Cost tells a different story

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The Sun Journal did a nice job outlining wind power (April 11), but the story did not address price or cost. Neither does the governor’s task force on ocean energy or his planning office.

The writer did introduce one of the key variables: CMP delivers nine billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to Mainers each year. That figure has not changed in the past several years. The range of projections for future costs of electricity are all over the place. There are, however, some facts which we can use as a guide as we try to pin down the costs of generating our electricity using offshore wind as our fuel.

We currently pay 8 cents per kwh. We pay an additional 8 cents for CMP to deliver it. That’s $720 million per year for electricity; $720 million for delivery.

Gary Hunt, UMaine economist, estimates offshore wind would cost 10 cents per kwh to generate. One could assume the delivery costs would not go up after initial upgrades to the delivery system. That’s $900 million per year.

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Deepwater Wind LLC is negotiating a contract with Rhode Island for 24.4 cents per kwh. That price would make our 9 billion kwh’s cost $2.2 billion. If the people of Rhode Island are dumb enough to go with such costs, the people of Maine should see it as a sign to be wary of private-sector estimates.

Clearly, the governor’s planning office should be providing the people of Maine with better data.

Jim Tierney, Auburn

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