ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on August 14, 2010

Who Will Finance Cape Wind

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most gullible of all? Where do we start? The list is endless. It includes prestegious environmental and conservation groups such as Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation; state and federal government agencies; trade groups such as the United States Chamber of Commerce; press outlets such as the Boston Globe, New York Times, Washington Poast, Chicago Tribune, PBS and more. And why not? How can any reasonable person not rise to support clean, renewable energy that will be cost-competitive and perhaps even save us money with zero environmental consequences?

The problem is that many of the claims made for utility scale wind power are simply not true. This is especially true for offshore wind whose capital cost is now solidly moored at $5 million per installed megawatt. The simple answer to the question of who will finance Cape Wind is this: first, United States tax payers through massive tax free cash rebates and second the unfortunate rate payers who will have no choice but to pay higher electric bills. While Cape Wind's rate increase seems small at less than $2 dollars per month to start, it rises by 3.5% every year, compunded. Worse yet, it is intended to be the first of many offshore wind projects whose eventual total capacity will reach 20% of Massachusetts' electric demand, and presumably the same for other states. Offshore wind power could well increase monthly electric bills 20% - 30%. The difference between buying the planned offshore wind power and buying most other things is that the purchase is neither voluntary nor subject to comparative price shopping. An electric bill arrives monthly and must be paid monthly.

Wind power developers have hit on what seems a winning formula: use huge tax payer subsidies to provide something everyone must buy, but at a price set by government regulators. This explains who will finance Cape Wind and presumably all the other offshore wind farms our government thinks we should build. Yes, the wind is free, but converting it into electricity and then delivering that electricty to individual users is far more expensive using wind power as a generation medium than any other single source of power generation except solar. But now, distributed solar power is finally competitive with almost any other form of energy generation, even in some residential applications. In properly designed installations solar power can achieve 5 - 7 year payback of its capital costs and for the remainder of a quality system's twenty-five year life span generate free power...$0.0/MW.

For nine years in the case of Cape Wind we have been barraged with misinformation. Since the wind is free fuel, so the song and dance went, wind generated power will be cost effective, probably even saving rate payers money. However, the recently revealed draft PPA for Cape wind's power tells the truth: offshore wind is at least double the price of conventional mix of electric generation. Unfortunately there is no law or regulation defining cost effective. The figures shown to promote Cape Wind in particular and offshore wind in general always paint a rosey picture. Figures don't lie but...........If we believe what we have been told by Cape Wind supporters we are only deceiving ourselves.

Let's revisit Governor Deval patrick as he spoke to a small crowd of folks in the Zion Union Baptist Church Museum of African American and Cape Verdian History in Hyannis, Massachusetts on Thursday evening, AugustĀ 5 of this year. The Governor said clearly that natural gas is not a reliable fuel in terms of both supply and price. That is strange because two weeks earlier at an energy industry conference in Washington, D.C. I heard industry experts, people responsible for the purchase and transmission of vast quantities of electricity all over North America say exactly the opposite. In fact, the uniform opinion was that things are looking up for the approval of an entirely new generation of nuclear power and that the price competition would likely be between nuclear and natural gas as oil prices and supplies fluctuate wildly and coal becomes ever more commonly condemned due to the harmful effects of its mining techniques. Natural gas prices have fallen 50% over the past two years and are expected to remain low as new domestic reserves are discovered every month.

Is it more than interesting that Governor Patrick was saying exactly what Cape Wind's CEO, Jim Gordon, has said for several years? The Governor, after all, must get his energy knowledge from some where. He certainly did not come by it at Harvard Law School or when he worked as general counsel for Pepsi. Does he know that while Jim Gordon is telling people not to count on natural gas for a stable energy future he is himself building a new 400MW gas-fired plant in western Massachusetts? A plant that will burn diesel fuel when it is economically advantageous to the developer? Our governor truly is a nice fellow and very smart, but he is also apparently being mislead when it comes to energy policy.

What Governor Deval Patrick and all of us would do well to remember is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. He and we should also remember an age old truth: in order to succeed even the biggest lies and the best cons must have enough truth in them to appear true. Hence the old saying: Figures don't lie but liars figure.

COPYRIGHT 2010 By Peter A. Kenney


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • P. A. Kenney profile image

      P. A. Kenney 7 years ago from Cape cod, Massachusetts

      Sheri - I have a close friend who does fascinating work with 'clean coal'....he can get 90% of the CO2 and other junk out of the stack gases. But, coal mining is never clean. When will we learn?


    • SheriSapp profile image

      SheriSapp 7 years ago from West Virginia


      Thanks for addressing my comment. I must admit to being more than a little partisan, but bottom line, we are all Americans and I hope we all love this country. I am woefully ignorant about much of anything to do with these turbines, but I agree with your statement that we must do what is sensible, too bad sensible is extinct in D.C.!!!

    • P. A. Kenney profile image

      P. A. Kenney 7 years ago from Cape cod, Massachusetts

      Sheri - As it happens you are wrong about how visible the turbines will be. But, anyway, you will notice that my objections are based on cost and other considerations, not the view. You should do whatever is damn well sensible! Love that logo...a little partisan, are we?

    • SheriSapp profile image

      SheriSapp 7 years ago from West Virginia

      I liked how the Kennedys were so big on wind power, but they could not allow the turbines off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, even though they would be so far away they would appear as a speck. Love those libs and their thinking....YOU need to change and conserve....WE will do whatever we damn well want!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)