Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – May 9, 2023
During Tuesday’s, May 9th Board Of Supervisor’s meeting there will be an attempt
by Supervisors Short and Howard to sell the County’s citizenry on the
idea of resurrecting the decade long defunct Tri-Agency in order to
breath life into the latest “get rich scheme”, off shore wind power.
Before we get to the “pie in the sky” push to attract the rather breath
taking amount of investment to even get such a project off the ground,
perhaps a brief look at what has already transpired at the behest of our
local leadership and the Tri-Agency.
If you will recall, the Tri-Agency acquired a rather substantial sum of
grant funding to stimulate the local economy following the 1964
Tsunami. Over the course of the next fifty years the Tri-Agency was a
miserable failure. The usual suspects for the reincarnation of the
Tri-Agency are the Harbor, the City, and the County. The fantasy is to
clear the previous fiasco’s loan debt to fund the rebirth of the “new
and improved” Tri-Agency, employ a director and support staff, hire a
grant writer, and pursue grant funding to entice “off shore wind power”
to Del Norte County. All initially on the backs of the local taxpayer,
who just got finished closing the books on the previous Tri-Agency failures.
The history of the past rendition of the Tri-Agency was fraught with bad
business loans and a few government funded projects that were its only
questionable measures of success. Local businesses who could not get
conventional loans quickly swallowed up much of the funding, none of
which were successful, leaving the Tri-Agency on the hook for nearly
$300,000 dollars in bad debt. When the Tri-Agency failed to repay its
loans and could not pay its bills in 2012, the Agency and its
malefactors abruptly disappeared. Recently, two supervisors who were
previously involved with this financial melt down wish to resurrect this
folly to invite off shore wind power as an economic driver. The most
recent effort consists of a further $70,000 draw on the tax payer tucked
away in “Budget Transfers” in tomorrow’s Board meeting. This funding
along with $30,000 from the City, and $10,000 from the Harbor will be
used to hire a Director for the Tri-Agency which will shortly be filled
in with support staff and a grant writer, no doubt tapping the taxpayer
for yet more funding. The end result will no doubt be a waste of money
that Supervisors Short and Howard can parlay into a further financial
On to the wind power boondoggle being proposed. Clearly neither Howard
nor Short are aware of some rather significant obstacles to construction,
maintenance, operating cost, lack of transmission infrastructure that
offshore wind power on the West Coast entails. Not only is it
substantially more expensive to install and operate “floating wind
turbines”, more than twice the cost of their off shore compatriots in
the shallow waters off the East Coast, but even the less costly versions
are encountering a growing list of obstacles. Seems wind power is
popular generally to those that are oblivious to the cost, at least
until the bill comes due.
Unfortunately, Supervisor Howard may wax elegant about all the
“supposed” benefits of attracting wind power to our shores and the money
flowing into local pockets, but the reality is somewhat different.
Virtually all of the East Coast leases have yet to even get off the
drawing boards, many simply unfeasible, or too costly. Most employment
gains do not come locally, and just the cost and difficulty of
transmission will be a huge obstacle to overcome as most of the power
produced will have to leave the County. Maintenance in the deeper
waters of the Pacific of over 200 feet, where weather is a huge factor,
and repair at times becomes impossible will all factor into the
feasibility of off shore wind power where customers for that power are
few on the ground. Not a particularly attractive picture of “economic
So the question becomes, what’s in it for our usual suspects, Darren
Short, Chris Howard, Blake Inscore, Jason Greenough, Wes White, and
Brian Stone? None of this train wreck is remotely possible, yet it has
the capability of swallowing up vast sums of tax payer money. Ehh,
these guys don’t care, after all it isn’t their money.
3 thoughts on “Off Shore Wind Power, Oh Really?”
Excellent synopsis. The climate fanatics are people who couldn’t handle science in school but needed a cause. Transmitting power in water sounds costly. It’s all nice on paper.
Loved your comment at the meeting, “I’m looking at 5 people who know nothing about wind power,” or something to that effect. I know very little also; but, having spent most of my career at sea in the Coast Guard I’m having a hard time visualizing how in the hell “floating wind turbines” will stay upright in heavy seas. And how tall do they have to be so the huge blades will not hit the surface at the slightest tilt. If there is a secret to keeping them upright I wish we knew about it when I was rocking and rolling aboard the cutters. I guess I’m missing something also why we the taxpayers have to put up money for some company to install those things.
We live in California. Is that clear enough of an expiation. The average cost for construction of this fantasy on the Pacific Coast is $4600 per kilowatt. This development cost will likely not be reflected in the cost wind power fanatics will preach if the projects are even remotely feasible to be built. We will hear all about how cheap it will become and the environmental benefits. No one will hear about how on the East Coast the wealthy nimbly crowd and environmentalists were the primary opposition to several proposed projects where there was enough electrical usage on hand without miles of infrastructure to drive up the end cost. Go figure. Wind power will most likely be forced on rural areas where the amount of electrical need is minimal, but will make the $4600 per kilowatt figure seem a bargain. Wind power on the East Coast has a smaller developmental cost due to shallower waters not requiring floating structures. Still, leases have been purchased not for immediate development but for when the Climate Change freaks have driven the cost of energy beyond the cost of currently available fossil fuel supplied energy. They will do this by claiming Climate Change as an imminent crisis and force wind and solar on the population. None of which is currently feasible. All the while, currently available cheap energy from fossil fuels present little danger to future climate and to some degree supply some very real benefits from the as yet minimal warming and slight increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. This has caused a significant greening effect world wide and greatly enhanced the world’s ability to grow sufficient quantities of food for a growing population. We have been hearing from the Climate Change fanatics for nearly thirty years and have yet to experience it, especially at a crisis level. Time for everyone to realize it is a giant fraud, designed to establish control over your ability to make the choices that benefit you the most. Socialism at its finest. We must all sacrifice to “save the planet”. Right…..