Making things worse with windmills and solar panels

Making things worse with windmills and solar panels
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

(Reprinted from September 1, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties,….ar-panels.html)

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.?

– George Orwell

Last week, Republican Gov. Chris Christie approved a new 31-page state law called the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act. This amends the complicated Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act approved by our last Republican governor, Christie Whitman, in 1999.

Whitman’s law created the system that gave us “societal benefits,” “stranded costs” and “market transition” charges and roughly doubled our electric bills.

Christie’s new law is sure to double our electric bills again.

It forces every electric company to raise rates high enough to guarantee big profits for the wealthy and politically connected people selected to build windmills in the ocean.

Republican Christie signed the new law in Paulsboro, a Gloucester County power base of Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney. Several years ago, the Borough of Paulsboro used eminent domain to try to take a key piece of land away from George and Cyndi Gallenthin, a feisty couple who did not “pay to play.” It claimed the land was “blighted.”

The Gallenthin land had a railroad access to the Delaware River and was sure to win very profitable dredging contracts. The Gallenthins went to court and won when the Supreme Court ruled that their vacant land was not “blighted” just because local politicians said so.

But the Sweeney political machine is putting the Gallanthins out of business anyway. Democrat Sen. Sweeney is also the Gloucester County freeholder director. When the Gallanthins won in court, the Gloucester County Improvement Authority planned a new county road that will loop more than a mile out of its way and run through the middle of the Gallenthin land.

The Gallenthins are in court again.

Why did “corruption buster” Republican Gov. Christie sign a law for ocean windmills in Sweeney’s Democrat stronghold of Paulsboro? As part of the deal, a selected company there will get $100 million in state and local tax credits to import and assemble windmill parts.

Windmills on land are a bad idea. The five ACUA windmills in Atlantic City cost $1.2 million each, and need expensive maintenance and repairs. I don’t understand the details, but basically the Board of Public Utilities forces the electric company to pay about $750 to windmill owners every time they produce $60 worth of electricity – and then add the difference to our electric bills.

Besides costing a fortune, windmills and solar panels don’t reduce pollution or our dependence on coal, oil, or natural gas. They make things worse. Here’s why: Electric power grids need a constant flow of electricity. But solar energy stops after 4 p.m. and whenever a cloud goes by. As a sailor, I know how fickle and unreliable the wind is.

Every time solar or wind energy stops, back-up coal and natural gas generators must instantly crank up to keep up the level of juice in the grid. Otherwise, the whole system would crash every day, like in Iraq.

When I was a kid, many homes and my elementary school had coal furnaces. You can’t just start them up and shut them down – you must often keep them burning even when you don’t need them.

I invite you to read the details from Robert Bryce in his book, “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future,” or his online articles.

There is only one thing worse than doubling electric bills to build windmills and solar panels on land – doubling them again to build windmills at sea.

Think of the extra cost – and danger – of boats bringing men and equipment to and from the ocean, and working out there in good and bad weather, then laying and protecting undersea electric cable. Why? Why not stick windmills in some of the $400 million of “open space” land that we taxpayers just paid for?

Democrat Senate President Steve Sweeney quietly introduced the legislation on June 10 without answering these questions.

Besides being Senate president and the Gloucester County freeholder director, Sweeney is also paid $188,898 each year as a “general organizer” for the Ironworkers Union of the AFL-CIO.

The Senate and Assembly committees each held hearings and approved the new law just 11 days later. One week later, on June 28, the full State Senate and Assembly passed it.

All Democrats voted for the bill, including Sens. Jim Whelan and Jeff Van Drew, and Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Mat Milam, so did Republican Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. and local Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amodeo.

Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears live on WVLT-92.1FM, heard throughout South Jersey 8-9 a.m. every Saturday. For information see, email or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner, Tilton and Fire Roads, Egg Harbor Township.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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