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IER Exposes NJ's "Irrational" Offshore Wind Scheme

November 07, 2013

Send a message! CLICK HERE to tell your U.S. senator to end the Wind PTC (Production Tax Credit)!

As pointed out in our recent blog post, New Jersey’s offshore wind scheme is in troubled waters. Fishermen’s Energy, the company seeking approval from the State to implement the project must invest $10M by year’s end or else lose out on $100M in tax breaks — paid for, of course, on the backs of New Jersey taxpayers. The proposal calls for installing 25 MW of capacity while the State’s master plan calls for 1,100 MW of capacity by 2020.

Fishermen’s Energy’s original proposal was rejected out of hand by the State after an independent consultant determined it to be “the most expensive offshore wind power in the world” that did not meet the “net economic benefit” threshold embedded in the law.

Since being rejected, Fishermen’s Energy has submitted a revised proposal to the State which banks on another $100M in federal subsidies and tax breaks thanks to the Wind PTC. Fishermen’s is also seeking another $19.2M from New Jersey taxpayers for “engineering, evaluation and planning costs” which have turned out to be far higher than expected.

IER details how, in order to secure these additional funds, Fishermen’s Energy is trying to snooker the State into approving their proposal:

“Recognizing that the public was not excited about the prospect of footing a $19 million dollar bill to a developer should they fail in securing additional federal taxpayer funding, FACW had to sweeten the deal for New Jersey residents. This attempt at restitution is so deceptive as to be laughable. According to FACW, to save New Jersey residents money they’ve decided to lower the price of an offshore wind credit to ONLY $187 dollars. This is about 40 percent less than originally proposed (about $262). FACW claims this will save taxpayers $136 million over the life of the agreement.[ix]

The logic of these arguments needs to be exposed.  Taxing electricity customers 40 percent less than originally proposed in order to get the taxpayers to pony up an additional $19.2 million is a bad deal any way you slice it. In fact, you could argue it would be better at that point if the project DID fail. If the project fails before construction, FACW does not receive their Phase II government grant of $47 million taxpayer dollars and residents are only out the $19.2 million,”

As if this weren’t bad enough, the beneficiary of this enviro-cronyism would be the Red Chinese government. As IER points out, the Fishermen’s project is being “financed primarily by XEMC, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer” which is “a business entity owned by the Government of China.”

OWEDA was a bad idea from the start and the more we learn about it the worse it is for New Jersey taxpayers and ratepayers. The best thing for New Jersey would be if this project were Gone with the Wind.

CLICK HERE to read IER’s analysis in its entirety.

Once again, CLICK HERE to send a message to your U.S. senator to end the Wind PTC!

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