Questions and criticism for Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski
Credit: Letters to the Editor, March 16, 2013 | The Block Island Times | block-island.villagesoup.com ~~
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Well it’s about time, Mr. Grybowski (Deepwater CEO), that you are feeling the need to be defensive. Reference is made to your Feb. 23 letter to the editor at the B.I. Times.
The communities here on Block Island and now in Narragansett are questioning your facts and motives from many angles, and it is certainly timely. Fact-checking has become central in our electoral process and needs to be here as well. An opposing voice is central to and encouraged in American culture. This is how fact-based opinions can be formed. And mine is firmly against you because of how much money you will be making off of Rhode Island unnecessarily and that a stand-alone cable can be financed by power ratepayers for a fraction of what you are preparing to impose on us.
You indicate that “only private sector funds are involved in this project.” You further state that you, at Deepwater, are “baffled why some would criticize investment in our state.” I will help you. The $9 million you indicated on March 6 at the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) application fee hearing as having been invested to build your wind farm off our shores so far are the seeds needed to give effect to your valuable Power Purchase Agreement with National Grid (the “PPA”, see www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185page.html). Your own company’s testimony in front of the RI Public Utilities Commission (PUC) indicates that the PPA will generate for you over $683 million in revenue and over $230 million in project level cashflow for your company after the cost of the windfarm’s construction. (see www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185-DWW-Moore (7-15-10).pdf). Moreover, if the project is operational, your company testified that your cashflows will include over $55 million you will receive from the federal government in tax credits paid to you in cash by the government or from tax investors you will sell the credits to…shortly after the first day that the first kilowatt of power is generated. All of these profits are possible because you are making ratepayers pay $400 million more for power from this wind farm than for other “green” power already available from National Grid and because you are receiving a huge payment derived from a federal government tax incentive.
So, while you may be investing a few million dollars now to pursue this windfarm, we know that it is because of the hundreds of millions of dollars that lay under our waters, all funded by the public paying excessively for power already available from other green sources and from government incentives. So, the suggestion that “only private sector funds are involved in this project” is decidedly false.
And, Mr. Grybowski, I query into how much of those hundreds of millions you and others at Deepwater, and your owners at D.E. Shaw and FirstWind, will personally receive through incentive stock options, variable compensation and other equity derivatives in Deepwater stock and that of your affiliates.
So, don’t fret the few dollars you currently have at risk. If this project does proceed, your hundreds of millions in profits will be safe, courtesy of the Rhode Island public and the federal government.
To the Editor:
We are writing in response to Jeff Grybowski’s recent letter in the B.I. Times. As CEO of Deepwater Wind, he defends the five-turbine windfarm his company plans for three miles off Block Island’s southeast corner. He attempts to address concerns recently raised, as new knowledge about Deepwater’s plans becomes available. He also misstates the level of residents’ support for the project.
His letter summons up the standard claims that have been used for years to make the windfarm sound attractive. B.I. electric rates are projected (though not guaranteed) to go down, and the island would gain the long-desired cable from the mainland that would obviate the need for diesel generation. Deepwater Wind is spending lots of money on the island right now, and they promise to take care of the mess when the turbines’ working years are over.
Nonetheless, many questions that have been raised about the windfarm remain unanswered, including:
Why do the turbines have to be located so near the island, risking sound and light pollution as well as marring the viewscape on which B.I.’s tourist industry depends?
Where is the Environmental Impact Statement by an impartial body, as contrasted to the company’s own public relations?
Where is the independent evaluation of the effect on electric rates?
Where will the cable come ashore on the mainland, and what will be the effects on beaches and neighborhoods there?
Why must the cable come ashore at the island’s most popular swimming beach, disrupting seasonal use for the duration of the constriction project?
Do the people of Rhode Island understand that they will be subsidizing this project to the tune of about half a billion dollars?
Were these questions to be honestly addressed, we believe the windfarm would lose a good deal of its appeal.
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