Cape Wind Cost Claims Misleading

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Developer’s Study Advances Myth of Offshore Wind Savings

“To repeatedly mislead electric ratepayers with the myth of cheap offshore wind is worse than disingenuous; it’s a deliberate attempt to hide the true cost to consumers of Cape Wind," said Audra Parker of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the long-term preservation of Nantucket Sound, blasted the findings of a recent study which repeats the myth that offshore wind contributes to lower electric rates.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “To repeatedly mislead already overburdened electric ratepayers with the myth of cheap offshore wind is worse than disingenuous; it’s a deliberate attempt to hide the true cost to consumers of Cape Wind.”

The study, prepared by Charles River Associates and paid for by Cape Wind, is based on an assumption that Cape Wind will sell power on the wholesale market. However, Cape Wind has already entered negotiations with one of the nation’s largest electric companies, National Grid, to complete a power purchase agreement.

“It is time for the developer and our elected officials to tell taxpayers the truth: the economics of offshore wind just don’t work,” said Parker. “Cape Wind requires more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies and according to the federal review of Cape Wind, after the cost of subsidies and tax credits, the project’s cost of electricity will be two times the current price of wholesale electricity in New England.”

At an estimated premium of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, Cape wind would increase customer electric bills by approximately $150 per year. All ratepayers in National Grid’s 169 cities and towns across Massachusetts would be affected. Electric customers on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are not served by National Grid and would not see the increase.

Ratepayer advocates, political leaders and business groups, including the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, have all expressed concern over the increased cost of offshore wind passed on to businesses and consumers.

“It’s still double the price – and the ratepayers will be picking up the tab for it for 20 years,” Robert Rio, a senior vice president at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, told the Boston Herald.

A recent poll released by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis found a majority of respondents (55 percent) report they would not pay more for electricity produced by wind turbines. Much of the support for wind energy was based on survey respondents’ false assumption that offshore wind energy will lower their electric bill, UMass Dartmouth found.

According to UMass Dartmouth, “while 42 percent of respondents are less likely to support the Cape Wind project if their bill increased by $50 per year, this percentage increases to 67 percent at the $100 increase per year threshold and to 78 percent at the $150 increase per year threshold.”

“The message from Massachusetts ratepayers is clear. They are unwilling to dig deeper into their own pockets in the form of dramatically higher electric bills to subsidize a private wind developer,” said Parker.

A similar project in Rhode Island, Deepwater Wind, generated widespread opposition when its deal to sell power to National Grid came in at nearly three times the price of natural gas in Rhode Island.

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Wesley Eberle

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