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Updated on May 9, 2010

All the Rules Are Now Broken

There is no doubt that this country must clean up its act, reduce toxic emissions from industry, vehicles and power plants. While power plants are big targets for environmentally concerned folks, it is probably the non-source pollution of moving vehicles and our very homes that are the true villains of pollution. But, power plants are huge contributors of carbon and other foul elements into our air and environment.

Wind power, however, is not the answer to our Carbon problem. Our declared national target is to produce 20% of our energy, that means electricity, from renewables by the year 2020. Even if this 2020 vision is met, our air and planet will still be poisoned with carbon. The big drive and the popular focus for government subsidies is the growing wind industry. Commercial scale wind farms do reduce carbon emissions dramatically when compared with coal powered electric generation, or, for that matter, even gas fired power plants.

However, the simple truth is that we cannot afford the scale of wind power envisioned by our leaders and the industry and while wind power does generate clean electricity it does not solve the problems created by industrial power needs. This means that such basic industries as steel and other heavy manufacturing will benefit little from wind and will therefore not reduce their carbon emissions without progress in carbon-limiting technology for other fuels such as coal and natural gas. Over the past ten years we have seen our basic industries decline by nearly 40%. By itself this has resulted in significant reductions in toxic emissions. It has also, however, torn the fabric of our nation's economic well-being by closing factories and driving skilled workers from good paying jobs to either the unemployment line of to menial and low paying jobs. Entire cities have been devastated by failures of plants and even whole industries.

Adding a new energy cost increase for homeowners and commercial customers to pay for wind is not going to be helpful. How will paying $1.5 trillion dollars of public money over the next ten years directly to wind developers as tax-free subsidies help this situation? Those developers fully intend to use this money to pay for very expensive wind equipment made oversees. Thus we will be enriching our foreign competitors, creating an enormous drain on American currency while at the same time subsidizing a very expensive form of energy. And this makes sense how?

During his announcement of Cape Wind's approval Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made it clear that he both expects and will approve many more offshore wind projects along the Atlantic coast. This means continued subsidies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment act and other programs. One wind developer has found a unique way to put his ARRA subsidy to work oversees. Receiving over $100 million for a wind project he had already completed he then used the ARRA money as the capital base for his expansion into wind development in Asia. Some of our most senior government officials are too stupid to be let out of the house alone. They need keepers.

While it is true that it was the administration of George H. W. Bush who kept Cape Wind alive through nine years of withering opposition, it is the Obama administration who have opened the floodgates of the new wind welfare, windfare, state by approving Cape Wind.

The Power Purchase Agreement announced on Friday, May 7 of this year between National grid and Cape Wind sets a wholesale price of 20.7 cents per kilowatt. However, there are transmission and other related costs associated with wind energy that could well raise the actual wholesale cost to 30 cents or more. Perhaps the wind developer and the power company are being kind and are trying to avoid confusing the eventual customers for this electricity with full disclosure and an explanation of the different costs involved. Or, perhaps they think we are all as stupid as the government officials who just handed them the keys to the Kingdom.

When he visited Cape Cod on January 28 of this year to see Nantucket Sound for himself, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said very clearly,"Cape Wind should not seen as a bell weather." He said that his decision on Cape Wind would be just that, a decision on one offshore wind project and that it should not be seen as an endorsement or a denial of offshore wind generally. But, when he announced his approval of Cape Wind on April 28 he said clearly that the Cape Wind decision would begin the development of many offshore wind projects on the Atlantic coast.

All the rules are now broken. There are no protections afforded us by Coast Guard safety regulations, the Endangered Species Act, safety standards to protect fishing grounds or commercial ferry traffic or recreational boating activities or protections for historically significant sites. All that is gone in the name of this one expensive wind farm. Salazar made simply silly remarks as he announced the Cape Wind approval. Think of this whenever you hear more news about the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, Ken Salazar also approved that project and in April of 2009 he did so while issuing massive exemptions to BP, protecting them from compliance with certain regulations and safety precautions. Is it any wonder I now call him Slick?

If Slick Salazar is correct that we will see many more wind farms along the Atlantic coast, what will happen to the shipping lanes? The fishing grounds? The radar that guides and controls commercial air traffic? How many more Cape Wind projects will we see? 20? 50? 100? Where? I want some of whatever Slick and the boys in D.C. are smoking because I too would like to escape from reality completely at times.

Ken Salazar has set environmental regulation and energy policy back decades. He has broken the rules and he has made it possible for others to do so as well. thank you, Mr. Secretary, Slick.

Copyright 2010 By Peter A. Kenney


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    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      8 years ago from America

      come to Tx and NM, almost every direction I travel I see these ugly monstrous windmills blocking the skyline, I understand they break down alot and are very costly, I dont know of one wind farm that has generated a profit no pun intended! OIl baby!!!! something about a pumpjack that doesn't hurt the skyline!

    • P. A. Kenney profile imageAUTHOR

      P. A. Kenney 

      8 years ago from Cape cod, Massachusetts

      Neil - It is accepted in the wind industry that offshore equipment requires 30% of available operating hours be spent on O&M. We will pay for this poor reliability.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Wind is a poor supplier of power in my opinion- costs will skyrocket to the point no-one will be able to afford power. The wind mills are too expensive and the mechanics of the equipment simply are prone to brake down due to the weight and stress on the blades themselves. Enough said - I'll puff with ya!


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