What does this have to do with the cost of bread, milk or wine? Nothing. It does however have to do with what the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority Board of Commissioners were planning, when they initiated the wind-to-energy project that may well result in a 1.5 megawatt industrial wind turbine being installed on BRSA property.
The Independent has published many articles and letters to the editor on the issues of public health and loss of property values associated with the undertaking. However, when one looks back on the history of this project, it is apparent that from its very inception, back in 2006-07, that the BRSA Board of Commissioners was intending to have the ratepayers bear the full financial burden of the project. Back in 2006-07 there was no Federal Stimulus Program and the acronym ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) had yet to be dreamt up.
With the advent of the Federal Stimulus Program, the ARRA came along and the BRSA, through some unseemly action on its part, was able to obtainARRA funds to offset a significant part of this wind-to-energy project. In the BRSA official minutes of a meeting inApril 2010, in responding to a question from a citizen in attendance, the BRSA executive director stated that the reason for the BRSA to try to obtain ARRA funding was to reduce the financial burden on the ratepayers. This is very laudable, except for the fact that it highlights that the project would have gone forward, even without the ARRA funding, with the ratepayers having to bear the full cost.
This is where the math set forward above becomes very interesting. The approximate final cost of the whole windto energy project will be around $6.6 million dollars, and, as often touted by the BRSA, will reduce its electrical bill by approximately $400,000 per annum or approximately $19.00 per annum per ratepayer. To accomplish these savings the BRSABoard of Commissioners was, with all intent and purpose, going to saddle the ratepayers with $6.6 million of new debt, approximately $300 each, so that each ratepayer could realize a savings of $19.00 per annum. As per the above math, the gross numbers, although approximations, indicates that it would take 16.5 years before the BRSA ratepayers would realize a “real” return on their $6.6 million investment. Many turbines become non-productive by this time in their life.
An in depth cost/benefits analysis was never done for this $6.6 million project. Further, two highly respected firms just completed CBAfor the proposed inshore wind turbine project off the Atlantic City coast and both stated that that project was not viable all things considered. A quote from the Web page of the head of the NJDEP, “Our regulations and decisions need to be based on sound science, facts, and robust cost/benefit analysis.”
Charles E. Hoffman Jr.
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