Wind costs will blow north

by Ken Girardin |  July 16, 2018 | NY Torch

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Upstate New York ratepayers will pick up more than half the multi-billion-dollar tab for a massive offshore wind turbine project that will provide very costly power for Long Island and New York City.

On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced actions to “jumpstart” the offshore wind industry in New York after his appointees at the state Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered “procurements” of offshore wind. But the governor’s press release doesn’t mention who must pay for them.

Generating electricity with offshore wind turbines, a priority for Governor Cuomo, isn’t profitable under current market conditions. Even as the industry has matured overseas and costs have dropped, offshore wind remains the most expensive type of renewable energy available. Any effort to “jumpstart” offshore wind in New York will cost a considerable sum.

The PSC’s 66-page order included this important line:

Every Load Serving Entity (LSE) in New York State shall invest in new offshore renewable generation resources to serve their retail customers, as described in the body of this order and evidenced by the procurement from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) of qualifying ORECs, acquired in quantities that satisfy mandatory minimum percentage proportions of the total load served by the LSE for the applicable calendar year.

Translation: the PSC is ordering electric utilities (and other entity buying power from the grid) to purchase “offshore renewable energy credits” (ORECs) based on how much power the utility was handling—the way the state’s nuclear and renewable mandates work now.

The proceeds will then be used by NYSERDA, the state’s Cuomo-controlled energy outfit, to pay a handpicked company to build and run about 80 wind turbines in one of two areas south of New York City and Long Island (see map below). The project would have a nameplate capacity of 800 megawatts (MW), meaning it will generate 800 MW under optimal conditions. However, wind speeds that are too low (or too high) result in turbines generating less power, and offshore wind projects tend to generate the equivalent of 43 percent of capacity over the course of a year. An 800 MW project would produce electricity equivalent to 4 percent of last year’s combined demand in New York City and Long Island.

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This means ratepayers as far away as Buffalo, Ogdensburg and Plattsburgh will pay inflated electricity prices as utilities are forced to boost rates and surrender the proceeds to state officials.

In fact, 53 percent of the funding would come from ratepayers north of New York City, based on total electricity use in each of the state’s 11 zones during 2017.

How much?

The exact cost likely won’t be known until the PSC and NYSERDA decide exactly how the subsidies will be paid (i.e., the duration of the contract between NYSERDA and a developer), but Maryland officials recently approved a similar price scheme that gives an idea of what’s in store for New York ratepayers.

There, wind developers building a pair of wind farms east of Ocean City will get $131.93 for each megawatt-hour generated over 20 years, on top of whatever they make by selling their power. By comparison, the average wholesale cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity in New York state last year was $36.56.

If the New York projects fetch the same subsidy as those in Maryland, the annual cost to ratepayers will be $392 million. Over 20 years, that will come to $7.8 billion, with $4.2 billion coming from ratepayers north of New York City.

And despite the industry maturing and costs decreasing, there’s reason to believe New York’s OREC price could be even higher. Cuomo (and the PSC) have signaled that contractors will be subject to the state’s prevailing wage—a bid to steer work to the governor’s political allies in the building trades. While Maryland had a similar mandate, New York’s prevailing wage is considerably higher because the state Labor Department imposes union-set terms instead of performing a wage calculation itself. For example, for a structural ironworker, the prevailing wage in New York City is more than triple that of Maryland’s Worcester County when fringe benefits are included.

The Maryland projects will place turbines between 12 and 21 miles from shore, but New York’s sites under consideration would be at least 21 miles from shore. This increases construction and operation costs and also reduces the amount of energy that reaches the mainland since more electricity is lost to heat as it is transmitted over greater distances.

The PSC, in its order, estimated New York’s project cost “will range between a $1.1 billion benefit and a $2.7 billion cost at net present value.” But that estimate includes the PSC’s “carbon benefit” calculations, meaning that instead of looking at the total amount by which electric bills will increase, the PSC factors in societal benefits for the world population at large from each ton of carbon dioxide that isn’t emitted as a result. NYSERDA in January estimated that the capital costs of building an 800 MW offshore wind project and connecting it to the mainland would reach $4.3 billion (see table 8, page 75), followed by $109 million in annual operating costs.

A smaller project under development off Long Island is less analogous, but would hint at an even higher cost. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) will pay developer Deepwater $1.62 billion over 20 years for power generated by 15 wind turbines south of Rhode Island, totaling 90 MW capacity. Deepwater isn’t subject to prevailing wage, but the turbines are farther from land than those in Maryland.

That works out to about $240 per megawatt-hour, or about $200 on top of what the owner can expect recoup for each megawatt-hour sold on Long Island. An OREC price that high would push the ratepayer expense to $12 billion, with upstaters paying $6.4 billion.

Regardless of the ultimate cost, the bulk of it will be borne by ratepayers north of New York City because the PSC is mandating OREC purchases based on the load that a load-serving entity draws from the grid. Cuomo could, alternatively, set up a funding mechanism akin to the MTA tax, which collects money from users based on where they live—but that would require legislative approval. One motivation behind using the PSC to implement energy policy has been to avoid legislative oversight—or having to sign a massive tax increase during an election year.

Another green blunder

The Cuomo administration’s focus on offshore wind is the latest symptom of a ham-handed renewable energy agenda so clumsy it’s actually caused at least one renewable plant to close its doors and has had to slash its goals as much as 94 percent.

The state’s banner renewable program, the Clean Energy Standard, heaped arbitrary rules on the energy sector that disqualified what was arguably the most attractive form of renewable energy (Quebecois hydroelectric power) because it would have edged out the more “sexy” renewable projects—such as offshore wind, which is propelled in no small part by a degree of fetishization in political circles.

The price tag isn’t the only obstacle for offshore wind. NIMBYism has thwarted any plans to build turbines within view of Long Island, and as Robert Bryce has noted, commercial fishermen will be adversely affected. And offshore wind would need to be backed up by energy storage or other generators in those instances when wind conditions cause decreased output.

At the end of the day, the state should be pursuing a generator-blind approach to renewables that rewards desired attributes—capacity and reliability—rather than cherry-picking individual companies (and unions) to do the work.



Public comment period ends on July 25.
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking stakeholder input to help the Commission decide whether it should revise its approach to permitting natural gas infrastructure projects. During the public comment period, FERC is considering input about its approach, evaluation and methodology for reviewing the projects that make access to reliable, domestic and affordable energy possible.

Knowing of your support for the energy industry, I am reaching out to ask that you TAKE ACTION to assist FERC in its decision-making process. We have created a process on our Action Center that makes it very easy for you to support the energy projects that promote economic growth, American jobs and a healthier environment. Please take a minute to click the button below and add your name to a petition that will be sent to the FERC.


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As always, thank you for your continued engagement to help make a difference in growing our natural gas network.


Mike Atchie

Gov. Cuomo continues to ban fracking in New York State. He blocks vital natural gas pipelines causing

New England to buy Russian LNG.
Could it be that Putin has made a campaign contribution to Cuomo's war chest?

Could this be a Cuomo-Putin Collusion?
JLC Pulse


CFACT billboard — Russia funneled cash to Greens to cripple energy

June 21, 2018

CFACT’s kicked off a new billboard on busy I-10 in Louisiana which reads, “Russia funneled Green groups millions of dollars to oppose fracking & cripple American energy,” and asks, “How’s that for COLLUSION?”

The billboard campaign was spearheaded by CFACT’s Graham Beduze and Adam Houser.

Russia wants to reduce and eliminate competition to its energy exports with the goal of keeping prices high and the world, particularly Europe, dependent on Russian energy.

What better allies could Putin find but the free world’s network of Green pressure groups?

Russia’s actions are well documented in a detailed report released by the U.S. House of Representatives this year.

You can read details about what Russia’s been up to at from CFACT scholars Bonner Cohen here and Paul Driessen here.

Read the full Congressional report on Russia’s collusion with the Greens at

Question:  Are Russia’s Green allies useful idiots, or willing partners in its anti-energy campaigns?


July 9, 2018

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Saturday morning 34,500 residents in Los Angeles lost their electric power, in the midst of a dangerous heat wave. The cause? Not enough electricity to power all those air conditioners. Last winter Massachusetts and New England came razor close to losing electric power for millions of residents during an extended cold snap that went on for weeks. The only thing that saved their bacon was firing up a bunch of 1960s oil burning power plants. And the very town where MDN editor Jim Willis lives (Windsor) in Upstate New York is about to embark on a project to stick 33 wind mills across thousands of acres–wind mills that are 60 stories high and will kill bald eagles living in the area. 

These three seemingly separate stories have one thing in common–each state is anti-fossil fuel. They all desperately need more electricity. And each state is heading for (or already in) brownouts and blackouts–because of its stubborn, obtuse, anti-fossil fuel political leaders who insist “renewables” will ride in to save the day. Each state is now going to reap what it has sown, and we will be there every step of the way to remind you that we’ve predicted it, for years…

California is in the process of stopping new fossil fuel extraction, and blocking new pipelines and gas-fired electric plants. They prefer to be “green” and install solar panels and windmills. This is what it gets you:

Thousands of Los Angeles residents were left without power Saturday morning after a heat wave prompted high electricity demand throughout the city.

“Friday’s record-setting heat led to unprecedented peak electricity demand,” according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). High demand caused power outages throughout city and left 34,500 customers in the dark — without fans or air conditioning.

The department said that figure accounts for about 2.5% of their 1.5 million customers.

Scorching heat has descended upon California and parts of the southwest after a heat wave swept across Canada earlier in the week, killing dozens in the province of Quebec, according to Canadian health officials.

Many areas in California on Friday broke their daily high temperature records, according to CNN meteorologists. Downtown Los Angeles reached a high of 108 degrees, breaking its previous daily record of 94 degrees, which was set in 1992.

UCLA also broke its previous daily temperature record, where thermometers read 111 degrees.

Since the start of the heat wave on Friday, LADWP has restored power to 14,500 customers, it said in a statement. But LADWP warned customers they should prepare to be without power for 12 to 24 hours, “and possibly even longer due to the high number of small localized outages.”

The peak energy demand level on Friday was 6,256 megawatts, LADWP said, a new record for a day in July, beating out the previous record of 6,165 megawatts, set on July 24, 2006.

LADWP also asked customers to reduce their electricity use throughout Saturday afternoon and into the evening.

“LADWP crews worked throughout the night to restore power and will work around the clock until every affected customer has service restored,” it added.

But according to CNN meteorologists, more daily high temperature records were expected to either be tied or broken on Saturday. Temperatures along the coast could reach up to 100 degrees, while those farther inland could see highs of up to 120 degrees.

More than 15 million people were under excessive heat warnings on Saturday throughout Southern California and Nevada. (1)

The following story (from May), which we previously highlighted, chronicles the scary situation in New England just a few short months ago:

As Maine and New England shivered through last winter’s historic cold spell, the region’s electric system faced an unprecedented prospect: rolling blackouts.

Several troubling circumstances were converging. Natural gas was scarce and pricey. A power line failure sidelined one of New England’s largest power plants. Solar panels were covered with snow and wind turbines were buffeted by storms.

The combination forced grid operators to ramp up 1960s-era technology to keep the lights on. For the first time, they strategically juggled the generating periods of aging oil-fired plants, which burned 2 million barrels of oil in the two weeks between Dec. 26 and Jan. 9. With sea ice and storms delaying deliveries, these plants only had 19 percent of their average inventories left when the weather finally eased. (2)

Next time, New England may not be so lucky. At some point, they will experience blackouts. They need more natural gas, but their own politicians, along with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, refuse to allow pipelines from the PA Marcellus just a few hundred miles away (see When Neighbors Go Bad: NY Forcing New England into Blackouts).

Massachusetts is one of the worst, with politicians adamantly opposed to pipelines that get buried in the ground and that no one ever sees. So what do Mass. politicians want instead? They want to hack apart 145 miles of wooded land located mostly in neighboring Maine, to install a new power line from Canada:

Massachusetts is again testing its northern neighbors’ willingness to help meet its growing need for electricity.

Central Maine Power Co. wants to build a $950 million, 145-mile transmission line deep in the Maine woods to import hydropower from Quebec. The project grabbed the spotlight earlier this year after a competing plan in New Hampshire ran into regulatory hurdles, and Massachusetts utilities looked east for another way to import Canadian power.

Now it is Maine’s turn to decide whether a slice of its forestland should be strung with wires to support another state’s energy supply. Thus far, the project is generating support in small towns eager for added tax revenue, but objections from some environmentalists and locals who question whether the impact is worthwhile.

“I don’t care who’s paying for it, you’re coming through our towns, you need to make sure we’re getting something from it,” said Tom Saviello, a Republican state senator in the region who is also a member of the board of selectman in a town the line would briefly cross.

The project, which Central Maine Power hopes to finish by the end of 2022, needs state-level approvals in Maine, clearance from the federal government and Massachusetts regulatory approval for a 20-year deal to buy power from Quebec. Some Maine towns claim they have some zoning authority over it as well, but either way, believe their input will prove valuable as regulators review the plan. (3)

Bloody bonkers! Hack up the woods for a power line instead of installing a pipeline in the ground where no one will see it.

Turning to New York, where fracking and new natgas pipelines are unofficially (but effectively) banned, we spotted the following story about a new wind mill farm going up not far from MDN HQ. We have nothing against our neighbors who want to cash in–but wind mills are UGLY. And LOUD. And they KILL BIRDS, including a growing local population of bald eagles. Instead of sticking 33, 60-story-tall windmills on 60 square miles (38,000 acres) that produces a tiny 124 megawatts of electricity, NY could build a single Marcellus-fired electric plant on 5 acres and produce 1,200 megawatts of electricity–for less cost. What a travesty.

Sponsors of a wind power project with 33 turbines proposed for eastern Broome County are now ready to proceed with the state’s lengthy regulatory review.

The 124-megawatt wind power generating facility — enough juice to supply an estimated 20,00 homes — would be erected on private land leased by Houston-based Calpine Corp. in the towns of Windsor and Sanford.

Bluestone Wind Energy, a unit of Calpine, submitted the first documents this week that will begin the state’s formal project review.

Although the general scope of the project was unveiled last year, Bluestone held off starting hearings before the state Public Service Commission while sponsors worked out lease arrangements with the landowners.

Turbines, some of which can reach nearly 600-feet in height from base to top tip of the blade, will be placed on hillsides spread across 38,000 acres — about 60 square miles — of rural parcels. Many of the turbines will be visible from Route 17.

In March, a Delaware Otsego Audubon Society survey indicated a large presence of bald and golden eagles throughout the project territory. The birds, they noted, could be affected by the project.

“The number of non-migrant eagles of both species was exceptionally high, considerably more than had been anticipated,” the group said in a report to the PSC.

Andy Mason of the regional Audubon Society, said his group is uncommitted on the project, awaiting the results of a similar survey conducted by sponsors.

“Seeing that many resident birds was a surprise to us,” Mason said.

In an ironic twist, some of the property owners in Windsor and Sanford gaining long-term leases from Bluestone were the same who won big money contracts for natural gas drilling in New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shale. Those now-expired natural gas leases lapsed when New York barred fracking four years ago.

New York is encouraging the development of renewable energy projects with incentives and tax credits under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to produce 50 percent of the state’s electric needs from sustainable sources by 2030.

A disclosure document indicates that land owners granting easements to access the towers or hosting the turbines will be paid between $2,500 and $30,000 annually by Calpine.

In terms of power generated, the planned wind farm will be among the larger projects in the state, although other projects for as much as 400 megawatts are also on the drawing board.

The closest existing wind farm is in Dutch Hill/Cohocton in Steuben County with 50 turbines, producing 125 megawatts of electricity. It came on line in 2008.

New York now has 17 commercial wind farms across upstate producing 1,739 megawatts of electricity — enough power to supply 285,000 homes — or about 4 percent of the state’s installed capacity, based on the most recent report from the New York Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric grid.

A second Calpine project — High Bridge Wind — is being proposed the Chenango County community of Guilford, where the company proposed a 100 megawatt wind farm employing 25 to 30 turbines. The company began initial outreach for that project last year, and started to execute leases early this year.

As a part of the Bluestone project, Calpine expects to build up to a four-mile electric transmission line to bring the wind-generated electricity into a 115-kilovolt line in Sanford to connect to the statewide grid.

Construction on the Windsor/Sanford project is scheduled to begin late 2019 or early 2020. (4)

The thing all three states–CA, MA and NY–have in common is this: They’re anti-fossil fuel. And now, they are (or soon will) experience blackouts because of their anti-fossil fuel folly.

(1) CNN (Jul 7, 2018) – Thousands without power in Los Angeles after high demand due to heat wave

(2) Portland (ME) Press Herald (May 20, 2018) – Cold snap tested reliability of region’s power grid and arguments against fossil fuels

(3) Wall Street Journal (Jul 6, 2018) – In Need of Electricity, Massachusetts Looks to the North—Again

(4) Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jul 6, 2018) – Sponsors preparing formal proposal to state PSC for 33 wind turbines in Broome County


June 26, 2018

Richardson's Statement on CA Judge’s Decision Re: Cities’ Frivolous ‘Climate Change’ Lawsuit

Washington, D.C.  - Craig Richardson, president of the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), issued the following statement in response to the U.S. District Court of Northern California’s decision to dismiss the lawsuits filed against energy companies by the Cities of Oakland and San Francisco:

"Environmental front groups for billionaires intent on taking over this country’s energy system have once again failed in their efforts to use the legal system to shake-down energy companies. Yesterday's U.S. District Court of Northern California ruling to dismiss these money-grab lawsuits filed by leftist mayors on behalf of the ‘green cabal’ was the right decision.
The courts in New York, Colorado, and elsewhere should follow this court’s lead and dismiss similar lawsuits pending in their jurisdictions.

Sadly, this is neither the first nor is it likely the last attempt by leftist activists to use the legal system in pursuit of their ‘green energy’ ponzi scheme. We saw similar tactics employed recently by disgraced former N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when he led a band of leftist attorneys general in a cash-grab effort against ExxonMobil. Our group discovered this dangerous and unprecedented legal scheme was funded by billionaire opportunist Tom Steyer and the Rockefeller Foundation. Each of these cases met a similar fate as those in California. They were either dismissed or withdrawn.

The court was right to weigh the positive contributions fossil fuels have made to our society. We are where we are today because of them.  These activists efforts to turn back the clock on human progress by ‘whatever means necessary’ tactics, including filing frivolous lawsuits, must be fought at every juncture."

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