What is more costly than a Cape Wind? It's an Ocean Renewable.
That's the name of the outfit the state of Maine just approved for a permit to sell "tidal power"--generated by undersea turbines from tidal currents in Cobscook Bay, near Eastport. The approved, initial wholesale price of tidal power from Ocean Renewable is 21.5 cents per kWh. [ Dave Sharp, Associated Press, Terms set for three utilities to distribute tidal electricity in Maine, Portland (ME) Press-Herald, April 25, 2012, at http://www.pressherald.com/business/terms-set-for-three-utilities-to-distribute-tidal-electricity_2012-04-25.html ]
The tidal scalper's price well exceeds the approved, initial Cape Wind wholesale price of 18.7 cents per kWh and, like it, comes with an escalator that hikes the price every year. Maine transmission and distribution charges typically add 6 to 7 cents per kWh, less than those in Massachusetts, so the delivered, retail price of tidal power within Maine comes to about 27 cents per kWh, compared with retail prices of 11 to 12 cents per kWh now paid by most households in the state.
Fortunately for Maine residents, Ocean Renewable is a "trophy project." When both stages are finished, it will have a rated output of 0.3 MW, peak, and generate an estimated 1.2 thousand MWh per year. That is much less than a typical, single wind-farm turbine installed on land today and not even one-thousandth as much as Cape Wind, which is rated at 420 MW, peak, and estimated to generate 1.5 million MWh per year. [ Project no. 12711-005, environmental assessment notice, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, January 4, 2012, at http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/EA-1916-FEA-2012.pdf ]