Happy news for New Englanders

Electric advance

Long besieged by rich summer people, including the Kennedy family & its retainers

New Englanders had some very good news last week when Massachusetts Governor Patrick announced that National Grid would negotiate a long-term contract under which it would buy electricity from Cape Wind's proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. (National Grid also agreed to buy electricity from Deepwater Wind's eight-turbine project off Block Island.)

This means that Cape Wind, long besieged by rich summer people, including the Kennedy family and its retainers, such as interim U.S. Sen. Paul Kirk, will find it a lot easier to get financing to build the project, which could cost over $1 billion. There is particular pressure to get rolling with the project's construction as soon as possible, because the federal stimulus bill includes a 30-percent tax credit for such renewable-energy projects that open by 2012.

The announcement is happy news for New Englanders who want more stable and reliable electricity and for those living near the region's heavily polluting fossil-fuel plants.

Now let's see if the Iranians close the Straits of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf, driving oil to $200 a barrel or more and making us wish all the more that Cape Wind had been up and running a long time ago.

As for the cost of the electricity from the plant, on the basis of current pricing, it will be close to what people are paying. As fossil-fuel prices rise, it will look better and better, especially in such high-use times as extreme cold and heat spells. New England is on thin ice as it is, because of its near total dependence on energy sources from outside the region. And a reminder: Burning fossil fuel is polluting; it has all sorts of nasty stuff in it, from mercury to sulfur dioxide.

Now let's see if the Iranians close the Straits of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf, driving oil to $200 a barrel or more and making us wish all the more that Cape Wind had been up and running a long time ago.

Cape Wind, which would provide about 75 percent of the Cape and Islands' electricity, was first proposed in 2001! The campaign by the privileged to block this project, which they feared would hurt their views from their houses six miles away, long after its pros and cons had received exhaustive -- indeed exhausting -- hyper-rigorous review has been one of the worst abominations in the history of regulatory law and has done great damage to America's effort to move to a cleaner and more independent energy policy.

Providence Journal, 12-12-09.

 

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