Monday’s (3-12-12) Beaufort County Board of Commissioners meeting was phenomenal. We’ll report on it in a series of articles. There was way too much, both obvious and not so obvious, to report on to give it short shrift.
The first phenomenon was the board taking less than a minute and a half to dispatch the issue of wind turbines in Beaufort County. And they did so unanimously. So much for conservatives (Richardson and Deatherage) sticking up for conservative principles.
Even though it is meaningless, you can read the resolution they adopted by clicking here.
Now here’s the rest of the story.
We say the resolution is meaningless in that whether the project is completed or not will have nothing to do with this action by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.
What the adoption of the resolution does do is display for all to see how misfeasant our county staff and commissioners are in accepting this language, which is contrary to prevailing scientific and objective factual evidence.
Here’s the reality of this situation. Wind generated electricity depends on massive government subsidies to make it market competitive. Pantego Wind cannot, under today’s technology, produce electricity for 15,000 homes, with the project it applied for certification, at a cost that is equal to or less than the current (or foreseeable) cost of wholesale electricity produced by other means. In other words, wind electricity is dependent on taxpayer subsidies.
And if the same subsidies (tax credits) were provided to other means of electrical generation the gap between wind generated electricity and traditional forms would be even greater. Thus, what we have here is crony capitalism in which the government if picking and choosing which businesses will be given government assistance while leaving others out. The end result is that there will be higher electric rates and higher taxes. That is what your Board of Commissioners voted to support.
A few years back, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners jumped on a similar bandwagon that was called ethanol. As it has turned out, ethanol is a dying industry as the subsidies run out. There is substantial evidence that the same fate will befall wind generated energy. The price of natural gas is declining and expected to remain low, relative to the cost of wind generated power, and more electric utilities are turning to natural gas. The major reason any utility is now purchasing wind (or solar) generated electricity is a government mandate that they purchase a certain amount of “renewable” electricity. These statutory mandates are gross violations of the principle of free markets. (Hood and Stan, are you listening?) These mandates for alternative energy come from the same crowd that wants to outlaw incandescent light bulbs.
So why would the government be trying to increase the electricity produced by wind (and solar)? The answer they give is that it will reduce carbon emissions and thus “save the planet from global warming.” Yet there is no (yep, zero) reliable or valid evidence that wind generated electricity will have any appreciable impact on reducing the level of carbon dioxide. And that does not even address the fact that the “science” supporting the theories of global warming being caused by carbon dioxide emissions from power plants has been soundly debunked. But even if one chooses to believe the propaganda that global warming is happening and is being caused by carbon emissions from power plants, then supporters of wind energy need to explain how wind electricity reduces the need for traditional methods of generation. The answer is that it does not. Utilities still have to have generating capacity to replace wind sources when wind does not meet the peak demands. Wind farms do not reduce the need for fossil fuel generation capacity.
But some of us who are skeptics of government mandates for “alternative energy” believe that political contributions have more to do with the push for wind, solar and battery energy than has anything else. Such examples are legion in the news in the last three years. Google “Solyndra.”
We found it interesting that before the meeting started Monday that representatives of Invenergy huddled in the corner with Commissioners Ed Booth and Al Klemm. Pure coincidence, don’t you know. But even more interesting, County Manager Randell Woodruff confirmed our suspicions…that the resolution was actually authored by Invenergy representatives. Woodruff was unable to respond to specific questions when we tried to validate some of the claims made in the Resolution. And we are told that the discussions between Invenergy reps. and commissioners took place not in a public meeting, but in closed sessions. And that tells us all we need to know about the good folks at Invenergy.
And we will in the future no doubt refer back to this video for another reason. It is prima facie evidence of this board conducting the public’s business out of view of the public. When you see something like this pass with no debate, no discussion, no questions… chances are it was done in a back room, or under the table.
Moreover, we would suggest that this is a perfect example of how this board would function if somebody (usually Hood) did not challenge what they are doing. That they could spend less than two minutes on an issue a complex as wind energy is simply confirmation of the Langley Railroad.
So while the resolution sounds good, the reality is that our Commissioners have voted to support a scam of the taxpayers, consumers and free markets. (So much for Rev. Cayton’s invocation. Note the part about “doing what’s right and equitable for each citizen of this county”). And they are doing so without any benefit to most of the people in Beaufort County. And they will not reduce global warming by even a tiny fraction. Again, this scam will only increase your taxes and the cost of electricity. But a few political contributors will get rich before these companies go broke and some politicians will get a boat load of contributions.
“Green energy” or alternative energy, whatever you want to call it, is the biggest scam of the century. And our commissioners voted unanimously to support it in this instance. File this one under “The Folly of Government Involvement in the Economy.”
Here’s the action, what there is of it that the public was afforded to see:
Jeff Aydelette, writing in our partner print publication, the County Compass reports that the U. S. Senate has defeated the extension of wind energy tax credits. The action presents a major challenge to companies that are trying to install wind generating turbines before the current tax credits run out in January, 2013. The move in the Senate was to extend the credits until January 01, 2014.
It is unclear at this point what the loss of the extension will do to the proposed Beaufort County Pantego Wind farm. In an earlier interview with Invenergy representatives they would not speculate on whether they believe they can get the project in operation within the January 2013 deadline. They also would not say whether Invenergy would proceed with the project without the tax credits. Further, they would not disclose whether they had signed a deal with anyone to purchase the electricity they would produce.