For a mere 21.5¢ kWh wholesale, residents of Maine can have intermitent tidal energy!!!
Under a 20-year contract hashed out earlier this year, electricity from Ocean Renewable Power’s tidal generators will be sold to three Maine utilities for a starting price of 21.5 cents a kilowatt hour, or nearly double Maine’s average electricity price of 11.21 cents per kilowatt hour.
The high price, local and federal officials say, is justified by the economic benefit that the growing tidal energy industry could bring to communities like Eastport, where the canneries and other seafood processing industries have all but vanished. The unemployment rate in Eastport, a city of about 1,450, topped 12 percent in June, seasonally unadjusted, compared to 7.5 percent in all of Maine and 8.2 percent nationally.
Doubling the energy costs on commercial and industrial enterprises is sure bring the jobs in!
Well, in reality, it won’t double the cost. In all likelihood, the utilities will average the cost from the various sources and then increase the rates accordingly. This brings us to a bit of irony. The more productive the tidal project, the more the people of Maine will pay for energy. The problem is, no one ever sees these costs. Most utilities simply reference a cost adjustment, but I’ve never seen a final bill to the consumer which breaks it down to specific sources.
If this isn’t an occasion for the Fig-Newton victory dance, I don’t know what is!
For another view of energy use and economic application, see here.