It appears that serious and widespread errors were made in the state Department of Environmental Management’s testimony purporting the environmental benefits of Deepwater Wind.
It is difficult to find much validity in the analysis. The reality that these errors went undetected indicates a lack of scrutiny that is deeply troubling. The DEM used outdated air emissions data instead of the most recent data available at that time. This had the effect of greatly overstating environmental benefits. In some cases, the error approaches 90 percent.
Even more troubling is a fundamental lack of understanding of how utilities purchase energy. The DEM incorrectly assumed that Block Island Power Company would buy its power from Deepwater Wind, when in reality the power company will be buying from the New England power grid. Block Island Power Company’s use of generation capacity is so inefficient that it is highly likely they will be purchasing some of the dirtiest and/or most expensive electricity on the market.
National Grid will be buying all the energy from Deepwater Wind, resulting in an estimated $420 million dollars being transferred from the ratepayers to the hedge fund owners of Deepwater Wind. The sirens of Wall Street free money is the reality of the millions of dollars that will leave this state to pay for that free money.
It is time for the state legislature to take another lesson from 38 Studios and not repeat the mistake of forcing this very expensive project with such questionable benefits upon the citizens of Rhode Island. By placing itself between independent analysis and its results, the legislature has demeaned the reputation of state regulatory agencies and caused increased doubts about the fairness of the processes that come before the legislature. I ask that the legislature re-examine the benefits and costs of this project and reject this project. It’s a bad contract for Rhode Islanders.
The author is a member of the New Shoreham Town Council.
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