Classic: Energy company probably won’t be building the Virginia offshore wind-farm tract it leased until wind’s costs go down
posted at 7:31 pm on September 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Well, this is rich.
The Obama administration continues to dismiss out-of-hand even the faintest possibility of allowing for more offshore oil-and-gas development in the near future; their minds are intractably made up on that score, let the fact that oil and gas have been just about the only major economic success stories of the Obama presidency be damned. The administration has, however, been pretty darn excited about their plans to instead focus their efforts on leasing federal (i.e., taxpayers’) lands and waters to solar and wind companies to further support their very specific and ideologically-driven dreams of renewable energy development.
Virginia in particular would stand to benefit from increased offshore-drilling permitting, but I suppose the Obama administration felt they were providing plenty of solace by instead leasing over a hundred thousand acres off of the coast of Virginia for offshore wind development. The United States still doesn’t have a completed commercial offshore wind farm, you see, and wouldn’t it just be so exciting to be a major player in pioneering the path toward what the Obama administration has predetermined are the green jobs and energies of the future?
Dominion Virginia Power drew a lot of favorable publicity this month by leasing a patch of the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach to construct an offshore wind farm hailed as a clean-energy milestone for the state.
Too bad there’s good reason to believe Dominion will never build it.
Even as Dominion executives publicly stressed wind power’s potential, their statements and company documents showed they have no intention of building anything larger than a small, two-turbine offshore test project unless the costs come down. …
Dominion’s own 15-year projections, in its Integrated Resource Plan filed with the state, show Virginians getting no electric power from offshore wind.
“Actual construction of such facilities must await technological advances that would reduce costs,” the plan says.
Dominion maintains that they will be building more turbines eventually, but they’re banking on long-term research projects and innovations to bring prices significantly down first. The above WaPo columnist Robert McCartney goes on to criticize Dominion’s cost-benefit analysis as lacking long-term vision: “It looks only at the costs in dollars and cents. By that measure, admittedly, offshore wind is currently about three times as expensive as natural gas.” …Uhm, how dare they? What?
Despite two decades’ worth of relentless subsidization and positive PR from the federal government, wind fails time and time again to demonstrate a cost-effective, reliable, or practical electricity substitute. Perhaps, instead of throwing taxpayer money around on more wishful wind subsidies, the Obama administration should stop actively blocking the proven routes to energy and economic prosperity — because a robust economy is the only thing that will ever lead to the increased efficiencies, innovations, and alternative technologies for which the eco-lobby claims it is so desperately pining.