March 28, 2016
Dear Mr. Rattray:
“Swell of Support Buoys Wind Project” immediately reminded me of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” Mr. Walsh’s coverage of Deepwater Wind’s presentation immediately struck me that in 17 paragraphs not once was there any mention of cost. Surely, Deepwater’s Clint Plummer must have conveniently forgotten to mention that his company’s Rhode Island venture has a contract starting price of 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour, which is more than double what Rhode Island electric consumers currently pay. Why? Because of the almost $500 million costs of the project over 20 years in the contract between National Grid and Deepwater. So perhaps we need to ask, will this double our current electric bill?
There are other questions. In Rhode Island, Deepwater’s installation is “expected to supply more than 90 percent of Block Island’s electricity needs.” Now in case I missed something in my meteorology classes, the summer wind is not sufficient to run a wind turbine enough to meet the peak summer demand, especially on the hottest days of August, which, by the way, is when eastern Long Island has its peak load. So isn’t Deepwater actually saying buy power from us, we’ll charge you twice as much, but we can’t provide you with what you need when you need it most?
It seems to me that Mr. Plummer sounds like the “Music Man” character Harold Hill (played by Robert Preston), who swoops down on River City and convinces the town they need to buy musical instruments and uniforms from him to combat the evils of a local pool hall.
Preserving the environment is important. I’ve devoted over 45 years of my life to protecting it. Thinking globally and acting locally does not, however, mean doubling electricity costs for no gain when the electrical demand is at its greatest. Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and the entire town board get great credit in my book for being very pro-environment, but I urge them and the entire town to rethink Deepwater. Some things clothed in the garb of the environment are just bad ideas. It is sometimes easy to be deluded by a guy who comes to your town and tells you, “Ya got trouble here in River City. Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with E and that stands for environment.”
Maybe some of your readers remember that the Long Island Power Authority was set up by another Cuomo to help East Enders swallow a couple of billion dollars in capital energy costs that went awry. As such, I question the wisdom of overspending on one “green” energy, when others are available and in use that aren’t as costly.
So call me silly, but when I hear somebody talk about offshore wind farms without mentioning cost, I hear a song in my head.
“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade / With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand / Thundering, thundering louder than before. / Clarinets of ev’ry size / And trumpeters who’d improvise / A full octave higher than the score!”
Shirley Jones (Marian the Librarian), where are you when we need you most!
PAUL A. GIARDINA
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