New York state is paying 11 large wind and solar power projects two times more in subsidies than the projects actually generate in electricity.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $360 million in spending over the weekend, but didn’t reveal the precise amount of funding for each project. A good portion of the funding will go to the large company Invenergy’s 105.8 megawatt Number Three wind project in upstate New York, as well as NextEra Energy Resources’ 101.2 megawatt Eight Point project along the Pennsylvania border.
State officials are handing out the equivalent of $24.24 per megawatt-hour over the next 20 years to the 11 projects. Wind turbines can get an additional $23 per megawatt-hour in federal tax credits.
The electricity generated by these 11 projects, however, will only sell for an average of $16.25 per megawatt-hour, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).
New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the state’s power grid regulator, sharply criticized Cuomo’s plan to boost state green energy use, saying that it could cause blackouts and would make it hard to ensure reliable electricity. NYISO also noted Cuomo’s plan would require the state to triple its installed wind-energy capacity and add more solar panels than the combined capacity of Spain and Australia, in just 14 years.
Cuomo’s green energy czar responded by saying that NYISO was being “held captive” by special interests and lacks “understanding into the imperative to address climate change.”
Solar and wind power get 326 and 69 times more in subsidies than coal, oil and natural gas for the comparative amount of energy generated, according to 2013 Department of Energy data collected by Forbes. Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear energy according to data from the EIA.
New York state currently gets less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind and solar, according to EIA.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently investigating how green energy undermines the reliability of the electrical grid, and officials believe there is a “significant risk” of electricity in the U.S. becoming unreliable because “wind and solar don’t offer the services the shuttered coal plants provided.” The agency suspects that replacing conventional coal or natural gas power plants with wind and solar, could compromise the reliability of the American power grid.
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