An Illinois company, doing business as Pantego Wind Energy LLC proposes to build a windmill farm in Pantego to generate electricity. It is a bad idea.
It is a bad idea, not because we don’t need clean, renewable sources of energy or even because of the danger it presents to birds in the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge. It is a bad idea because it is a bad business deal at this time. Here’s why.
The numbers vary, depending on whose you want to use, but the numbers no matter where you get them, all say the same basic thing: Today, and into the foreseeable future, you can’t generate electricity from windmills and sell the electricity in the market and break even, much less make a profit. Simply stated, it costs more than you can sell it for.
So the supporters of wind-generated electricity, as with solar, geothermal etc., propose to force the taxpayers to subsidize the companies generating the electricity until the government can manipulate the market to increase the price of electricity. That is a bad deal, in many ways and on many levels. It is an especially bad deal when you consider that the money the government is going to use to subsidize the windmill companies has to be borrowed and we already have an unsustainable fifteen trillion dollar debt in this country. That debt has already threatened the value of the U. S. dollar and is bound to cause excessive inflation in the future. An increase in the cost of energy is a really bad idea under the current economic circumstances.
This project is a bad deal because it is based on a fundamentally flawed national energy policy. That policy, under Barack Obama, is to drive up the cost of traditional energy (coal, nuclear, oil, gas etc.) to allow “alternative” sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal etc.) to be able to compete. The problem, of course with that is that it causes the price of electricity, as President Obama said, to “necessarily skyrocket.” In these economic times it is a bad deal to deliberately increase the price of electricity, not only because many people simply cannot afford a doubled, tripled or quadrupled electric bill, but it is especially bad for businesses. Thus, it is a job killer and hurts economic growth and development. (Something our Economic Developer and the Committee of 100 in Beaufort County don’t seem to be able to understand. It is far more of a threat than high property insurance rates, be they as horrible as they are.)
Moreover, while the “idea” of green (clean, renewable) energy is a great idea, the reality is far from that. We have all seen in recent weeks that much of the subsidizing of “green” companies has actually been a game of corrupt politics where greedy business executives trade political contributions for “green energy” loans and grants. Then when the deal falls apart the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. That is a bad deal. We don’t need s Solyndra in Beaufort County.
The Pantego Windmill Farm is going to be a failure. Just like the ill-conceived ethanol plant the EDC/Committee of 100 tried to sell to Beaufort County was and would have been a failure. And it will be a failure for the same reason. It is a fundamentally bad business deal. The day will come when that will not be true. Technology will make the costs of green energy less expensive and therefore it will become economically viable as an “alternative” to fossil fuels and even nuclear. But we are not there yet.
If there is anything we have learned in the last few years it should be this: Government cannot effectively control the markets. Trying to do so is like spitting into the wind, no pun intended.
The State (Utilities Commission) should not permit this project. Nor should it permit any project that is a bad business deal for the consumers or the taxpayers of North Carolina. Because electricity is a regulated monopoly, the State has a duty to protect the consumer and the taxpayer. In spite of the desires for “green energy,” the State has a fundamental duty to protect the interest of the people. And the best interest of the people, both in this nation and in this state, is the implementation of a fundamentally sound energy policy. And that policy must be a good deal. Wind generated electricity is not a sound business deal at this time.