March 9, 2005

Hull's "cash cow" wind turbine

E (The Environmental Magazine) has a "heart-warming" story on the 3-year anniversary of Hull, Mass., connecting their 660-KW wind turbine (click the title of the this post). I have read elsewhere that sales of the resulting renewable energy certificates (ROCs) has enabled Hull to reduce its electricity bill by 15%, and that's the story here as well.

Isn't something missing? There is no mention that other electricity use went down. If the wind turbine actually allowed them to reduce the use of other sources, that would undoubtedly be the main point of the story, i.e., the success of alternative energy in reducing need for conventional energy. Instead, the story is only how lucrative ROC sales are.

They're just selling the right to say you're buying "green" power even as your (and their) purchase of "dirty" power remains unchanged.