American Lung Association of New England, Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, Ceres, Civil Society Institute, Clean Power Now, Conservation Law Foundation, E2, Environment Massachusetts, Environmental League of Massachusetts, IBEW Local 103, IBEW Local 223, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Natural Resources Defense Council and George M. Woodwell, PhD.
Karen Wood, CLF, 617-850-1722 or (978) 857-5389
(Boston, MA May 13, 2010) The news this week that National Grid has officially filed its contract proposal with Cape Wind is great news for everyone in our state who breathes the air and believes we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels in general. Any estimate of the real costs of Cape Wind must factor in the economic, environmental and public health benefits to consumers and the Commonwealth over the long-term. In addition to knowing how much the power from Cape Wind will cost, the public should also know how much it will save them. To accurately estimate the value of our investment in Cape Wind, we can’t just focus on short-term increases to electric bills – pennies per day, on average – but must consider the savings over time.
- By making a 15-year commitment to supply customers with clean wind power, National Grid and Cape Wind together are taking an essential step toward bringing the nation’s first offshore wind project to life while delivering substantial economic and environmental rewards. As the contract goes through rigorous public scrutiny, we call upon the public and state decision-makers alike to ensure that it is compared to other electric power agreements on an apples-to-apples basis that fully credits the expected benefits. These include:
- Because Cape Wind’s fuel is free, the long-term power purchase agreement can – and will – ensure price predictability over the long term, moving consumers off the volatile fossil fuel price roller coaster.
- The project’s zero fuel cost means that when the wind blows, Cape Wind will be first in line to deliver power to consumers – forcing the most expensive polluting fossil fuel-fired power plants to run less, reducing the market price for electricity and saving customers millions of dollars.
- The contract price, initially set at 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour, is an “all-in” price that includes not just the price of the electricity but also the transmission, renewable energy incentives that are required by law, the project’s capacity to contribute to the regional electric supply, and other environmental benefits. It is inaccurate to compare this price to the stand-alone price of traditional electricity.
- Any comparison of Cape Wind’s contract price to the price we currently pay for traditional power must take into account the extraordinary environmental and public health costs of ongoing reliance on fossil fuels – including the costs of addressing the growing oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf, increasing climate change impacts, and air pollution from coal plants that worsens lung and heart conditions.
- By making long-term price commitments, Cape Wind and National Grid are placing the risk of any increased development cost squarely on the shoulders of Cape Wind, not ratepayers.
- Cape Wind will bring significant economic development opportunities to the Commonwealth, from quality construction jobs to ongoing maintenance and operation, and will propel Massachusetts to the national forefront of offshore renewable energy development.