Renewable Energy and Crony Capitalism in Action


Yeah, maybe I’ve become cynical, but when I see this article:

The Providence company that’s in the midst of building the first offshore wind farm in the United States is now working on a host of energy projects that are on land and have nothing to do with the wind.

The most immediate is a 2.6-megawatt solar farm in Foster that was recently awarded a long-term power purchase contract through a state renewable energy program. Construction on the project, which would be Deepwater’s first foray into the solar energy sector, is expected to begin in the summer of 2017.

I can’t help but think of this legislation:

Every retail electric supplier providing service under contracts executed or extended on or after January 1, 2017, shall provide a minimum percentage of kilowatt-hour sales, as determined by the commission, to end-use customers in Rhode Island from thermal energy generating sources.

The folks who run government and those most heavily invested in the renewable energy industry are pretty seamlessly integrated at this point, in Rhode Island, so this could simply be a coincidence, but whatever the case it’s an excellent example of crony capitalism (of venture socialism).  A private entity decides to enter a market, and lo’ the government decides to force people to buy its product.

Folks, this isn’t how an economy is supposed to work.  In fact, in the long run, it won’t work at all.  Rhode Island should be considered exhibit #1 for that proposition.

  • oceanstater

    The RI Public Radio web-site has a story about the Deepwater political connections (note, to Carcieri too!) and how the offshore wind power will cost RI consumers 3 or 4 times the current rate for power. It generated a lively on-line discussion. While we do need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it has to be done in a sensible way that protects and enhances the RI economy, this would seem not do that.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      The problem that no advocate wants to face is that the “green” technologies are not reliable. The sun is not constant, winds vary. They may be adjuncts to conventional power generation, but they are not replacements. What really needs work is cheap “storage” for the power they do generate. The only “working” solution I have heard of is using the power generated to pump water uphill to a reservoir, when power is needed the water runs downhill to create hydro electric power. This is neither cheap, nor efficient.

      • ShannonEntropy

        We need some of those new-fangled Di·Lithium Crystals … if you ask me

      • Guest

        @Rhett Hardwick,

        On the contrary to your belief that the “green”
        technologies are not reliable you’ve been proven wrong already in the state of Hawaii. Let me explain:

        State of Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in the
        nation being a bunch of volcano peaks sticking up in the middle of Pacific Ocean in a military strategic location which President George W. Bush recognized and tasked the Department of Energy (DOE) to work with Hawaii to
        wean itself off imported oil thereby increasing its self-stainability. HI has been testing alternate energy since 1960s and has vast number so called “green”
        technologies resources plenty of sun, constant medium temperature, mountains, ocean, waves, lakes, volcano geothermal resources, constant winds (trade winds), open spaces, perfect 365-day growing cycle, 11 of the world’s 13
        weather systems known to mankind to name a few. HI is the only state in the nation that manufactures its own synthetic natural gas. In short, HI has been a “green” technologies testbed since 1960s and when some things worked, laws were changed and the new alternate energy system was incorporated with the help of the HI Public Utilities Commission. There are volumes of alternate energy documentation, related changes in existing laws and how to do it guides published in HI. HI is the only state that mandates solar hot water heaters on all new residential housing and HI is the only state in the nation that under
        state law has mandated 100% alternate clean renewable energy be used to generate electricity state-wide by year 2045.

        HI is the only place in the world international team of
        countries and DOE are testing live on a working electric grid how much alternate “green” energy can be allowed on a legacy grid before protective shutdown (never been tested in world). They are doing the same for a smart grid
        and also what are the real-time security requirements for smart grids. General Electric Company spent one year in HI testing real-time their smart grid components. HI is the only place in the world an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) baseline power plant was constructed and operated; surface warm ocean water is used to bring ammonium to boiling steam pressure which drives electric generators producing constant baseline electricity; steam is
        then run through cold deep water to return to liquid which is returned to warm water to start the cycle over. A by product is distilled drinkable water. The system is 95% efficient so solar photovoltaic panels are used for the missing 5% with battery backup bringing the power plant to 100% self-sufficient using only ocean water temperature difference between surface and deep water. A 100 MW OTEC power plant is under design following a 10 MW OTEC power plant. HI has built the only OTEC heat exchanger test bed in the world where companies can test their heat exchanger designs. HI also has a kinetic ocean wave test park where companies can test their ocean wave power systems. HI had the first wave power system under test sending constant baseline electric power to the power grid. The device looked like a regular navigational buoy. Waves and ocean/rivers/stream currents are more predictable and constant than wind and sun energy.

        HI has a plethora of alternate energy system currently
        connected to the independent electric grids of the 8 main islands each unique to the individual island need and natural resources. HI leads the nation with the highest amount of photovoltaic systems mounted on roof-tops and is second only to California in registration of electric vehicles. There are on land wind farms, geothermal power plants, ground based photovoltaic arrays, battery storage, biofuel farms, fast growing algae to biofuel power plant, waste to power plant, waste to gas power plant, hydroelectric power plant, pumped water reservoir power plant, Ocean water district cooling air-conditioning,
        self-sufficient photovoltaic hydrogen generator pump station for testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Since HI started the 100% state-wide alternate energy initiative the individual islands have shed 30% of imported oil with one
        island now generating 40% of daily electrical power needs. The two electric companies in HI have changed their business models and embrace the 100% alternate energy goals and as each new system comes on line electric rates
        lower also helping is falling oil prices. 2007 HI chased the first in nation offshore wind farm out of state for being totally unfeasible (20 cents/kWh where it was costing HI 8 cents/kWh to burn imported oil) and an endangerment
        to HI’s humpback whale population. A European developer wants to build two offshore wind farms in HI using 21st Century designs which will bring price down to 10 cents/kWh however they have a lot of hoops to jump
        through before offshore wind is even considered especially with RI being the international model for what not to do with offshore wind.

  • Mike678

    Is there a energy consortium that offers energy from just natural, renewable sources such as natural gas? The powers costs may be less as they wouldn’t be praying the premiums required to make the so-called ‘green energy’ profitable, saving money for those on fixed incomes.

  • thomas neemann

    ere is a new simple (open source) idea of wind energy and electrolyser 365/24 base load

    real test-system is running!