Willem Post: small scale wind power costs in Vermont, explode for ratepayers

The only way to understand whether economics of wind power really deliver benefits is to analyze the underlying costs. Here is Willem Post’s analysis of small scale wind power facilities that are being advocated for Vermont. One can apply the same reasoning to Vinalhaven and other locations in Maine, where the benefits of wind power are misrepresented:

“Rep. Oliver Olsen, R-Londonderry, launched a hue and cry over what he
deemed a regressive tax proposal designed to subsidize renewable
investors who receive subsidies through the Clean Energy Development

The cost of the SPEED program for projects 2.2 MW or less, appears to
be on auto-pilot and is about to balloon, based on a spreadsheet
analysis of published state data.The ballooning cost, plus the cost of grid modifications, will significantly increase the electric rates of already-stressed households and businesses.


Using the CEDF to subsidize politically-favored, expensive,
tax-sheltered SPEED projects (mostly owned by millionaires), that
produce RE energy at 3.5 times grid prices, will cause the ballooning
to accelerate.

Solar project owners getting 30% federal cash up front, plus CEDF
subsidy, plus accelerated write-offs, plus a 30 c/kWh feed-in-tariff,
amounts to a license to evade taxes and to print money, at the expense
of all others.

Vermont aims to have 20% of retail consumption from RE by 2017 = 0.2 x
5,554,500,000 kWh/yr = 1,110,900,000 kWh/yr

Assume 30% of it is produced by SPEED projects 2.2 MW or less =
333,270,000 kWh/yr

The actual excess costs = (avg annual cost of SPEED RE – avg annual
grid price) x annual production were:

2010, $506,871
2011, $2,204,334
2012, $3,423,473

The projected costs are:

2013, $5,862,804
2014, $10,036,478
2015, $17,175,205
2016, $29,381,491
2017, $50,246,975

These amounts will be rolled into electric rates, plus the excess costs
of the SPEED projects greater than 2.2 MW, such as Sheffield, Lowell,
etc., that will supply a total of 777,630,000 kWh/yr by 2017.


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