March 30, 2012
New York, Opinions

PC power not sustainable

By Mary Kay Barton, The Daily News, 30 March 2012

Tom Rivers’ recent report on the costs associated with installing home-use-size wind turbines was quite enlightening (“Partridge adds third Batavia windmill,” story, March 13)

As cited in the article, “State and federal incentives are covering almost the entire $75,000 cost for the new windmill.” It was also reported that “grants” paid half of the cost for the first two ($55,000 each). That adds up to $130,000 that the rest of us paid to cover the cost of one residence’s electricity – and they will still have to rely on our reliable sources when the wind isn’t blowing.

While such set-ups are certainly nice for those on the receiving end, let’s take a deeper look to see just how “sustainable” such a solution really is.

Reportedly, the cost of installing the unit would be covered in 12 years – information that presumably comes from the company selling the units. The article made no mention of maintenance costs, which are typically ongoing with these things due to all the moving parts. The average life of the units was not mentioned either – which, if the same as their larger counterparts, is only 13-15 years.

Since Americans’ average annual income was recently reported to be $32,400 per year (while those living off government entitlements is higher, at $32,700), the $130,000 that we (all ratepayers and taxpayers) paid to cover the cost for one residence to get the “politically-correct (PC) electricity du jour (of the day)” would be over four years salary for today’s average wage earner. (

Let’s say 100 lucky residences across New York state are able to get the same deal, and have one to three home-use-size turbines installed. Those 100 residences would get their “PC electricity du jour” at a cost to the rest of us of $7,500,000 to $22,500,000. Yes – it is our ratepayer and taxpayer dollars that cover the cost of these things.

New York state was already ranked as one of the worst states in the country to do business for many reasons, including our already-high electricity rates. ( )

A recent report by The Manhattan Institute cited that states (like New York) that have mandated the use of “renewables” (i.e., wind) have seen their electricity rates soar even higher – increasing from 30 percent to 50 percent. (

So while a few folks may be the lucky recipients of “PC electricity du juor” installed at their homes, the rest of us will assume these costs through increased utility bills, the economy worsening as businesses and industry avoid or leave New York state, and “average” wage earners who are already struggling to make ends meet see their situation become even more dire. And this is what they call “sustainable”?

Just as it is for the federal incentives offered to those who buy the “Volt,” the fact is, only those who are financially well off enough can afford to buy one – be it a Volt, or a turbine – while the rest of us pay for it. Will it really be any surprise when today’s “average” wage earners simply decide it isn’t worth the struggle anymore, and join the ranks of those living on the government dole?

Sadly, I see this as the ulterior motive of an administration focused on achieving total government control. Their means to this end is already working extremely well, and unfortunately, is being helped along by well-intended people who fail to consider long-term ramifications as they exploit these kinds of “grants” and incentivized programs. At some point, we – or our children – are going to have pay the fiddler.

I don’t know anyone who is opposed to “green” energy per se, as long as those who want it, pay for it themselves. Entitlement debt is destroying our great nation. These kinds of taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded give-away programs in the name of being “green” are not at all “sustainable” – especially if we want our children and grandchildren to live free and prosper.

Mary Kay Barton lives in Silver Lake.

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