Looking Back: 2007-Wake up New Jersey before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Governor Corzine’s offshore windfarm

 Wake up New Jersey before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Governor Corzine’s offshore windfarm. The Governor is proposing to create a huge 80 unit windfarm capable of producing 350 megawatts of electricity in the waters off the south Jersey shore at an estimated present cost of 1.5 billion dollars. Last week New York cancelled plans for a smaller farm, of about 40 windmills, off of Jones beach because of rising cost estimates already over 700 million dollars for a project originally projected to cost about 200 million. New York officials were smart enough to recognize a financial black hole before they started it. Are New Jersey officials?

Our energy policy should first and foremost be about economics, while factoring into account the environmental effects both positive, and negative of the various types of energy production. Oil is supposed to be the cheapest energy source available, but the real cost of oil consumption should be measured in the lives that are lost on foreign battlefields to protect our so-called national interests. Add onto that the five hundred billion our military has spent in Iraq alone to provide Big oil with their record profits, and oil is not so cheap anymore. Biofuels are cost prohibitive without huge government subsidies, and are now causing large food price increases. Nuclear power while clean, has that little waste disposal problem that has not yet been solved, besides those antique units that still depend on estuarine waters for cooling and single handedly kill more marine life than the commercial and recreational fishing industries combined.

Wind power production while clean, its environmental effects on the marine ecosystem are unknown and the cost of a wind farm offshore is enormously more costly then a land based farm. Maintenance is also much higher on the ocean due to the harsh environment and the corrosive effects of salt water. A large European wind farm required helicopters to transport repairmen to the turbines when needed. Will we also need helicopters for simple repairs? What will be the real cost of building and maintaining this farm? Who will pay for it? [The energy company customers, YOU]. Remember the BRAC and how costs have escalated out of sight, this wind farm will do the same thing, and taxpayers, and ratepayers will foot the bill.

I realize the governor is a financial genius but lets do some math. 80 offshore windmills will produce 350 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25,000 homes. This will cost at least one and a half billion dollars and probably twice that when all is said and done. By comparison for one and a half billion dollars, solar panels could be placed on 37,500 homes, figuring a average cost of 40,000 dollars per home, [ which should decrease as more production comes on line]. Most importantly the solar panels will produce the most energy when we need it , during the peak summer months, while
the windmills will sit idle producing most of their power in the fall, winter, and spring.

The energy produced by solar power is more valuable than wind power due to its being produced during the critical peak summer season. And guess what? Those 37,500 homeowners, will, after the initial cost of installation is paid, be faced with electric bills amounting to little or nothing at all. Sometimes the electric company will have to pay them when the panels produce more electric then the household uses. So what’s wrong with this picture?

The government and energy monopolies do not want individual citizens producing their own power. If all houses had solar panels, who would need electric utilities? If there were no electric utilities, who would replace all those large campaign contributions? In these days of hard financial times our state and federal governments need to invest taxpayer dollars wiser then they have, [that shouldn’t be too hard]. Alternative energy sources are needed, but they must realistically make financial sense. Windmills on land are border line cost effective and that’s only because of energy subsidies.

Windmills in the north Atlantic will never come close to recovering their cost. It’s a total scam, if something doesn’t make financial sense, then we should be looking at who will benefit from their construction. New Jersey citizens will not benefit from this ocean windfarm, electric costs will rise because of it. Someone needs to follow the money to see who exactly will benefit.

In the meantime lets build windmill farms where they are most economical. The most wind in this country is generated at our state and federal capitals, therefore we should surround each one of them with windfarms to take advantage of all the hot air. Our state and federal government’s should start a Manhattan project to fully realize the potential of solar power, and free our citizens from the utilities monopoly. Lastly, Governor Corzine needs to put solar panels where the sun shines, and windmills where it doesn’t!

Jim Lovgren