In my opinion, comments made in the May 10 edition of the Jamestown Press were very contradictory because the author did not apply his own source requirement to his writing. Much like the town, in his piece, the author promotes nonmeasurable benefits, vague costs, refuses to address liabilities to taxpayers and strongly suggests that we overlook the pending visual pollution of a wind turbine generator at Taylor Point.
The Jamestown Press has echoed a number of times that the proposed turbine at Taylor Point is comparable to the one at the Portsmouth High School. Even if we use its best fiscal year, Jamestowners can use empirical data on the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee website to make real decisions using this cost and revenue information. To summarize this report: Portsmouth was given a turbine for a firm fixed price of $3 million, has debt service expenses of next to nothing or $32,000, and does not have the $2 million interconnect cost like Jamestown.
I was dazzled by the Enron accounting in this report and impressed, at first, that the EDC wrote checks to the Portsmouth School Department and the town for $178,000 and $80,000, respectively. Unfortunately, this net profit is trumpeted before the Portsmouth taxpayers paid the yearly $204,000 bond, and the operations and maintenance costs upwards from $55,000. Even using government accounting, one can deduct that this project does not pay for itself.
The outstanding question I have for the Jamestown Town Council: How does this project expect to pay for itself when Jamestown purchases this turbine at two times the cost of Portsmouth on a unit that cannot break even and does not have interconnect costs?
The Fort Getty pavilion aside, perhaps I wrongly underestimate the town’s contract negotiation skills. Is it possible that the town could out-maneuver and place a greater proportion of this project’s risk onto a potential wind energy company?
It is the costs we know, the lack of zoning governance, and unknown costs for emergency equipment and training needed to support this structure that should make this a no-go project. To think of the millions of dollars of taxpayer money wasted in the spirit of open-space preservation, to then have the town erect this monument of visual pollution and its supporting industrial components, sadly dissecting this open space.
A dichotomy – not only due to the various claims it rights the wrongs of dirty energy, but also because of its dubious profits. It goes without saying that we should be good stewards of our environment: But at what costs? The answer is at the expense of the town and school budget for years to come. It is neither green nor is it feasible.
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