We routinely blog about the negative impacts of industrial wind turbines- impacts on our grid, our economy, health, communities etc. But what about a direct impacts of giving this industry so much of our tax dollars? Self-preservation. The ‘Green’ industry has become one of, if not the most powerful lobbying group in Washington D.C. Don’t believe me? Then read through our home page. Near the bottom, we compare the subsidies between energy sectors. BigWind clearly comes out of top, well ahead of BigOil. What other sector of our economy is given such handouts? We can think of none…
A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.
To ensure the opportunity didnt slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.
But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nations windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up subsidies, draws complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist reforms. The tension could have broad implications for the expansion of wind power in other parts of the country.
“What weve got in this state is a time bomb just waiting to go off,” said Frank Robson, a real estate developer from Claremore in northeast Oklahoma. “And the fuse is burning, and nobody is paying any attention to it.”…
Oklahoma went from three farms with 113 turbines a decade ago to more than 30 projects and 1,700 active turbines today.
With the expansion came political clout. The industry has nearly a dozen registered lobbyists working to stop new regulations and preserve generous subsidies that are expected to top $40 million this year.
Evidence of that influence can be seen at the Statehouse. A bill by the Senate president pro tem to ban any new wind farms in the eastern half of the state was quickly scuttled in the House. When state Rep. Earl Sears tried to amend the proposal to include basic regulations for the industry, lobbyists killed that idea, too….