Cape Wind News and Notes from the Producers

Updates about the Cape Wind project, notes from the road, upcoming event promos, and other missives. Navigate by topic via the list on the right. And if you're already a fan, get your sweet Cape Spin swag here!

Exposed! Lincoln Center and Cape Spin Pull Bizarre Publicity Stunt!

May 16th, 2013 by Daniel Coffin

Cape Spin Hoax Revealed!

By Ernest Hype, special to TMZ.com

Early purchasers of tickets to Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle were shocked Tuesday to receive email notifications saying that the film had been canceled due to “technical difficulties with the theater,” and that their money had been refunded!

The news of the apparent cancellation was also splashed across the Lincoln Center website.  “I was really confused and saddened,” said ticket buyer Agnes Moorehead.  “Whoever heard of the whole run of a movie, from May 17th all the way to the 23rd being canceled because of “technical difficulties?”  I was thinking something really awful must have happened, like the Health Department found bed bugs or something.”

TMZ now has exclusive information from an official close to both the theater and the film that the whole episode was an elaborate—albeit very strange—publicity stunt. “They figured it would make the film seem more valuable, more rare,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because of concerns he could become known as a snitch. “Kind of like playing hard to get. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what the theory behind this gag really was. But they certainly took it pretty far. I mean, returning people’s money is extreme. And really annoying, because now people have to re-enter all their credit card information using this link.”

Many Cape Spin! fans were disappointed and angry to hear that the whole episode had been a weird ploy to attract public interest in the screenings at the Munroe Amphitheater.   “I think it’s just shameful,” said film aficionado Joe Mankiewicz.  “I didn’t need to be goofed by some lame prank in order to be convinced to see the ‘sober, lighthearted, even wacky’ Cape Spin!

After stating that the Associated Press article he quoted from and dozens of other “incredible” reviews had been more than enough to make him want to see the film, Mankiewicz walked slowly away from a reporter, audibly muttering “I had already bought my tickets! What were they trying to prove? That I would want to see this film so much I’d buy them again? Well, they were right. But what was the point?”

At a hastily convened press conference a spokesman for the film reiterated the offer from world-famous chef Daniel for a free mezze plate for Cape Spin! theater goers at Boulud Sud.  The spokesman added, “we feel just terrible about this misguided attempt at humor on the part of unknown members of unnamed organizations.  Please accept this gracious donation from green energy and arts supporter Daniel Boulud in the spirit of reconciliation.”

The spokesman also mentioned that the offer on Phillip Warburg’s book Harvest the Wind still stood, and then somewhat lamely announced a link where you can now, finally, buy tickets.

Spoiler Alert! Tickets are available now for Cape Spin at Lincoln Center!

May 13th, 2013 by Daniel Coffin

If you don’t want to know how to get tickets to the hottest show in New York, read no further!  

We don’t want to reveal too much, but Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle is playing four shows a day at Lincoln Center, May 17th – 23rd!  The Phoenix may have already said it’s “Rollicking… a dizzying look into the deceptive world of political activism,” and you may have heard from the Associated Press that it’s “sober, lighthearted, even wacky,” but try not to clink on this link to buy your tickets right now if you’re anxious about missing the experience of standing in a really long line!

That’s right, the film The Boston Globe says is an “exasperatingly funny… good yarn!” and which the Huffington Post claimed did a “great job” showing the “comical side” of the fight over America’s first off-shore wind farm now has tickets available at New York’s toniest venue!  Don’t click here if you can’t imagine yourself watching the film with a laugh-out-loud NYC crowd in the gorgeous Munroe Amphitheater on 144 W. 65th street between Broadway and Amsterdam.And do not press this BUTTON if you’d prefer not to have a serious discount off a meal at a fancy nearby restaurant (Boulud Sud!) with your ticket stub!

And if you’re not excited about owning a copy of Philip Warburg’s definitive new book, Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence and Climate Stability, at 10% off the jacket price, don’t get your ticket to the movie now! Because copies will be available at the theater after every screening and cheaper with your magic ticket stub…

We apologize if we inadvertently told you how to purchase tickets for the film the Green Advocate called “thought provoking…almost surreal” or that The Hollywood Reporter said was “among the most notable films to emerge from IDFA” [the most prestigious documentary film festival in the world].

Please disregard this message and join us at Lincoln Center!

Cape Spin! to open at Lincoln Center

May 6th, 2013 by Daniel Coffin

The Producers of Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle are proud to announce that the film will be opening Lincoln Center as part of the Film Society at Lincoln Center for a week long run beginning Friday, May 17.

Opening night will feature the filmmakers as well as several special guests to discuss the film and the Cape Wind project after the screening.  Come one, come all!  It should be a lot of fun.

Tickets and Showtimes can be found here.

Money, Trash, and some Problems

April 10th, 2013 by Michael Miller

Originally from the Wall Street Journal:

Rethinking Energy Subsidies

by David Wessell

Problem one: Governments from the U.S. to Egypt to Japan are running big, unsustainable budget deficits.

A new study says that reducing energy subsidies would help governments around the world cut budget deficits and go a long way toward heading off climate change. David Wessel takes a look.

Problem two: Global governments are finding it tough to agree on an efficient, fair way to head off climate change.

Fact one: Those governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year subsidizing energy.

Fact two: Curtailing those subsidies would help solve problems one and two.

So why do so many governments still subsidize energy so much? Because their populations are hooked on subsidies and don’t grasp their downsides, energy producers and other vested interests defend them, and because they are seen, incorrectly, as primarily helping the poor.

image

The International Monetary Fund, in a comprehensive critique of the subsidies released Wednesday, wants to change that. Energy subsidies, it says, aggravate budget deficits, crowd out public spending on health and education, discourage private investment in energy, encourage excessive energy consumption, artificially promote capital-intensive industries, accelerate the depletion of natural resources and exacerbate climate change.

Other than that, there is nothing wrong with them.

The most obvious way that governments subsidize energy is by charging households and businesses less than it costs to produce and distribute gasoline, cooking fuel and electricity. Taxpayers, now or later, pick up the tab. The IMF says these subsidies added up to $481 billion in 2011. Globally, this amounts to 2% of government revenues, but about 22% of revenues in the Middle East and North Africa.

Some authoritarian governments (think Mubarak’s Egypt when he was in power) buy off the population by making fuel and bread cheap. Some oil-rich governments (gasoline costs around 45 cents a gallon in Saudi Arabia) keep fuel prices low to keep the population from demanding a share of oil profits. That may seem harmless, but it isn’t. In too many poor countries, governments spend more subsidizing energy than they do on education or health. Globally, holding down energy prices increases consumption of fossil fuels.

Eliminating those direct subsidies, the IMF estimates, would reduce energy consumption enough to bring the world one-fourth of the way toward the goals set at the climate-change conference in Copenhagen in 2009.

That’s only part of the story. Many countries exempt energy from their value-added (or sales) taxes. And in most, the price of energy set by the government or the market fails to reflect the side effects of its use—traffic, pollution and climate change. This underpricing of energy amounts to about $1.41 trillion a year, the IMF estimates, mostly in big countries that consume lots of energy.

“The question is whether a country should choose to let someone buy something for $1 when the total cost—both of producing it and the costs imposed on society—are $1.25,” says David Lipton, the IMF’s No 2. He thinks not.

This isn’t a new quest for Mr. Lipton. As an Obama aide, he was a behind-the-scenes player at the Group of 20 summit of major economies in Pittsburgh in 2009 at which leaders vowed “to phase out…over the medium term inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies” because they “encourage wasteful consumption, reduce our energy security, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change.”

Four years later, not a whole lot has changed. One reason is that keeping energy prices down is defended as primarily helping the poor. But the IMF says the richest fifth of households in low- and middle-income countries, garner six times the energy subsidies as the poorest fifth.

image

The Journal Gazette / Associated Press

Developers of these turbines in Ohio say harnessing wind energy depends in part on government incentives.

“When subsidies are given by maintaining low prices, the amount of the subsidy you get depends on how much energy you use,” says Mr. Lipton. “If you are poor and you don’t have a car and you don’t have an air conditioner, you don’t use much energy and you don’t get much subsidy. If you have three cars and five air conditioners, you get a lot.”

The domestic politics of curtailing energy subsidies are treacherous. The public doesn’t understand them and doesn’t trust government promises to protect the poor and middle class when it seeks to curtail them. Companies that enjoy subsidies don’t surrender them quietly.

Nigerians took to the streets in January 2012 when the government let gasoline prices rise, forcing the government to scale back the subsidy cuts.

The IMF says, hopefully, the politics are navigable. It has assembled two-dozen case studies—some successful, some not—to show the way. In Iran, usually not held up as a model of anything good, higher fuel prices were offset by cash transfers to consumers’ bank accounts paid in advance. In Mauritania, a 2008 reform failed and contributed to a coup. A more gradual effort in 2011, with more care taken to strengthen the social safety net, was successful.

Mr. Lipton’s advice: “Better to do it right than to do it right away.”

But do it.

A Series of Letters

April 9th, 2013 by Michael Miller

In The Style of the Great Fanny Burney (13 June 1752 – 6 January 1840)!

March 28, 2013

James H. Bodurtha’s March 22 letter “Oil sheiks must celebrate our offshore wind fixation” should have been titled “Oil CEOs tickled by offshore wind delays.”

Offshore wind is being embraced around the globe as a viable renewable energy source. Dong Energy in Denmark recently announced plans for an 8-megawatt offshore turbine to help drive down costs per megawatt. Europe installed 369 turbines in 2012.

This is a growing and innovative industry, and Massachusetts has an opportunity to be the first state in the nation to host an offshore wind farm. And in terms of our tax dollars at work, it’s important to remember the government handouts given to the fossil fuel industry. Traditional fossil fuels receive over $70 billion in subsidies, compared with $12.2 billion for renewables. The nuclear industry has received billions of dollars of loan guarantees. The Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report in 2009 saying that this could result in the American taxpayers being on the hook for $360 billion to $1.6 trillion.

We need to change the way we produce and consume energy in our country. I will be proud the day Cape Wind’s turbines start spinning.

Sarah Cote

Forestdale

March 28, 2013

The media have been awash with news of Cape Wind’s manufacturing and financing plans.

Jim Gordon, Cape Wind’s president, seems to have missed the message behind the Buy American movement, which is dedicated to restoring and maintaining the long-term economic prosperity of our country by promoting and facilitating the practice of buying American.

Cape Wind is sending manufacturing jobs overseas, while, at the same time, it is seeking a loan guarantee from the federal government — a loan guarantee that would be backed by hard-earned American taxpayer dollars.

The turbines will not be built by General Electric, but by Siemens, a German company. Moreover, the steel foundations that were supposed to be built in Massachusetts are now going to a European manufacturer. Apparently, Cape Wind expects Americans to subsidize overseas jobs, in spite of the fact that we are dealing with one fiscal crisis after another.

As if this isn’t enough, Cape Wind has now announced that it is seeking financing through the Bank of Tokyo.

Renewable energy projects are hailed as good for America. Not this one!

Richard F. Mullin

South Dennis

March 28, 2013

I would like to weigh in on the controversial Cape Wind project and remind my fellow Massachusetts residents that we need to consider the “economics” of the project. The issue of “our money” has been swept under the rug.

  • Jim Gordon, the Beacon Hill multimillionaire “promoter” of Cape Wind, promised us that “free wind” would lower our utility bills. Now he tells us it will increase our electric bills.
  • Mr. Gordon said wind energy would be economical in the future, especially given that natural gas prices would skyrocket. But natural gas prices are “depressed,” and experts are telling us “clean natural gas” is the fuel of the future.
  • In the recent Cape Wind/Mass Tank dispute, Cape Wind now wants the Department of Energy to use our federal tax dollars to “guarantee” billions of dollars of debt so Cape Wind can send our Massachusetts jobs to Germany.

Let me get this one straight. We are supposed to be excited about Cape Wind because it will raise our tax bills, raise our electric bills and send our jobs to Germany? I thought we’re supposed to use “our” tax dollars to invest in America and create American jobs.

Ted Palashis

West Hyannisport

March 28, 2013

James Bodurtha sounds off on Cape Wind in his March 22 letter. Here are a few facts to clear things up.

  • Fracking for oil and gas is not environmentally safe.
  • Gasification of coal is years away and may never be cost-effective.
  • The government is not guaranteeing all of Cape Wind’s loans. A loan from the Department of Energy would be about $300 million. A nuclear plant in Georgia is applying for $8 billion from the same program. We can’t agree on a place to dispose of high-level nuclear waste.
  • The contracts with NStar and National Grid are already done, so the federal loan has no effect on those agreements.
  • Over Cape Wind’s 20-year life, ratepayers will save $4 billion due to the price-suppression effect, because Cape Wind has no fuel cost and can bid zero in the spot market.
  • Cape Wind is rated at 468 megawatts, and 15.3 jobs will be created per megawatt. That works out to 7,500 jobs for this project.
  • Oil companies are given $4 billion per year in taxpayer subsidies. The top five oil companies made a profit last quarter of $145 billion.

I look forward to the many economic and environmental benefits of Cape Wind.

Carl K. Borchert

Nantucket

Um, No? I Could Use A Haircut, though…

April 4th, 2013 by Michael Miller

Wind-Power Subsidies? No Thanks. I’m in the green-energy business. If Washington sent a little less ‘green’ our way, it would be good for the industry.
By PATRICK JENEVEIN

Posted with permission from the Wall Street Journal

The sequester has led to dire warnings from many camps, including advocates of clean energy, who argue that Washington’s modest cuts could derail America’s green future. But from my vantage as a CEO in the wind-power business, the sequester offers Washington a rare opportunity to roll back misguided subsidies and maybe help reverse wind power’s stalling momentum.

Since 2009, as part of the president’s stimulus, wind-farm developers have been able to get a federal cash grant or tax credit covering up to 30% of their capital investment in a new project. This is especially attractive compared with another tax credit that rewards wind farms based on how much power they actually produce. Through May 2012, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Washington spent some $8.4 billion on these cash grants.

But under the sequester, Uncle Sam is cutting the cash-grant program by 8.7% between March 1 and Sept. 30. Advocates of clean energy should welcome this haircut and urge for even more fundamental policy change.

Government subsidies to new wind farms have only made the industry less focused on reducing costs. In turn, the industry produces a product that isn’t as efficient or cheap as it might be if we focused less on working the political system and more on research and development. After the 2009 subsidy became available, wind farms were increasingly built in less-windy locations, according to the Department of Energy’s “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report.” The average wind-power project built in 2011 was located in an area with wind conditions 16% worse than those of the average project in 1998-99.

The Department of Energy admits that this trend is due at least in part to the 2009 federal subsidy: Because the grants that companies receive aren’t based on how much power they produce, “it is possible that developers have seized this limited opportunity to build out the less-energetic sites.” Meanwhile, wind-power prices have increased to an average $54 per megawatt-hour, compared with $37 in 2005.

If our communities can’t reasonably afford to purchase and rely on the wind power we sell, it is difficult to make the moral case for our businesses, let alone an economic one. Yet as long as these subsidies and tax credits exist, clean-energy executives will likely spend most of their time pursuing advanced legal and accounting methods rather than investing in studies, innovation, new transmission technology and turbine development.

A quick glance at the American Wind Energy Association’s website illustrates this. In July, the association is planning a Capitol Hill event aimed at “educating legislators” on the importance of industry tax credits. Never mind improving the underlying fundamentals of the wind business.

My own company began by delivering clean energy (in the form of natural gas) to rural China, where families still used animal dung for cooking fuel. We entered the wind business in the late 1990s, when a wind-turbine company asked us to provide electricity from its site when the wind wasn’t blowing. Years later, we oversaw a similar project but in reverse: In 2008, without a government subsidy, we built a wind farm in Lubbock, Texas, to supplement at lower costs the delivery of electricity to a cottonseed-oil company.

Such projects are likely the industry’s future. Wind energy will make marginal—not revolutionary—contributions. The industry’s success in Texas (where my company is based, and which is the nation’s largest and cheapest producer of wind power) suggests that wind farms do make sense in relatively windy areas where electricity shortages occur.

But policy matters. California, which isn’t located in the “wind belt,” is America’s second-largest wind-energy producer but also its costliest. The state’s high costs are partly due to “aggressive renewable energy policies . . . that give developers a strong negotiating position,” according to the Department of Energy report.

The wind industry has largely been out-competed by natural gas, which has proved to be a clean, reliable and cheap power source for the future without subsidies or even venture-capital funding. As such, my company isn’t planning any new investments in the wind business, even though we would love to still be worth the $2 billion we were several years ago.

Of course, we could yet be proven wrong by technological innovation. Without subsidies, the wind industry would be forced to take a hard fresh look at its product. Fewer wind farms would be built, eliminating the market-distorting glut. And if there is truly a need for wind energy, entrepreneurs who improve the business’s fundamentals will find a way to compete.

Mr. Jenevein is CEO of the Dallas-based Tang Energy Group.

“Fiscal Responsibility.” Don’t Forget Social Responsibility!

April 1st, 2013 by Michael Miller

Posted with permission from the Cape Cod Times

Anti-turbine advocate challenges veteran Dennis selectmen

By CHRISTINE LEGERE
clegere@capecodonline.com
March 29, 2013 – 2:00 AM

DENNIS — The battle over a shellfish hatchery’s plan for a wind turbine on beachfront property has prompted one project opponent to make his first foray into local politics.

Richard Watts, vice president of the anti-turbine group called Save Our Beaches, will run against veteran Selectmen Paul McCormick and Sheryl McMahon in the May 14 town election, because, he said, it’s time for some “fiscal responsibility.”

Watts, a retired businessman who has lived in Dennis for 32 years, criticized the selectmen for joining Aquaculture Research Corp.’s ultimately successful lawsuit against a regional historic commission that had prohibited the turbine’s construction.

“The ARC case is indicative of poor use of public funds,” Watts said.

McCormick, who has been a selectman since 2001 and is current board chairman, said the wind turbine court case cost the town a little more than $30,000.

The selectmen participated in the suit, McCormick said, to support the Dennis Historical Commission, which had deemed the turbine appropriate for the proposed location.

The selectmen were demonstrating support for the continued vitality of the shellfish hatchery.

“It’s a very unusual business and supplies seed from almost Deer Island to Block Island,” McCormick said.

Watts said the court case expenditure isn’t the only concern he has. He noted the financial implications of some proposed town hall renovations, as well as a ballot question to staff an ambulance on the north side of town through a $356,376 tax increase.

Watts said he believed the ambulance proposal could lead to additional future costs.

McMahon, a selectman since 2004, defended her board’s financial decisions, saying the panel “has done a phenomenal job, considering the financial times.”

McMahon called Watts “basically a one-issue candidate.”

The three will have the opportunity to face off at a candidates night planned for April 24.

Other than the three-way race for the two selectmen’s seats, the only contest on the spring ballot is a six-way race for three constable terms.

Cape Wind Supporters Make Renewed P.R. Push

March 18th, 2013 by Michael Miller

Just in from the Cape Cod Time’s Matt Camara:

Cape Wind Map

Cape Wind’s proposed location

Offshore wind energy supporters blitzed the U.S. Department of Energy last week with comments aimed at pushing the agency into giving the $2.6 billion Cape Wind project a loan guarantee.

“Cape Wind carries tremendous importance for unleashing, at long last, one of America’s greatest reservoirs of inexhaustible clean energy,” wrote some two dozen environmental, public health and labor groups in a letter to the DOE. “Such action will help lay the strongest possible foundation for offshore renewable energy development in the United States.”

The wind farm is fully permitted and awaiting a decision on whether the DOE will provide the loan guarantee — meaning the department would take responsibility for the project’s debt in the event of a bankruptcy — but a spokesman declined to say how much Cape Wind hopes the government would put up.

“There would be many other commercial financing partners involved with Cape Wind,” spokesman Mark Rodgers said Friday night, adding that the guarantee would be “a great help.”

Cape Wind’s application for a roughly $2 billion DOE loan was put on hold in 2011. It has now been pared to about $350 million, a source with knowledge of the request told the Cape Cod Times last week.

The push from Cape Wind’s supporters came after a pair of congressmen wrote to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, expressing concern over the controversy surrounding the project and demanding all records associated with Cape Wind.

U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, R-Ga., and James Lankford, R-Okla., who sit on technology and energy policy subcommittees, sent two letters to Chu asking for the records and all pending applications for two DOE loan guarantee programs before a decision is made.

The agency will consider any new information before deciding whether to approve a loan for Cape Wind, David Frantz, the energy agency’s acting executive director of the loan programs office, wrote in an initial response to Broun and Lankford. The department has made no decision on whether to issue a conditional commitment or loan guarantee for Cape Wind, he wrote.

Rodgers said Broun and Lankford’s letters were likely political plays aimed at the Obama administration, not at Cape Wind, and that the Georgia congressman recently supported an $8 billion guarantee for a nuclear project in his home state.

The public comment period for the guarantee closed March 11, the day Cape Wind supporters sent the DOE their comments.

Cape Wind opponents, however, said that even with the loan guarantee there is no certainty the project will move forward. The project remains mired in five lawsuits and has yet to find private investors, said Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

Material from The Associated Press and staff writer Patrick Cassidy was used in this report.

Coming to Cinema Salem

October 15th, 2012 by Daniel Coffin

Thanks to some good old fashioned lobbying by a fan up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, we’ll be coming back to the state a bit early!  On Sunday, November 11, we’ll have a big kickoff screening, you know, green carpet,* bike limos and myself, Producer Dan Coffin in attendance.  The Sunday screening is scheduled for 10am at Salem Cinema — tickets information to follow.

We’ve been looking forward to getting back on the big screen, and with the Cape Wind controversy heating up, what better time?

Following the kickoff, Cape Spin! will be playing once daily right up through Thanksgiving, so mark your calendars!  And of course, if you’re in the New York City area, we’ll be at that little cinema downtown (Lincoln Center) on Tuesday, November 13.  With any luck, we’ll be seeing some more of this:

Cape Spin! Sold Out

* – Everyone brings their own green carpet — it’s a metaphor!

Returning to Theaters in the U.S.

October 12th, 2012 by Daniel Coffin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cape Spin! Opens Theatrically at Lincoln Center;
Makes World Tour; Released to Educators

Spokespersons for the smash-hit political/energy satire Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle announced today that the film would make its New York City debut at LincolnCenter November 13 at 6:30pm as part of the prestigious “Art of the Real” series (details here).  In addition, a Cape Spin! publicist announced the film would also open theatrically in New York at Lincoln Center Cinemas in January and was now available to educators through a distributor, The Video Project.

A group of Cape Spin! marketers, ad-men and PR flacks made the announcement from a location near their studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn.  They went on to say that “Cape Spin! is currently on a whirlwind world tour. On August 17, the film was shown at an overflowing public square at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland. On September 4, it played to an ecstatic crowd in Melbourne, Australia at the Environmental Film Festival there [see video testimonials from Down Under]. They loved it at the Greentopia Film and Music Festival in Rochester on the 13th; it was invited back to the Netherlands for the ForumDwarsdiep in Groningen, and is now traveling all over Holland; and it played in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the Take One Action Film Festival on September 28th and October 4th.”

A spokesperson continued: “Of course we are so pleased that audiences all over the world are loving Cape Spin’s unique blend of humor, artistry and objective reportage.  We set out to make an informative, entertaining film that would allow the audience to make up their own minds about the many issues surrounding the U.S.’s first proposed off-shore windfarm.  People are thirsty for truly objective storytelling.  Luckily, most Americans and others worldwide have not yet lost the ability to think freely!!”

The spokesman paused and slowly looked around the room, perhaps for effect.  Then, in a more serious tone, he went on:  “It is a matter of extreme importance that the next generation of Americans learn the habits of critical thinking that make for effective citizenship.  That’s why we’re so pleased that the film is now available to educators at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels though our partners at the Video Project [purchase here].  If more people learned earlier in life that most news is just a series of corporate and government press releases, crafted to suit the needs of powerful interest groups, we would have a much healthier democracy. Studying Cape Spin! is a good step in the right direction.”