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Updated on September 9, 2010


Telling whoppers comes easily to Jim Gordon, the CEO of Cape Wind and self-appointed Pied Piper of renewable energy. For nine years he has telling audiences far and wide how our dwindling supplies of natural gas and its fluctuating price make it likely that no new power plants will be built in New England and perhaps anywhere fueled by natural gas. Gordon usually finds himself wrapped in a cloak of gleaming credibility due to his three decades of success working in the electric power industry. Who would question this merchant generator of electricity who has made well into the nine figures as his personal fortune based on his expertise in energy?

Why would anyone doubt Jim Gordon? Read on and then ask yourself; why would anyone believe a word he says?

Natural gas prices have fallen slightly more than 50% over the past two years. That is what we are told by the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA). This same government agency also tells us that natural gas and coal are nearing parity in cost. Three fules are used to generate most of our electricity - coal, natural gas and oil. Nuclear and renewables make up the balance but the lion's share is from these three fossil fuels. Because coal used to be clearly the cheapest fuel it was seen as an impediment to increased use of natural gas, but those days are gone, probably forever. Gas now threatens coal in costs and it burns at least 50% cleaner.

Actual costs for electricity have been falling steadily for two years while the capital costs for Cape Wind have more than doubled since it was first proposed. Cape Wind will increase electricty rates and if it is followed by other offshore wind projects these rates will increase even more dramatically, while natural gas, with an ever increasing supply being discovered from domestic sources, will continue to fall in price and provide the U.S. with energy security and independence. Our dependence on both coal and oil, two fuels that spew vast amounts of toxic materioal into the atmosphere, will decline in direct proportion to our use of newly found natural gas. And, we will always need back-up power in the form of readily available gas fired or diesel powered plants to provide power when the wind is too weak or too strong or when the wind turbines are out of service due to mecahnical failure. But you will not hear any of this from Jim Gordon.

Of course, if Jim Gordon told the truth about these facts he would weaken his argument that we must allow Cape Wind to happen so we can save the world from coal's nasty stack emissions. And, if he would begin his public rants with a clear statement that he himself is building a 400MW gas-fired plant in western Massachusetts he might mend his tattered credibility somewhat. Obviously, while Gordon was telling us gas would be unavailable and too expensive he actually knew differently and was preapred to bet $400 million, the cost of his new power plant, on his belief.

Now that the cat is out of the bag about Cape Wind's true costs and now that we know that Jim Gordon has been feeding us false information about natural gas...shouldn't we ask how reliable his predictions are for the efficiency of his Cape Wind project? In fact, why would anyone believe Jim Gordon about anything?

COPYRIGHT 2010 By Peter A. Kenney


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