The Price of Green
The Rhode Island supreme court decided that Toray Plastics and Polytop Corp. have standing (decision here) to challenge the Public Utility Commission’s approval for Deepwater Wind to build a wind farm off of Block Island. Michael McElroy, lawyer for the companies, explains (in the dead-tree version of this morning’s ProJo) why this is important:
We’re pleased with the court’s decision to review the merits of the PUC’s majority approval of the purchase power agreement, especially in light of the fact that National GZrid has recently increased its estimate of the above-market costs of this project from $390 million to between $409 million and $415 million.
As Alex Kuffner of the Journal explains:
The estimates of the above-market costs increased because the cost of natural gas, which provides a third of New England’s power, has gone down because of increased supplies. The starting price in the Deepwater contract is 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour, more than three times the price that National Grid charges Rhode Island consumer through its standard offer rate.
So, to clear it up, the lower energy prices go, the more subsidy (ie; rate-payer’s money) will have to go towards keeping Deepwater Wind “viable.” What a great deal. Wind power is promising and should be tried where it is economically feasible. Massive subsidization on the backs of economically troubled Rhode Islanders is hardly the way to go. At least there’s still a chance (even if it’s a small one) that, thanks to these companies, Rhode Islander’s won’t be stuck with the higher bills.