New York’s RE Debacle Deepens: Offshore Wind Power All-at-Sea Without Massive Subsidies

Where the cost of onshore wind power is staggering, the cost of offshore wind power is astronomical. Of course, in either case, in the absence of massive and perpetual subsidies, there would never have been a single turbine constructed on land or at sea, ever, period.

New York State’ Governor, Andrew Cuomo is just the latest in a long line of politicians in bed with crony capitalists the wind and solar ‘industries’. His obsession with wind power is sending New York’s power prices into orbit.

And his plan to spear thousands of turbines off the New Jersey coast has incensed local fishermen who are literally told developers to get f*%#@d: Deepwater in Deep Trouble: Fishermen Tell Off-Shore Wind Farm Developers to F@*#K Off

The kind of character that opposes wind turbines in their own backyard – always prefacing their lukewarm and self-interested opposition with the phrase “I’m all in favour of renewables, but… – when staring down developers ready to wreck their little patch of paradise often finishes their ‘argument’ by blurting out “well, why don’t they just stick them out at sea?!”

Well, there’s a reason that they prefer to plant them in some dimwit’s back paddock that’s suitably close to transmission grids: it’s called money.

The cost of building onshore wind capacity is around $900,000-$1,000,000 per MW, depending on topography, geology and the complexity of the turbine bases dictated by the former.

The cost of doing so offshore is multiples greater, depending on the distance from shore and the costs of establishing transmission infrastructure, depth of the ocean and the composition of the ocean floor etc, which dictate the type of anchors or bases required.

Off the New Jersey coast, the figure is over $5 million per MW of capacity, as Robert Bryce explains below.

As with anything done by wind and solar industries, any increase in the cost of doing business is immediately sheeted home to power consumers and/or taxpayers.

In this case the staggering cost of going offshore will be suffered by New Yorkers, while their Governor is only too willing to oblige his wind developer buddies and to leave his constituents liable for a whopping bill.

Consumers are going to lose in Cuomo’s bet on wind energy
New York Post
Robert Bryce
26 July 2018

During his successful 1932 run for the White House, New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned hard on the issue of electricity affordability.

In a speech in Portland, Ore., he told voters that as governor, he had made sure that the New York Public Service Commission was acting “as an agent of the public.” Because electric utilities are monopolies, government’s job was to ensure consumers get a “fair deal” — “adequate service and reasonable rates.”

Alas, under Gov. Cuomo — who’s lining up his own bid for the White House — the Public Service Commission is doing the exact opposite. On July 12, the commission issued a 66-page order that requires the state’s electric utilities to subsidize the development of offshore wind, one of the most expensive methods of producing electricity.

The same day, Cuomo put out a splashy press release touting his desire to “jumpstart” New York’s nonexistent offshore wind industry. The governor wants the state to have 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

But offshore wind is so expensive that investors won’t put a toe in the water without government subsidies. As first reported by the Empire Center’s Ken Girardin, the Public Service Commission obliged those water-shy investors by ordering the state’s electric utilities to “invest in new offshore renewable generation resources to serve their retail customers.”

For some perspective on offshore wind, it’s instructive to consider what executives at NextEra Energy, the world’s biggest wind-energy producer, have said about it.

In April, NextEra CEO Jim Robo said offshore wind is “terrible energy policy” and “bad business.” Last year, a different executive at NextEra (which, by the way, has collected some $7.8 billion in tax subsidies since 2008), told analysts it’s “not good for customers to be doing offshore wind relative to solar or onshore wind.” He continued, “to say that we are not fans would be an understatement.”

Cuomo’s plan, which is adamantly opposed by commercial fishing groups, will require covering hundreds of square miles of some of the most heavily fished and navigated waters on the Eastern Seaboard with hundreds of wind turbines.

The potential environmental damage to offshore fisheries — as well as the potential navigation hazard — is obvious. So, too, is the likely cost to ratepayers.

In January, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority estimated that building the first 800 megawatts of offshore wind will cost about $4.3 billion, or about $5.4 million per megawatt.

Those stratospheric installation costs will mean higher electricity prices. The Energy Information Administration recently estimated that by 2022, offshore wind turbines will likely be producing electricity for about $138 per megawatt-hour.

For comparison, last year, the average wholesale price of electricity in New York was $35.56. That means the energy from Cuomo’s offshore projects will cost nearly four times as much as the electricity now being sold in the state. That’s bad news for New York consumers, who are already paying 40 percent more for their electricity than the US average.

Girardin estimated the plan’s cost to New York ratepayers will likely be about $392 million per year. That works out to about $20 per year for every New Yorker, and that’s just the cost for the first 800 megawatts of offshore capacity. Cuomo wants three times that much.

Even if Cuomo’s dream of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind becomes a reality, that much capacity won’t even replace the amount of juice now being produced by the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, a plant Cuomo pushed to shutter.

The twin-reactor facility on the Hudson River provides about 25 percent of all the electricity consumed in New York City. What will replace Indian Point if it closes as scheduled in 2021? According to the New York Independent System Operator, it will be replaced by electricity from three natural-gas-fired plants.

In short, rather than reduce New York’s reliance on hydrocarbons, Cuomo’s anti-nuclear, pro-renewable agenda is actually increasing the state’s reliance on natural gas, and therefore increasing the likelihood that greenhouse-gas emissions will increase alongside electricity prices.

One thing’s clear: Gov. Cuomo, you are no Franklin Roosevelt.
New York Post

Cuomo sends turbines offshore and power prices into orbit.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. But…but… Renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, and getting cheaper….I know because some politicians and greenies and ‘their ABC’ are constantly telling me so!

    It’s amazing that this ‘con’ has gone on for so long.
    I think that what Australia should have done is isolated South Australia and let them go on their merry RE way. That appears to be the only way that the idiots in power will understand that renewables just can’t do the job! Now we have all these interconnectors between the states and we are all subject to the whims of RE.

    Bloody idiots!

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