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High cost, negligible benefits  

Credit:  The Block Island Times, block-island.villagesoup.com 21 May 2011 ~~

Our general assembly should cease trying to regulate electricity costs and stop encouraging non-cost-effective renewable energy. Their actions only benefit those getting federal and state subsidies or advantages from ill-advised state legislation. Other Rhode Island ratepayers end up footing the added costs, and our state and country sees negligible reduction of imported oil or lessening of greenhouse gas.

It is no coincidence that Denmark, the leading wind turbine user in Europe, has the highest taxes and electricity costs in the European Union. The latest technology in wind turbines uses gearless direct drive and rare earth metals imported from China, which is currently reducing exports of these valuable commodities as well as jacking up the price. I wonder if our legislators know these facts. Are they even aware that currently, 10 million BTUs of energy using crude oil costs about $150, whereas the same amount of energy using natural gas costs about $40 and produces about 30 percent less CO2? Natural gas turbines generate electricity at about one-third the cost of the Deepwater Wind contract, and other wind turbines currently produce electricity at about double the cost of gas turbines. How many of our legislators and politicians supporting the Deepwater Wind Project even know how our electricity costs are determined or the difference between power and energy?

The U.S. Naval Station will get electricity increases similar to Toray Plastics, but for reasons I don’t know, has chosen to sit on the sidelines, along with Electric Boat, instead of supporting other large Rhode Island energy users who stand to benefit from their support and do not have their bills paid by the taxpayers. The Commanding Officer of the Naval Station has refused to even discuss electricity costs with me.

Roger L. Buck

Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Captain Buck was Director of the Governor’s Energy Office,1984-1988, and Executive Director of The Energy Council of Rhode Island,1988-2005.

Source:  The Block Island Times, block-island.villagesoup.com 21 May 2011

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