It’s a very well written article: Bonackers vs. Big Wind by Robert Bryce. h/t Andrew. The good news is that opponents of wind power are having a lot of success onshore. The bad news is that the renewables industry is pushing offshore instead, but fishermen don’t want them either, and families that have been fishing the same areas for 300 years are up in arms.
“The South Fork fishermen are fighting to preserve their access to some of the most productive fisheries in the world.”
Some eye-opening numbers:
- Obama set a target of 10GW of offshore wind power by 2020. But right now there is only 30 MW. It’s 9,970MW short. The offshore push is on.
- To replace a single nuclear generator will take 45 offshore wind plants.
- Offshore generation costs as much as three times what gas power costs per KWh.
They face big money renewables proponents — not just rich beachfront homeowners, but large corporations who want tax credits worth millions, and groups like Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA, plus the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Governor Andrew Cuomo has a goal of “producing 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.” But to do it, bills will go up for the poor.
The backlash on land:
“The backlash against Big Wind is evident in the numbers: since 2015, about 160 government entities, from Maine to California, have rejected or restricted wind projects. One recent example: on May 2, voters in three Michigan counties went to the polls to vote on wind-related ballot initiatives. Big Wind lost on every initiative.
An analysis of media stories shows that, over the past decade or so, about 40 New York communities have shot down or curbed wind projects.”
Onshore wind is becoming unviable due to opposition. So New York Governor wants it offshore. But fishermen don’t want wind power either.
“Alex. Beckwith traces his family’s roots in the region back more than 300 years. “I’m totally opposed” to the wind project, he said. “It’s going to be a hazard to navigation.”
Expanding offshore wind to the 2.4 gigawatts that Cuomo has pledged will require covering about 300 square miles of offshore territory with turbines.
… fishermen are facing “permanent denial” of their labor in the areas in and around the proposed projects. “We can’t go anywhere else,” she tells me. Asked about the politics of offshore wind, Paul Farnham, who owns the Montauk Fish Dock, which packs fish for shipment and sale (on consignment) to the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point in the Bronx, replies: “I’ll guarantee you, 90 percent or more of all these fishermen voted for Trump. It wasn’t because they liked him. It was because they wanted less regulation.”
Milions in tax credits:
As my accounting consultant (and brother) Wally Bryce, a CPA, reminds me: “You’d much rather get a tax credit because it applies dollar for dollar against what you owe the government.”
Offshore wind companies take advantage of a different part of the tax code: the investment tax credit, which is based on their project’s total cost—and is currently equal to 24 percent of that cost. If Deepwater Wind builds the South Fork project, it will collect some $170 million in tax credits.
Offshore windpower costs 3 times as much as gas power:
LIPA has agreed to pay Deepwater Wind about 22 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity produced from the South Fork project. But as Newsday’s Harrington pointed out in February, the average cost of natural-gas-fired electricity on Long Island is about 7.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Thus, Cuomo is effectively preventing New Yorkers from using low-cost gas-fired electricity in favor of electricity from offshore that costs about three times as much.
Groups have tried legal suits to stop some projects. But with mixed results.
Ominously, Cuomo has many links to the NRDC which lobbies for wind power. Hypocritically, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who is a senior attorney with the NRDC, fought plans to build offshore turbines near his home in Hyannisport.
Read it all: Bonackers vs. Big Wind by Robert Bryce in the City-Journal.