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Weekly John Locke Foundation research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.

The newsletter highlights relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.

1. Britain’s obsession with wind power will cost its electricity customers big

It is no secret that governments around the world have become obsessed with massive subsidies for wind power. Of course, the reason why it must be subsidized is because no rational utility company would choose such an inefficient source for generating its electricity. But the costs go way beyond the subsidies, which tend to be hidden in taxes that people pay and regulations. These costs also come out more overtly in the form of higher utility rates. Even the subsidies are not enough to make wind power competitive with natural gas and coal. This is why, in North Carolina, for example, the state has imposed a mandatory renewable portfolio standard, which forces utilities, and therefore customers, to purchase wind generated electricity. This amounts to a huge corporate welfare giveaway to the wind power industry, which would barely exist without the subsidies and the coerced purchases of their output.

Now there is a new study out of Great Britain which looks at how much wind subsidies and the forced use of wind power in that country will cost electricity customers annually in their electric bills alone, and it’s not chump change. The additional costs in electric bills for the typical British household due to wind power is estimated to be about 300 pounds or the equivalent of about $580 a year at current exchange rates over the next 7 to 8 years. Professor Gordon Hughes of National University concludes the following:

…by 2020 domestic electricity bills will have risen by up to 58 per cent under plans for a huge increase in the number of onshore and offshore wind turbines…family electricity bills will rise to nearly 850 pounds a year from their current 528 pounds to pay for wind power technology.

2. Ozone Report

The 2012 ozone season began on April 1 and each week during the ozone season this newsletter reports how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. The ozone season will end on October 31.  All reported data is from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

During the period, July 30 to August 5 there have been 6 reported high ozone readings on North Carolina’s ozone monitors. They occurred on monitors in Mecklenburg, Rockingham, and Rowan counties. Since the beginning of the ozone season there have been 111 high ozone readings over 16 days on North Carolina monitors.

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