Battig to Virginians: Be thankful offshore wind hasn’t taken off

“… former [Democrat] Gov. Tim Kaine’s 2007 energy plan lives on as part of [Republican] Gov. Bob McDonnell’s “all-of-the-above” 2010 Virginia Energy Plan.”

JunkScience.com friend and Virginia skeptic Charles Battig writes in the Richmond Times:

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As the year draws to a close, it is appropriate to look back and give thanks for our mixed blessings such as the recent Dominion Virginia Power (DVP) electric-rate determinations by the State Corporation Commission.

Consumers are thankful that a meager 10.9 percent will have to suffice as a DVP profit margin rather than the 12.5 percent requested. They should be thankful that the half-percentage-point incentive for meeting the state’s renewable energy target was not larger. This relic from former Gov. Tim Kaine’s 2007 energy plan lives on as part of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s “all-of-the-above” 2010 Virginia Energy Plan. Section 6 of that document is sprinkled with the language of government favoritism and distortions of the free-market process for energy. Renewable portfolio standards and renewable electric-generating facilities are matched with legislated “enhanced rates of return” to participating utilities. There is a biofuels production incentive fund and income tax credits for undefined green jobs. Grants are offered for manufacturers producing solar panels in Virginia (son of Solyndra?). The Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority stands ready to “assist development of an offshore wind industry in Virginia.”

Consumers can be thankful that the offshore wind industry has not taken off. The April 2011 Energy Information Administration’s levelized cost estimate for offshore wind is 25 cents per kWh, even more than solar at 22 cents per kWh. Traditional coal? 10 cents per kWh. Consumers would be on the hook to pay exorbitant energy costs to support politically favored industries.

Consumers should be thankful that current Republican members of Congress and some presidential candidates have seen the folly of governmental subsidies for energy. Crony capitalism is a dirty word these days. The political aspirations of McDonnell are burdened by “all-of-the-above” — just ask Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Charles Battig.

Ablemarle. [sic]

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