We’ve written before (see here and here) about the costs of trying to create “green jobs.” The problem, ultimately, is that it’s really expensive for the government to make energy sources that simply aren’t efficient on their own attractive enough to compete with coal, oil and natural gas. Today the Wall Street Journal highlights just how much Massachusetts residents are going to have to pay for the latest triumph in the green energy revolution:
On Monday, Cape Wind asked state regulators to approve a 15-year purchasing contract with the utility company National Grid at 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour, starting in 2013 and rising at 3.5% annually thereafter. Consumers pay around nine cents for conventional power today. The companies expect average electric bills to jump by about $1.59 a month, because electricity is electricity no matter how it is generated, and Cape Wind’s 130 turbines will generate so little of it in the scheme of the overall New England market.
Still, that works out to roughly $443 million in new energy costs, and that doesn’t count the federal subsidies that Cape Wind will receive from national taxpayers. It does, however, include the extra 6.1 cents per kilowatt hour that Massachusetts utilities are mandated to pay for wind, solar and the like under a 2008 state law called the Green Communities Act. Also under that law, at least 15% of power company portfolios must come from renewable sources by 2020.
The editorial concludes by pointing out that opponents of the project are using a bunch of claims that it violates other environmental laws to try to bring it down. The WSJ argues: “given that taxpayers will be required to pay to build Cape Wind and then required to buy its product at prices twice normal rates, opponents might have more success if they simply pointed out what a lousy deal it is.”