Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Bedford May Buy Wind Energy for Less Than Many States Pay for Dirty Coal Power

Hingham (oops) 2/19/11UPDATE 4/25: The New Bedford City Council briefly threatened to turn an easy touchdown into a fumble, but they managed to approve the contract.

A proposed wind power contract for New Bedford isn't just feel-good - it's look-at-this-giant-pile-of-money-we're-saving-taxpayers.

As Ariel Wittenberg reports in the Standard-Times, the New Bedford City Council will soon consider a proposal to buy power from a planned wind farm in Plymouth after a subcommittee approved the plan that would save the city somewhere around 30 percent on energy costs:
The proposal, made by Mayor Jon Mitchell's office, would enter the city into a power purchase agreement with Future Generation Wind LLC to buy wind-generated electricity at 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 20 years. [...]

Scott Durkee, director of the city's energy office, noted that the power purchase agreement will also save the city money. Currently, he said, the city's lowest costing energy contracts are 11 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour, with the city paying closer to 15 to 17 cents per kilowatt hour on most contracts. Signing with Future Generation LLC is predicted to save New Bedford upwards of $20 million over the life of the contract.

Additionally, Future Generation LLC is offering to pay the city $250,000 in a sort of signing bonus meant to help further New Bedford's efforts to become a premier port for offshore wind. Future Generation owner Keith Mann said he is also considering using New Bedford as the receiving port for his turbines.
It's hard to overstate what a bargain this is - the best energy at the lowest price.

For some context, 28 states paid more than 10.8 cents is About per kilowatt hour for their electricity in February. And most of those states were sending the money out of state to buy coal and natural gas that polluted their air and added fuel to our climate crisis.

On top of all the benefits of cleaner air and climate protection, an extra million dollars a year is a huge deal in a city whose entire budget for FY2014 is $263 million. That's an extra dozen or more police officers or teachers or city bus drivers. And on top of that, New Bedford businesses would get the boost from turbine construction.
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