BigWind’s ‘rent seeking’ parade at Ohio Senate Bill 310 hearing

BigWind is a ‘rent seeker’. What is this? When a company, organization or individual uses their resources to obtain an economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits back to society through wealth creation. An example of rent-seeking is when a company lobbies the government for loan subsidies, grants or tariff protection. These activities don’t create any benefit for society, they just redistribute resources from the taxpayers to the special-interest group.

At the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee meeting, yesterday, there were about 30 witnesses who testified either for or against SB 310 to freeze the renewable mandate. AWEA, Iberdrola, Invenergy, EDPR, NextEra and Everpower were all on parade. Each strongly objected to any freeze on renewable energy. Each talked about the “investment” they had made or would make in wind energy if the renewable mandate law is unchanged. They argued endlessly that it was not right to change the rules of the game. We smiled when Senator Seitz rolled his eyes at a witness and said “That’s why the laws of Ohio are called the Ohio REVISED code. We revise and revise and revise!” It was particularly annoying to see these companies trying to justify their existence by pointing to their “investment” in Ohio. We remind you this is something the industry does regularly to maintain their access to money they did not earn: money that you and I earned and then paid to our state and federal governments in taxes. The wind industry receives about 2/3 of its cost recovery from taxpayers in the form of tax credits, grants, loan guarantees, special depreciation schemes, tax abatements and the like, according to a 2011 Internal White House Memo from staff to President Obama” The investment touted by the wind companies is our money they have taken from us through rent-seeking.

Speaking for Everpower, Jason Dagger’s rent-seeking went beyond the company to his own employment with Everpower and his family’s wind leases. His testimony came off as “you must do this for me!”

“In 2008, before being employed by EverPower, my family was approached about a lease for wind development in 2008. My family closely followed the discussion of SB 221 as we reviewed the lease to educate ourselves on wind power and what clean energy might do for Ohio’s economy and environment. Soon after, I was pleased to be hired into a well-paying wind industry job. Everpower has since hired additional local people and opened an Ohio Office. Now, SB 310 threatens our jobs. As well threaten the potential benefit to our farm from the lease we signed. “ Jason Dagger testimony 4-30-14

While the wind companies were whining on and on about the “losses” they would suffer, Iberdrola was posting a first quarter gain in its earnings despite a 91% drop in Spanish revenue due to subsidy cut-backs. Why? “That financial hit was offset by a strong contribution from the group’s international division, however, with underlying earnings from its renewables business rising 32 per cent in the UK and 28 per cent in the US.”,Authorised=false.html?

We trust the taxpayers of Van Wert and Paulding County as well as Ohio’s ratepayers are pleased to have bailed out this foreign entity while families struggle to make ends meet. On that regard we draw your attention to the attached testimony of Rochelle Fisher on behalf of Habitat for Humanity in support of SB 310 …

Rochelle Fisher SB 310 Testimony 04.30.14