:

There is little to add!

Well, except maybe this:  Cape Wind already being compared to the “Big Dig.” This can’t be good!

and maybe this:  I’m confused: Salazar employs MMS support of Developer to approve Cape Wind, then splits the agency to eliminate potential “conflict of interest?”

and maybe this:  Glenn Schleede: “The True Cost of Electricity from Wind is Always Underestimated and its Value is Always Overestimated”

and maybe this:  Jon Boone reviews “Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” by Robert Bryce.

and maybe this:  Selling Industrial Wind: Government, the Media and Common Sense – UPDATE

and maybe this:  Rethinking wind power – John Droz, Jr. | Cleantech Group

and maybe this at MasterResource:  The Cape Wind Approval: It’s Not Over Yet – and take special note to the comments following the article, provided here for your convenience:

John Droz { 05.02.10 at 6:52 am }


Good overview. My comments:

1- The Nantucket Alliance (SOS) almost immediately was labeled as NIMBYs due to their own poorly thought out public position on wind energy. Essentially they said wind energy was OK in other places, just not in their area. This is not only a false premise, but was guaranteed to be a losing public relations tactic. In my view the Salazar result was assured by their strategy.

2 – The issue of whether a wind project should go forward should consider FAR more than whether it is “commercially reasonable and whether it will operate in compliance with existing laws.” For instance, there are few “existing laws” that adequately protect citizens health concerns — e.g. from such effects as low level noise.

3 – You made several good observations about cost, but in doing so it seems that you are implying that wind energy is an equivalent to our other conventional sources. In other words it seems that you are saying that if wind energy is competitively priced, then it would be OK to “substitute” it for a conventional source (e.g. nuclear).

The problem with that premise is that we are comparing apples and oranges. It is like saying it makes sense (to save fossil fuel) to substitute sailing ships for 20% (let’s say) of our current military ocean going vessels.

This is all explained in detail at EnergyPresentation.Info.

2 Tom Tanton { 05.02.10 at 9:59 am }

I’m a tad surprised by CRM analysis, as they most often do credible work. In this instance they failed to provide a complete analysis of the benefits/costs–they only did half the work (yes, there’s another term, somewhat impolite.) They did not loook at the value impacts (aka benefits) which are negative given wind patterns as Lisa alludes to. They also did p.p. work on the cost side and were overly optimistic. If cape Wind could lower costs, why are the ratepayaers being FORCED into buying the output under long term contracts? The question provides the answer.

3 Jon Boone { 05.02.10 at 12:55 pm }

A well written, subtle, nuanced analysis, providing a glimpse into the market realities of ISO New England, which has one of the most opaque information disclosure apparati in the country. Given the pandering politics at both the national and state levels that Lisa Linowes mentions, no one should have been surprised by the Interior Secretary’s decision on the Cape Wind farrago. This is especially true given the block-headed opposition mounted by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which embraced perhaps the dumbest modern energy idea imaginable while urging that Cape Wind would be better situated in someone else’s backyard.

Lisa fairly well describes the socio/economic/political tap dance that would attend the integration of the Cape Wind project into the pricing system of ISO New England. Her tale reminds ever so much of the intricacies involved in Wall Street’s use of bundling worthless securities in the derivatives market, gambling away billions in risk proof ways, since taxpayers would cover the cost of investments gone wrong. She touches on how the Charles River Associates wind impact report mirrors the way AIG gave high ratings to the questionable casino schemes of Goldman Sachs. She thumbnails the blowback expected from an assortment of opposition groups, not least from her own organization and, most intriguingly, from TransCanada Power. And, very importantly, she exposes the reality of the capital cost of Cape Wind–at minimum, $2.3 billion, although perhaps she should have mentioned that most of those dollars would be revenues lost to the federal treasury, meaning reductions in public services or increased tax bills to make up the difference.

The blowhards who endorse the Cape Wind scam shamelessly tout the LLC’s claim of a 39% capacity factor, the evidence for which remains enshrouded in “proprietary confidentiality.” (So much for transparency.) Although the ocean winds swirling around Nantucket Sound may be stronger and steadier than most onshore locations, offshore conditions are often more environmentally hostile, increasing downtime for maintenance. Cape Wind LLC would be lucky to get a 30% capacity factor.

And here’s more blowback for the blowhards. With an installed capacity of 468MW and a more reasonable annual capacity factor of 30%, the wind LLC would generate a yearly average of 140MW into the ISO NE grid, which has a peak demand generation of over 28,000MW. Those 130 skyscraper-sized wind turbines are likely to produce less than 140MW 60% of the time, and, around 10% of the time, they would likely generate nothing, especially at peak demand times. To infill the constantly skittering yield, they would have to be continuously entangled with conventional generators at up to 90% of the installed wind capacity, most likely open cycle natural gas units, operating thermally and economically in highly inefficient ways–thereby subverting both greenhouse gas offsets and lower consumer rates. Moreover, the $2.3 billion projected cost would not include new transmission lines and voltage regulation systems necessary to bring the wind to market.

It’s a mell of a hess. Few things illustrate the intellectual lacuna at the soul of the Republic better than the wild rumpus for wind. If this massive wind project gets built, what people entering Cape Cod from the ocean will see is not the natural beauty of Nantucket Sound, nor anything like the inspiration of the Statute of Liberty–but rather the spawn of Enron, signifying a whole lot of dumb and ugly.

4 Richard W. Fulmer { 05.02.10 at 2:06 pm }

Cape Wind will ultimately fail to achieve any of the goals claimed for it – decreasing CO2 emissions, increasing energy independence, etc. Such a failure would almost be worth its cost in resources and environmental damage if there were any chance that wind proponents would learn from it. Unfortunately, that will never be. The environmental religion offers its adherents feelings of moral and intellectual superiority over nonbelievers, and that is something few of them will relinquish, regardless of the environmental damage that results.

Feedback is essential to any action. Consider, for example, how dangerous the world is for a person who has lost the ability to feel pain, as happens with certain forms of leprosy. Imagine placing your hand on a hot stove and not realizing it until you smell your own flesh burning.

Those in the Left’s environmental movement have created a sort of moral leprosy for themselves by ignoring any facts that do not support their world view. But it is rarely their flesh that gets burned.

5 Jon Boone { 05.02.10 at 3:00 pm }

Interestingly, a prominent Italian journalist last spring began referring to what he dubbed “the leprosy of wind” threatening contagion around the Italian countryside. Works for me.

I wish that the wind mess was only a creature of the Left’s environmental movement, which it partly is, to be sure. But there is bipartisan support that puts the blame squarely on the Right as well. And on the Center. As Glenn Schleede and others have shown on this forum, wind is a win win for politicians of every stripe, who benefit from giving the impression they’re opposing the badasses from the fossil fuel industry by supporting wind, while all the while knowing that the more wind, the more need for fossil fuels. It’s a lose lose for rate and taxpayers, for more enlightened energy policy, and for the environment.

And, rather than exposing what a disreputable player wind is, conventional power corporations have welcomed wind into their fold, knowing it’s not a competitor, knowing that it will increase the need for their products and services, and serve as a nifty PR tool while rather substantially reducing their corporate tax obligations–a la GE and Florida Power and Light, among others.

6 nofreewind { 05.03.10 at 6:16 am }

To see the 2008 capacity of the UK’s offshore wind farms go here, page 21. It looks to be about 35%.

7 bubbagyro { 05.03.10 at 1:54 pm }

Great! We needed more bird swatters on the horizon!

8 Kent Hawkins { 05.04.10 at 6:53 am }

Nofreewind’s observation appears correct for 2008. For those who focus solely on this measure, this puts UK offshore wind at the high end of projections for onshore and the low end of that for offshore.

It must be remembered though that average production over a year of a highly volatile output (within short time periods of often considerably less than an hour) is not a realistic measure of value. Using averages in this way is like saying with your head in a freezer and your feet in a turned-on oven that on average you are OK.

To balance this volatility and produce useful electricity, fast-reacting (but inefficient in terms of fuel use and CO2 emissions produced) fossil-fuel generation of about twice the wind plants’ output is needed. More of such wind capacity is not an improvement: less is.

9 Jon Boone { 05.04.10 at 8:59 am }

The other observation to make here, Kent and Nofreewind, is is that one year of performance is not an adequately informed metric. Let’s see the UK’s offshore performance average over five years, say, to confirm that 35%.

10 Kent Hawkins { 05.04.10 at 4:39 pm }

Good point Jon. Year to year variations are common. Again for those who want to focus on this metric, in 2006 the total UK offshore wind fleet capacity factor was 29.3%. I did not mention this before because it is not central to the issue of the value of utility-scale wind power, as nofreewind would indicate.

11 Robert McCullough { 05.10.10 at 9:10 am }

Lisa Linowes essay is quite valuable. We do know more about the economics, however. The recently released AEO 2010 from the U.S. Energy Information Administration provides data on both conventional and offshore wind. In 2008 dollars the cost differential is striking — $1,996/kW versus $3,937/kW. To an economist, the question is not “why wind?” so much as it is “why offshore wind?” NIMBY issues are a reality wherever wind is placed, but conventional wind provides nearly a $2,000/kW cost advantage to mitigate local disadvantages. Bluntly put, move the turbines onshore and some lucky community will get a share of the $1 billion is cost savings.

On the integration issue, wind works best when coupled with hydroelectric storage or a nearby rapidly dispatchable gas unit. Cape Cod is not known for either of these advantages. The operatng issues connected with Cape Wind will be both interesting and challenging.

12 Jon Boone { 05.10.10 at 11:39 am }

Agree with your final comment, Robert McCullough. But your recommendation about putting the damned thing onshore and expecting a “lucky community” to get a share of the “cost saving” seems, well, delusional, given that the project is basically a tax shelter for large corporations. No responsible CFO of the project would short-shrift investors by cost sharing much with the locals–no matter where a wind project would be located.

As for wind and hydro, sure, this is a great tandem, if you like environmental pillage at no savings of CO2 emissions. Hydro without wind, simply as an energy source, is much better than hydro with wind, since the latter can only very marginally “improve” the production of the former.

AT Note:  How many warning signs does it take to stop these folks from driving off the green energy cliff?

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2 Responses to Boston Television Reporter apologizes for support of Cape Wind – w/Video

  1. The group fighting Cape Wind made a gross mistake by stating they would support the project, it they would just MOVE IT A BIT. This is not a good choice, as wind energy is wrong in any location. Classic example of Nimby.

    Excellent video…hope other media outlets will “get it” soon.

  2. Hello from my 100 acre farm in Ontario where my farm and my health have been deemed expendable, by our Liberal Majority Government & our Premier Dalton McGuinty! Nine 40 story Industrial wind turbines are slated to go up on the farm beside our farm! What I will lose:
    1- SLEEP- due to low density sound or Infrasound-
    2- Equity- After 40 years of upkeep and taxes, can’t sell it!
    3- Wildlife- leaves the area, Deer, Coyote,Rabbits, turkeys,etc!
    4- Raptors, Bats, Eagles & Hawks killed by turbines!
    5- Earth worms and morning dew, so important for crops!
    6- Frogs and Peepers have died in ponds with IWT’s near!
    7- $$$$$, as I will use a gas generator rather than pay triple hydro bills!
    8- Perhaps most importantly, my faith in government and democracy that has deemed that myself and my family is expendable! And for what? No reduction in emissions, No gain, intermittent and paltry out put of power!

    I say North America must REVOLT big time and put a stop to this madness! This period of time will be known as the biggest Boondoogle of all time in North America! Especially when history proves that Al Gore was wrong! So damn wrong!

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