Yesterday, The Juice brought you the tale of Bill Koch, the Palm Beach billionaire energy mogul who has spent millions of dollars to oppose an offshore wind farm that will sully his view of Nantucket Sound. We speculated that Koch's opposition might have something to do with the fact that his company, the Oxbow Group, mines coal and sells petroleum waste.
Today, Koch's West Palm Beach spokesman, Brad Goldstein, called to yell at us
because he hadn't commented when we called twice before. "We don't avoid anybody, including New Times," he said.
Then he went on to recommend some reading, specifically an op-ed piece that Koch wrote in the Wall Street Journal outlining the economic reasons he opposes the wind farm.
Basically, he argues that the wind farm will require $100 million a year in tax subsidies to be profitable, and that cost would be passed on to customers in the form of higher electric bills. Then, after the wind turbines are built, they won't produce enough electricity to be worthwhile.
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"That deal is ridiculous for the consumer," Goldstein says. "We just feel that the project's never gonna happen because no one on Wall Street will finance that project."
Meanwhile, he points out that the company behind the Cape Wind project, Energy Management, Inc., is led by developer Jim Gordon, and has sunk $40 million into the project. So Gordon has a strong incentive to win the PR battle and secure government approval for the wind farm.
Alas, nothing in the early nine-year debate over the wind farm has been simple. Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind, had plenty to say in response to Koch's arguments. Stay tuned for his comments.
UPDATE: You can read Rodgers' comments, and find out more about the tax breaks Koch's company has received, here.