An island resident asked if I could write a short letter regarding the misinformation that Deepwater and the town have put forth regarding energy and energy contracting for Block Island. There are many errors or omissions regarding the supposed benefits of this project. But, there are two fundamental errors with the power and economic analysis.
1) Block Island Power Company ratepayers will receive the equivalent of the standard offer afforded all National Grid customers. This is an incorrect understanding of power contracting for utilities in New England. BIPCo will contract for power through the Independent System Operator, ISO-NE, similar to a commodities market exchange for oil, gold, wheat, etc. BIPCo, the Public Utilities Commission and the town need to request pricing for BIPCo’s annual power/energy needs now to understand the energy savings. Deepwater even contacted Politifact to use this mistake to promote the project. It’s akin to me saying that I own a Saint Bernard even though I do not, and then have Politifact report as true, that Chris Warfel says that he owns a Saint Bernard. Repeating a misrepresentation, no matter how many times, does not make it correct.
2) Block Island will receive 90 percent of its energy from Deepwater. The mathematical function expressing wind energy production is very well known, and clearly Block Island will not physically receive the stated 90 percent of its electricity from Deepwater, and contractually will receive zero. Block Island’s peak energy season is when wind energy generation is at its lowest. Winter generation will not be magically stored somewhere and then sent back to Block Island in the summer.
Both these assumptions were integral to determining the so-called benefits of this project.
Why hasn’t the correct analysis been undertaken by our leadership? I suspect it would show that electricity savings are much less. But, is it really all about the money? If so, the town would have acted years ago to reduce its wasteful energy usage, and integrate green building standards and technology into its infrastructure. It was embarrassing to be at the Narragansett Town Council meeting two weeks ago and realize that because Block Island still has not gotten its energy and regulatory house in order, it has become a pawn in a project that is more greed energy than green energy and will remove up to $460 million from the Rhode Island economy and transfer it to the hedge funds that own Deepwater. Using Block Island’s indigenous resources is hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper than Deepwater. Looking at the town’s record, it is obvious something else is going on.
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