Did you get the letter from RG&E? You know, the one where they want you to “do your part to support a clean energy solution for our community.” It’s called “Catch the Wind Program.”
RG&E thinks it would be just great if we “choose wind power” and “reduce our carbon footprint, advance green jobs and the economy, encourage energy independence, and make a difference for future generations.” All you have to do is pay an additional $7.50 per month. That’s to cover the expense of producing 300 kilowatt-hours of wind-generated electricity that’s sent to the New York State power grid.
The letter says that signing up at the 300 kwh level per month has an environmental benefit of planting 30 tree seedlings or not driving 3,006 miles per year. And as more people sign up, more wind farms are built to meet the demand. And they’ll give you a certificate each year you complete the program.
Let me get this straight. I should pay $7.50 per month more than I pay now to pretend I’m getting electricity from a wind farm so that RG&E (now owned by the Spanish company Iberdrola) can sell that same electricity to the power grid? Let’s say I fall for this; just how would that 300 kwh coming down the line from the wind farm know to exit at my house?
In other words, they can’t produce electricity from wind power as cheaply as other sources. So they try to get customers to subsidize operational losses by twisting the environmentally friendly facts. They get nice tax credits for building wind farms while they pad their bottom line with customer subsidies. It’s “Catch the Wind” all right, if “wind” stands for Wonderfully-Intentioned Naïve Dupes.
I am absolutely in favor of sustainable, clean energy; the sooner, the better. The energy industry has to figure out how to create and deliver it transparently and economically. I’d gladly send $7.50 per month to a non-profit organization dedicated to this outcome. Trying to hoodwink the public to line Iberdrola’s pockets is an insult to intelligence and intention.
But I’m sure it’s a nice certificate.
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