The cost of “going green”

Three newspaper articles caught my eye today, on the energy front, that is.

The first, entitled Welfare Wagons, begins as follows:

Congratulations. You’re about to buy a fancy new Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt . . . for someone else.

It seems that the cost of producing an electric car is considerably higher than what most would be willing to pay for the car.  So, Obama is offering a $7500 tax credit if you purchase one, and, an additional $1100 tax credit if you purchase (as you must), a charging station.  That is unless you live in cash starved California, or Georgia, or Tennessee, in which case you will receive “consumer tax credits” of up to an additional $5000.

The U.S. government is deeply in debt.  In people and nations with their backs to the wall, one looks for signs of rationality.  Running up more debt to subsidize electric runabouts for suburbanites is not such a sign.

And, then we have this article, The Price of Wind.  After nearly a decade, approvals have finally been granted for Cape Wind Associates to locate 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.  Cape Wind will sell their “power” to National Grid, an electric utility serving Massachusetts.  Cape Wind has asked state regulators to approve a rate (for that sale to National Grid) of 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour beginning in 2013, and rising 3.5% annually thereafter.  Just one small problem…consumers in Massachusetts currently pay about 9 cents per kilowatt hour.

There’s comic irony in this clean energy revolution…given that taxpayers will be required to pay to build Cape Wind and then be required to buy its product at prices twice normal rates…

And finally on the energy front, Senator Lieberman (I.Ct.) and Senator Kerry (D.Ma.) introduced the Senate version of “cap and tax” today.  Your electric bill will increase considerably because utility companies will be taxed by the federal government just for the priviledge of doing business, and, in turn, these companies will pass that tax on to you the consumer in the form of higher rates.  But, don’t worry,

[t]he legislation would immediately send two-thirds of the revenues from emissions permit sales directly back to consumers as refunds on their utility bills…

Anyone wonder where the other one-third will go, or, better yet, why the federal government is taking the money from us in the first place?

So, for those of you living in Massachusetts, this news is a “triple wammie”.  Wait a minute, I have a home in Massachusetts.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. phil on May 13, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Again, Joe opens his mouth and removes all doubt!

  2. bubba on May 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

    That is another good reason I left Taxachusetts. it sounds like here in TN. there is a program green power switch in which you pay an additional $4 per block (150 kwh). The last time I checked my flat screen TV does not know if that is a green generated electron coming out of the wall or by some other method. If it is such a good idea why should I have to pay extra for it?


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