Virginia Wind Power Fiasco in the Making

by Lewis Loflin

Dominion and BP Wind announced they are considering sites in Wise and Tazewell Counties Virginia for wind farms. Del. Terry Kilgore, a Republican from Gate City is supporting the effort. They don't know if any jobs will come from this endeavor and the exact size of each project and economic benefits are unknown. Most likely that wind farm could be located in Tazewell County, where BP Wind Energy bought about 2,560 acres of land. (Extract BHC January 28, 2009)

To quote Dominion,

Dominion (NYSE:D) and BP Wind Energy North America Inc. announced today that they are evaluating wind energy projects in Tazewell County, Va. and Wise County, Va. These potential wind facilities represent the first projects announced since Dominion and BP said in April 2008 that they had entered into an agreement to jointly own, operate and develop wind energy projects in Virginia. Both projects would be subject to all applicable local, state and federal permits and approvals...These potential wind farms in Tazewell and Wise counties would be developed by Dominion's Virginia electric utility subsidiary and BP Wind Energy North America Inc.

Dominion is already (January 2009) building a $1.8 billion power plant in Wise County, largely to meet the energy needs of northern Virginia. Numerous environmental groups have tried to fight its construction. But why are they doing something that will lose money, destroy thousands of acres of forest, and simply be charged back to consumers already suffering from high power bills? To quote,

North Carolina has taken a harder line on renewables than its neighbor, passing a mandatory standard that utilities must provide 12.5 percent of their electricity from green sources by 2021. Virginia instead adopted a voluntary goal that 12 percent of electric sales should stem from renewable sources by 2022. Congress last week mulled the same issue. A national energy bill that passed the House included a mandatory 15 percent renewable requirement by 2020. But the Senate blocked the bill Thursday , then approved a different measure later that day - minus the 15 percent mandate Dominion opposed the national standard, arguing that a state-by-state approach to renewable energy is better...

The following is an extract from America can't afford Obama's green fantasy Kingsport Times-News February 6, 2009

Obama's green agenda imposes a whole raft of new taxes, in the form of government subsidies, on the consumption of energy in every form. These taxes, in turn, are to be used to greatly expand the role of government while restricting individual choices in what should be a free marketplace. It is a massive transfer of wealth and power away from the private sector to Washington's political class...

According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2007, government subsidies for natural gas were 0.25 cents per megawatt hour. Coal received a subsidy of 0.44 cents per megawatt hour. By contrast, the government subsidy for wind power worked out to $23.37 per megawatt hour and solar power's subsidy was $24.34 per megawatt hour. But the vast difference in subsidies versus power produced is only part of the picture.

Coal and natural gas are what the energy industry refers to as base load power sources - that is, the electric power produced from a plant utilizing natural gas or coal is constant. Alternative energy sources aren't constant...these alternative energy sources can only be used - at best - to augment traditional base load power plants...even if a previously unknown source of completely free, base load energy were suddenly discovered tomorrow, the president couldn't possibly allow it to come to market because it would deprive him of the spurious "new" green jobs made possible by overtaxing the American public for energy.

Government doesn't create wealth. The government only creates the illusion of a job - green or otherwise - by taking resources from one group of people and giving them to another group. Unfortunately, however, a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. So it is with the many green constituencies currently crowding around the federal pork barrel...

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