I like the idea of an off-shore wind farm. They’re mostly out of sight, any noise won’t disrupt neighbors, there’s a constant, clean source of energy – no oil to spill, no pipelines to blow up. Other countries are well on their way to developing offshore wind farms.

First, the problem was aesthetics. People with expensive summer places didn’t want see a few specs on the horizon. Then there were some reasonably legitimate environmental considerations – danger to migrating birds, disruption to fisheries, but apparently those have been answered.

There was a stab at arguing that they would interfere with air traffic, but that argument did have any legs.

The Wampanoags, who’ve been trying to get a casino built in Massachusetts, suddenly decided the wind farm interfered with certain heretofore unknown sacred rituals. Oddly, opponents to the wind farm expressed their approval for the casino plan at the same time. Everyone denied a quid pro quo.

Now they’re arguing about how much this is going to cost rate-payers. The DPU chairman opened this week’s hearing by chiding the opposition with publicizing confidential information about a rate agreement between the developers and the utility company.

Why should that be confidential?

Now nearly everyone is crying foul over how much it’s going to cost. The “secret” agreement between the developer and National Grid starts by setting the rate higher than what ratepayers are paying now, and factors in increases every year for the next decade or so (if I’ve got my information right).

I agree that the state should look carefully at this rate agreement. In fact, I would prefer that an agreement be drawn up with the ratepayers in mind, rather than the two corporations trying to figure out how much of a profit they can make from it.
Give them a reasonable rate of return, but hold the line on gouging the ratepayers.

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