Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Block Island Wind Would Cut Climate Pollution and Power Bills

I have an op-ed in this month's issue of WindCheck Magazine on a proposed wind farm off Rhode Island's Block Island:
Block Island has some of America’s best breezes, a natural resource that's lured sailors for generations. Now the community is on the verge of harnessing that resource in a new way with offshore wind energy.

One of those unique New England treasures, Block Island hits a perfect balance – close enough to the mainland to warrant a daysail, while its pace and landscape assure you that you’re on vacation. Yet somewhere along those 13 miles the price of your Mudslide, and everything else, managed to skyrocket. No one would expect bargain basement prices in a vacation paradise adjacent to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, but then you get to your hotel room and realize there’s no air conditioner. “If we put an air conditioner in your room, we’d have to double your rate,” the desk clerk tells me. “We pay some of the highest electricity prices anywhere in the country.”

While offshore wind energy is usually talked about as a higher-priced electricity source, on Block Island the five-turbine, 30 megawatt project proposed by Providence, RI-based Deepwater Wind will be a huge money saver. Americans pay an average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for their electricity and 15 cents per kilowatt hour in Rhode Island, but out on Block Island, thanks to the community’s antiquated and highly polluting diesel electricity generator, electricity averages an incredible 47 cents per kilowatt hour. Some hotels pay as much as $50,000 per month in electricity bills. Offshore wind is projected to save Block Island residents and businesses 42 percent on their electricity bills – even more when demand is high.
Read the whole thing at WindCheck Magazine.
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