A strong gust of common sense is needed to blow out to sea the exorbitant idea of spending billions to put about 200 wind turbines 15 miles offshore in the Atlantic.
There are cheaper and better ways to lower carbon emissions than this plan sponsored by the Long Island Power Authority, the New York Power Authority and Con Edison. But it seems to stay afloat from the hot air of news releases touting it.
The idea was conceived two years ago by LIPA and Con Ed. A feasibility study for turbines that would be visible from a stretch of shoreline bookended by Jacob Riis and Robert Moses beaches has sat on the shelf since November. Last week it fluttered again when the consortium applied to lease the federal waters.
The proposal calls for two 350-megawatt wind farms that would cost at least $5 billion – and likely more in the end. An economic study suggests that instead of being blinded by the price, ratepayers who already pay some of the nation’s highest electricity costs should shift their gaze to all the construction jobs the project promises to create.
Such a vanity project would be harmless if it didn’t take the focus from more sensible renewable energy projects. These include installing solar panels on flat roofs of commercial buildings, constructing a transmission line to carry cheap hydro power from Canada or making existing natural-gas fired plants more efficient.
Yet again, however, the powers that be tilt at windmills.
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