An ill wind in New Jersey

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Since his election, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has been remarkably successful in dealing with the Democrat controlled state legislature and has rocketed to national fame for simply being the real deal when it comes to conservative politics and policies.

That is, until he signed a bill on August 19 that one columnist described as touting “the idea of raising your electric rates to place windmills in the ocean off New Jersey.” In this case the windmill would be 75 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty! None of the residents of Union Beach want a windmill no matter how far out in the Atlantic it’s built.

So-called alternative or renewable energy is always far more expensive than the kind generated by nuclear or coal-fired plants.

It is always more unreliable insofar as the wind does not blow all the time, thus requiring a traditional plant to be online to back up those ugly insults to the natural beauty of land and sea when they fail to feed the grid.

Few people know that, even without wind, the windmills must be kept turning, using electricity to avoid mechanical failures.

Gov. Christie signed a bill that would put the windmill so far out at sea it could not be seen from the land, but that ignores the fact that it will cost taxpayers $7 million to construct it, half of which will be paid by a federal grant, and the result will be an increase in consumer rates. Why would any sensible person want to spend that kind of money on a single windmill?

Part of the answer is something called the Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) that the U.S. Senate is contemplating. As Dr. S. Fred Singer noted in an August American Thinker.com commentary, “It would force electric utilities to generate a large and increasing percentage of their power from wind and solar—rising to 15% by 2021.” In other words, the U.S. Senate is about to select winners and losers in the energy marketplace by requiring utilities to use expensive and inefficient wind and solar power.

If wind and solar were so wonderful, why can’t either of these energy producers even exist without a federal mandate?

Just as Obamacare is already causing insurance rates to skyrocket, so will the implementation of Renewable Electricity Standards.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), only 700 MW (megawatts) were added to the nation’s electricity grid in the second quarter of 2010 and wind power installation to date this year has dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels.

Little wonder AWEA is “calling on Congress with an urgent appeal to put in place a strong national renewable electricity standard to spur demand for renewable energy…”

Spur demand? That’s not going to happen without the coercion of federal intervention.

No one except the manufacturers and owners of the windmills like windmills. This includes environmentalists! In June environmental and watchdog groups filed a lawsuit in Boston to stop a windmill farm off Cape Cod charging that it would violate federal law by endangering protected migratory birds. The suit says that “science was manipulated and suppressed for political reasons.”

I do not know how long it will take to ultimately return this nation to the sanity of producing electricity with cheap, abundant coal, with natural gas or, best of all, with nuclear plants, but unless we do that the nation can look forward to rolling brownouts and blackouts because the population keeps growing and the need for more electricity increases with them.

 

Alan Caruba, a CFACT adjunct policy analst, writes a daily blog at factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

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About the Author: Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba, a CFACT adjunct policy analyst, writes a daily blog at factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.