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Wind power developers get profits; we carry risk

In an Aug. 26 article, Rob Gardiner says his and Angus King’s Roxbury wind project “is reducing electricity costs to the customer because it means a more expensive gas-generated plant is not running as heavily.”

In a November 2009 article in the Sun Journal, “Low energy prices force year delay in Roxbury wind farm,” however, King explained how low prices for natural gas fired electricity had stalled their project.

“It was just prudent business management” and “now is not a good time” to go forward with the wind project, King said. In other words, their wind electricity couldn’t compete with gas electricity on cost.

Natural gas prices are still low today and are expected to stay that way for a while. So why is it a “good time” to resume the Roxbury project? Well, King, Gardiner and their silent partner, the Yale Endowment, found a chump onto whose shoulders they could unload the risk of their investment.

Who’s the unlucky gull? Look in the mirror. It’s you and I, the American taxpayers.

It was widely reported recently that the trio had secured a $102 million loan guarantee for their project from the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s you and I.

We carry the risk; they get the profit – if any. It’s socialized risk and privatized profit. You may remember this from a few years ago when we were bailing out Wall Street investment banks. If their project tanks, the creditors come looking for you and me, not King, Gardiner or Yale.

Maybe this is why, despite low gas prices, King and Gardiner can press forward with their Roxbury wind project now. Who needs “prudent business management” when you have American taxpayers to cover your potential losses?

Alan Michka

Lexington Twp.