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Gov. Patrick’s energy policy driven by flawed ideology

If you happen to notice a massive wind farm sprout up near where you live, don’t be too surprised when a correspondingly large price hike ends up on your utilities bill. Some Massachusetts residents have already been forced to face increased prices for their electricity– and they have the green-energy movement as enforced by Deval Patrick to thank.

The premier example is the Princeton Municipal Light Company, who’s decision to turn towards “green” energy has exacted a toll on those who rely on the municipal company for efficient, inexpensive, and reliable power. At $124.80 per KW/hour The Princeton Municipal Light Company charges the highest rate of any energy provider in Massachusetts. Not coincidentally, Princeton also derives a relatively large proportion of its electricity from sources commonly referred to as “clean”; 31% from wind and 18% from hydroelectricity.

The two windmills mortgaged with public money in 2006 have accrued a $2 million loss, despite the small number of constituents, increased prices, and tax credits and subsidies handed out generously by the current federal government to anything that appears to be environmentally friendly.

The wind power experiment in Princeton has been an unmitigated failure.
But you wouldn’t be able to discern that from our governors jovial tone on the subject. In fact, Gov. Patrick led the state government into dumping $3.8 million into a wind farm in Holden, MA. The Hoosac wind farm, which opened this past December, is being advertised as a guaranteed profit for investors, despite the lackluster performance of green energy ventures in the past.

Wind energy is not a wholly useless idea. Area with wide open plains and yawning open spaces are suitable for the scale necessary to efficiently generate energy through wind. The great plains of the Midwest, not the densely populated shorelines of the northeast, are suited for wind turbines.
The losses experienced by wind power plants in Massachusetts, the failure of federally invested solar companies like Solyndra, and the general inability of any purportedly green energy source to gain traction is evidence that traditional forms of energy are still the wisest and most efficient choice.

What is clear is that those in the “green energy” movement are more concerned with pleasing lobbyists that pursuing helpful policies. Alarmism over global warming, fear-mongering about depleted oil reserves, and other coercive measures have driven many to believe that the discovery of some alternative source of energy to petroleum is imperative to the survival of the human race.

This is a flawed notion for a number of reasons, but one that has nonetheless gained clout in important political circles. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy for the Obama Administration, stated publicly that he would welcome a drastic increase in gas prices, if only to encourage people to search for alternative energy sources. What this would mean in practice is a higher cost of living for everyone, since transportation costs are included in the price of any good.

In fact, the safest and most promising development in the energy sector, that of nuclear power, has been shunned by the environmentalists who cite irrational fears based on discrete incidents in the past. Wind turbines may be safer in that they will never result in a catastrophe like Three Mile Island, but their increased costs can hardly be said to adequately reflect the statistically negligible amount of additional safety they provide.

Even proponents of anthropogenic global warming, which itself is no scientific slam-dunk, agree that carbon emissions released into the air at any given point affect the earth’s atmosphere approximately one hundred years after they are first emitted. Given this, isn’t it a bit more plausible to focus of the well-being of those on earth today instead of working to avert an imagionary crisis that we may in fact have no control over?

“Wind energy has so much potential, and the completion of this project will be a big step forward in reducing our reliance on volatile, foreign fossil fuels,” boasted Gov. Patrick this past December upon the completion of the Hoosac turbines. If wind energy does indeed have such potential, it should not be reliant upon the government for its business. Until wind energy, or any new source of energy, can exist without government intervention, it is obviously not suitable for popular consumption.