Taxpayer handouts to BigWind = good or bad? Let’s review…

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Do we, the USA taxpayers, benefit by supporting BigWind with massive subsidies? Well, you know our opinion, but look at what these experts from Texas say…TEACH your neighbors and friends. The argument against BigWind cannot not be won by merely c/o sound, noise,flicker etc.  The biggest argument should be about the finances. It is the finances that keep them coming back for more acreage!!!…..

Wind energy is a $14 billion industry made up of wind facilities, turbine manufacturers, and financiers. While the industry grew over the past few decades, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and its corporate members pushed for new and continued subsidies that would en- able large energy corporations to profit at the expense of taxpayers.

This study investigates the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the corporate beneficiaries of billions of taxpayer dollars. The PTC is a federal subsidy for the commercial production of wind energy that provides a $24 tax credit for each megawatt- hour of energy sold. It is scheduled to phase out and expire at the end of 2019.

This report finds:

  • The PTC costs taxpayers billions of dollars in revenue. In 2017 the PTC cost $4.2 billion. The PTC will cost at least an additional $48 billion before it fully phases out as currently scheduled.
  • The PTC is a subsidy that benefits a few energy corporations. Only 15 parent companies account for more than three-fourths of all PTC eligibility—more than $19 billion in 10 years (2007-2016).
  • The PTC distorts electricity markets. The PTC encourages wind energy producers to accept negative prices. The negative prices in- crease costs for other energy producers and electricity suppliers.
  • The PTC operates within a web of wind energy incentives that increase costs to taxpayers, further distort electricity markets, and benefit large corporations.
  • Providing subsidies for wind energy benefits large corporations while distorting electricity markets. To further simplify the tax code, federal legislators should resist calls to renew the PTC and instead allow it to fully expire at the end of 2019.

Link to full publication

Love of $ is the root of all evil (BigWind)

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It seems more and more that the pursuit of money is the only justification left for building wind facilities.  In today’s issue, the article “Love of Money is the Root of All Evil” is included.  Maybe it will resonate with your experience or maybe you might like it share it with your elected officials.

A quote from the article states:  “This general affluence, however, brings neither an increase in human decency nor real happiness.  Instead, the more gadgetry we have, the more choices we have in the marketplace, the more economic security we have – if we have defined those as the center of our lives – the more desperately wretched we become inside.  Moreover, no one who makes money the center of his life is ever satisfied with what he has.  The lust for wealth is a narcotic just as insidious as heroin or pornography.  It consumes us.  We barter away everything that ought to matter in our lives and silently mock those things that truly matter, and we encourage the rest of us to mock those things as well.

 A letter to the Editor from a resident of Tipton County, Indiana amplifies the above quote.  Jane Harper writes, “Wind companies prey on counties with weak ordinances. Think about why they chose you. It’s nothing more than a business deal to them in order to make money and they care not about the chronic wounds of strife left behind. To most, the price of happiness and serenity and community cohesiveness is price-less, and no amount of money flashed in front of county leaders from a wind company “for the good of the county” will make a measurable positive difference in one’s daily lives.  So the “numbers” of what “wind” brings to the community are immaterial if you all believe that happiness does not have a price tag.”

 Do county commissioners, township trustees and school board officials understand that to most of their constituents, the justification of money coming into the community will not really make a “measurable positive difference in one’s daily life”  because the happiness of their constituents does not have a price tag?

Elsewhere in the news:

 

  • The Van Wert School Board writes an open letter to the community to justify why they are willing to barter away serenity and community cohesiveness in exchange for money saying, “Wind revenue is important to VWCS because it would allow the district to continue to meet prudent student and facility needs for a longer period, without going to the voters.”   How arrogant. What a lousy bargain.

 

  • The Sandusky Register reports on the annual bird migration across Lake Erie. “ In recent news, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology introduced a real-time animated bird migration map called BirdCast which shows actual nocturnal bird migration patterns based upon 23 years of U.S. NEXRAD weather radar surveillance observations. Only recently has the magnitude of nocturnal migration been realized, with many species flying great distances at night at altitudes dictated by species and weather conditions. As wind farms continue to be built and expanded without proper oversight concerning their locations, millions of birds and bats, including endangered species will suffer accelerated, unsustainable additive mortality rates, which continue to be hidden from the scientific community and by extension, the general public.”  On a small positive note, Lucas County Commissioners have agreed to support turning off all non-essential lighting during the migration.

 

  • In Hardin County, the Ada Exempted Village School District Board of Education has authorized legal action against two companies over their failure to remove an inoperable wind turbine on school district property.  The turbine was struck by lightning in 2016 and the developer has refused to repair it.  The turbine is inoperable and needs to be removed.  The taxpayers may get saddled with the expense if legal action fails. What about the ONU turbines? 2 out of 3 were not working in the past few years…
  • General Motors will buy 200 megawatts of wind energy from Ohio and Illinois wind farms in a move the company said will power 20% of its global energy use. The electricity will be generated by wind farms under construction in Ohio – including the 60 turbine 100-megawatt Northwest Ohio Wind Farm in Haviland – and Indiana. “They will enable GM to power all its Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities with 100% renewable sources once the turbines come online by year’s end, according to the company”.    Haviland is a village of about 200 people located in Paulding County.  One commenter on this story noted “Nice project but misleading. Those GM plants will need on line generators to run 24/7 because the wind does not blow all the time…and the sun does not shine much of the time around here. Since corporations are willing to buy into this type of energy, the need for tax breaks has long since passed. All the tax breaks do is give these turbines unfair competition to the nuke and coal plants that provide the back up to run 24/7, not to mention tax revenue losses to local and state governments. These nuke and coal plants won’t run forever, but they still have useful life in them and employ a lot more people that wind turbines.”    The project is under construction in Blue Creek and Latty townships.
  • Icebreaker Windpower proposes to construct six wind turbines located approximately 8-10 miles offshore Cleveland. Each turbine would have a nameplate capacity rating of 3.45 MW, resulting in a combined generating capacity of 20.7 MW. The project would include an approximately 12-mile-long submerged electric transmission line to transmit the electricity generated by the turbines to Cleveland Public Power’s onshore Lake Road substation.  A public hearing on the project is scheduled for July 19 at 6 p.m. at Cleveland City Council Chambers in Cleveland City Hall.  An adjudicatory hearing in this proceeding will begin at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. Icebreaker is being aggressively promoted by a group called Windustrious Cleveland under the direction of Sarah Taylor who thinks filling up the Great Lakes with wind turbines will reverse climate change.

 

  • A mystery man from North Olmsted in Cuyahoga County by the name of Tom Schock writes a letter of support for the Dolan setback bill.  We don’t know who Schock is but he has been popping up in papers in different cities for a number of years advocating for reduced setbacks.  Schock was writing back when Cliff Hite was making efforts to reduce setbacks.  Readers should be aware that this fellow is kind of a career letter to the Editor writer and he is writing from a community that will never see a wind turbine.

 

  • A Seneca County couple writes a letter to the editor after being offered a good neighbor agreement.  The proposed contract would pay them $500 a year to waive adverse effects and comply with a confidentiality clause. They have filed a complaint with the PUCO.

 

  • The Ohio Country Journal distributed across Ohio to farmers and rural landowners waded into the setback controversy.  The reporter is a graduate of OSU and Benjamin Logan High School in Bellefontaine. Joel Penhorwood writes for the Ag community and lives on a farm in the Bellefontaine area.  In his article, Penhorwood coveys the money justification for reducing setbacks and granting PILOT echoed by Sen. Dolan and State Rep. Reineke of Tiffin. With respect to projects planned for Seneca County, Commissioner Holly Stacy is quoted saying “In order for our community to have the opportunities that others have had, what you’re hearing today is what we must do. We must have some change in the Ohio regulations for the wind industry. Otherwise that economic development can’t happen in the other sections of the state. Our county has had the local control, and we made that evident by previous commissioners putting the PILOT in place in Seneca County.” The article reinforces Dolan’s misguided belief that the ability to grant PILOT constitutes local control of wind development.

 

  • In Seneca County, the County Commissioners continue to hear from residents opposed to industrial wind development that would destroy their community and create safety issues. They were joined in their opposition by firefighters concerned about the ability of medical helicopters to reach people living near the turbines in the event of emergency. Again, instead of addressing the concerns of the people, Apex manager Dalton Carr defaulted to the money that could be generated saying “the area would realize at least $90 million in revenues, even if the devices don’t operate.” 

 

  • American Electric Power (AEP) expects to learn the fate of its 2GW Wind Catcher project by the end of June, later than it had hoped, although chief executive Nicholas Akins insists the wind farm could still be built in time to meet the production tax credit’s (PTC) deadline. Wind Catcher faces lengthening odds, not least because any further delays could make it difficult to build the 800-turbine wind farm by the end of 2020, in time to lock in the full PTC. Wind Catcher, among the largest advanced-stage wind projects in the world, would be built in the Oklahoma panhandle, and deliver power to AEP customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. GE Renewable Energy is the turbine supplier.

 

  • The Natural Resources Defense Council makes clear that the only acceptable energy policy for Ohio is full wind and solar.  They want clean nuclear energy phased out and they want gas shut down while bombarding the state with renewables.  NRDC even takes a shot at property line setbacks knowing that their plan is a non-starter with safe setbacks.

 

  • In sharp contrast to the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council’s blather stands the reality of energy development on the eastern side of the state. It’s a signature of where growth in new energy will develop in America and what it will look like. This section of northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania – with its abundance of natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales – has emerged as the fulcrum for the industry’s future.” “What attracts power generation projects to Ohio is the abundance of low-cost natural gas derived from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays. Across Ohio, 11 new combined-cycle electrical generation plants worth an estimated $10.5 billion are either recently completed, under construction or in the planning or permit stages. These plants will provide meaningful, reliable power in an area of the state familiar with power production.  These plants will not be spread across thousands and thousands of acres of rural Ohio benefiting a few and destroying the landscape for precious little more than public $ubsidie$.

 

  • In Indiana, the Farm Bureau recently sent out membership information identifying counties with the highest membership numbers. Four out of five of counties with the highest % of members either fought or are fighting wind projects. Indiana wind warriors think It is time to send the Farm Bureau a message. In Fulton County, many members of the Fulton County Property Rights group did not renew their membership or insurance with Farm Bureau following their fight, and they let IFB know it is because Farm Bureau supports wind energy in Indiana.

 

  • In Hopkinton, NY the county commissioner equivalent body voted 4-0 to adopt a new law calling for a setback requirement of five times the total height of a turbine from non-participating property lines, public roads, wind overlay boundary, non-WECS building, farm or commercial structures or any above-ground utilities, registered historical sites and the APA boundary.  The local law requires adherence to a maximum 40 dBA at the nearest non-participating property line, school, hospital, place of worship or building existing at the time of the application.

 

  • In Oswego County, New York, local officials will provide no property tax abatement for developer Avangrid Renewables’s proposed Mad River Wind Farm“Just out of the concern for fairness for the rest of the county taxpayers,” said County Administrator Philip R. Church. “We understand that there are a variety of concerns to the impacts of the region up there.”  “Why not get full taxation if they are going to go through with it?”
  • Reflecting the urgency of reducing costs as $ubsidie$ are phased out, Buffalo NY manufacturer, Moog Inc announced it will exit the turbine pitch control system business. “Moog executives had hoped to jumpstart the wind energy business by developing a new line of more reliable pitch control systems for wind turbines. By tapping into Moog’s motion control expertise and designing new systems that used fewer components, the company believed its products would save wind farm operators money in the long run by lasting longer and reducing operating and maintenance expenses. But Moog’s new products cost more upfront, and wind turbine manufacturers, mainly based in China, were reluctant to adopt new systems that would push up the price of their turbine systems at a time when the wind energy market is highly competitive, Scannell said.”

 

  • A study by the Energy Information Administration concluded total federal $ubsidie$ for renewable energy dropped to $6.7 billion by the 2016 fiscal year, a 56 percent decline from 2013. “Though even with the decline, renewable energy consisted of 46 percent of total federal energy subsidies. U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry requested updated energy subsidy information as part of the office’s study on grid resiliency. Biofuels accounted for the largest share of 2016 energy subsidies in 2016, down from 77 percent in 2010 but up from 31 percent in 2013, largely due to the expiration of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in 2011.” 
  • “TerraForm Power’s electric generation fell by 7.5% in the first quarter, after the US yieldco switched off 70 turbines at its Raleigh and Bishop Hill farms to investigate the collapse of a Invenergy-built GE turbine earlier this year.  In January, a blade at a GE 1.5MW turbine spinning at the 78MW Raleigh wind farm in the Canadian province of Ontario cracked and sheared the tower, causing the tower to fold in half. No one was injured.  TerraForm’s Stinebaugh says. “What we are seeing, though, is that within the renewable power sector, development is becoming more capital intensive – and there’s a number of developers looking to align themselves with people who’ve got greater access to capital.”

 

  • In an effort to appear fresh and informative, long time wind-industry consultant Ben Hoen and wind friends have dusted off their old “study” about public acceptance of wind facilities.  They posit “In general, we have observed that the media coverage of attitudes toward wind energy tends to be very anecdotal. Vivid stories of suffering dominate the discussion, which is often devoid of fundamental or methodical analysis of public opinion, the severity of the associated annoyances or even the extent of discontent among people living next to or near wind farms.”   Hoen’s work has been challenged for years because he threw people living within a 1,000 feet of turbines into a pool of people living as far as five miles away.  His work was diluted then and is more suspect now that turbines have dramatically increased in size.  We see this effort to drag out an old “hedonic model” to cover over the real stories of real people as shameless. But we are not surprised.  Do these folks think we lack any common sense?  Hoen also claims there is no property devaluation.

 

If Hoen and his gang would like to dredge up old reports, we can do that too.  A study from the London School of Economics places a value on the extent of devaluation experienced by property located near wind turbines due to the VISUAL IMPACT of the turbines.  Touché….

VW schools

Ohio birding

GM Ohio wind site

Ohio IceBreaker

Ohio setbacks

Ohio NRDC

NY Big setbacks

Pay FULL taxes BigWind

China makes most BigWind machines

Fed subsidies

Canada blade/tower collapse

Wind turbine objections

 

BigWind getting 7 x THE SUBSIDIES of coal/gas… 7 x !!!

Aren’t you sick of the public being ‘hoodwinked’ about the subsidy game? All the electricity providers get subsidies- that is what we hear.  But, how much electricity do each of the players actually PRODUCE? The difference between coal/gas/nuclear and BigWind is like comparing the value of a shortstop to that of a 2nd stringer on the bench! Let us pray that Rick Perry sees the truth and that he isn’t influenced by lobbyists to hide it. States like, Ohio, where BigWind is planning explosive growth, NEED the help of the federal government to keep these companies at bay…

When Energy Secretary Rick Perry requested a study of electric grid reliability, wind and solar energy lobbyists were predictably alarmed. Perry wanted to know how federal policies were shaping wholesale electricity markets and whether public policies were responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.

The government has long had a role in the electric power industry, so asking for a survey of its effects should not be controversial.

The reason for the alarm? The request mentioned government mandates and subsidies, which have driven wind and solar energy’s growth, as possible drivers of reliability concerns. The industry lobbyists are right to be sensitive. Despite constantly touting the rapidly falling cost of wind and solar, industry growth over the next decade depends on mandates and subsidies….

This “everybody does it” claim about subsidies needs to be put into perspective. DOE data from 2013 show that federal subsidies for coal and natural gas amount to about 0.05 cents per kWh of electricity, while wind gets 3.5 and solar receives 22 cents per kWh. This money is not an investment in the future, but rather a subsidy to developers and financiers for the installation of existing technology….

 

Source: DOE grid study has wind and solar lobbyists spooked — rightly so | TheHill

BigWind in Iowa raising electricity prices and scamming taxpayers. Will Ohio investigate?

Iowa brings BigWind ‘negative pricing’ to the mainstream discussion and it is about time! The American people need to understand the TRUTH about what BigWind does to our electricity prices and reliability. Ohioans need to say NO to Cliff Hite and his efforts to increase the number of turbines in our state! What is negative pricing? Here is an excerpt from The NorthBridge Group, “Why wind producers can pay us to take their power – and why that is a bad thing”. If you do not read this entire blog, please review the BOLD typing…

“The federal wind Production Tax Credit (“PTC”) was originally enacted in 1992 to jumpstart the wind energy industry.1 The PTC has since been extended…This paper focuses on one harmful, but often overlooked, aspect of the PTC – specifically how the PTC interacts with wholesale electricity markets to create the phenomenon of distortionary “negative prices.” While the concept of negative prices might at first glance seem to be a money-saver for electricity users, or at best a harmless phenomenon, in fact these negative prices are: (a) funded by taxpayers; (b) distorting wholesale electricity markets; and (c) harming conventional generation and imperiling reliability….

We find that:

The PTC undermines and distorts price signals in wholesale electricity markets by incenting PTC-subsidized wind producers to sell electricity at a loss to earn enormous tax subsidies.

This taxpayer-funded subsidy artificially depresses wholesale power prices, and in hours of the year when demand for electricity is low it can result in negative pricing…

Wind producers can readily turn wind turbines on and off, but have no incentive to do so because they still receive positive margins during negative price hours due to the PTC subsidy they earn when they generate. They have no incentive to curtail their output – which, absent the PTC, would be in their economic interest. The failure of wind generators to curtail output when wholesale prices approach zero has both short term and long term negative consequences. In the short term, the failure of wind producers to curtail output makes it more difficult for system operators to maintain reliability, and also makes it more costly for them to operate the regional electric grid.

In the long run, the PTC destabilizes the market for conventional electricity as generators that are not eligible for the PTC are significantly harmed by negative prices, both in terms of near-term daily operational decisions, as well as long-term decisions to build or retire generation.

America’s continued reliance on the PTC subsidy therefore will invariably deter investments in the conventional power generation needed to maintain a reliable electric system. Conventional generation is critical to reliability because wind generation often does not produce energy during times of peak electricity demand, while producing at high levels (and driving negative prices) when demand is low. In recent years, about 85% of total wind capacity has not operated during the peak hours on the highest demand days of the year, on average. Controllable conventional generation is thus needed to backstop wind and ensure the lights stay on….”

When Iowa utility regulators approved MidAmerican Energy Co.’s Wind VIII project in 2013, Gov. Terry Branstad (R) called the $1.9 billion, 1,050-megawatt build-out a “win-win” for the state.

But two years after turbines began spinning, victory is looking a little bit sweeter on the utility’s side of the ledger, according to the state’s consumer advocate.
The Office of Consumer Advocate, part of the Iowa attorney general’s office, said MidAmerican is unfairly benefiting by seeking to pass through to ratepayers $3.7 million in costs for producing wind energy when wholesale energy prices are negative while keeping the associated federal production tax credits.
“It is not equitable that MidAmerican receive the benefits while its customers’ [sic] bear the costs,” Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling said in a prehearing brief filed earlier this week….

Source: WIND: Consumers contend Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy reaping PTCs at their expense — Friday, March 17, 2017 — www.eenews.net E&E News — Start a free trial

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/exelon.pdf

BigWind proves why wind turbines will cost USA jobs and security

WOW, the evidence is clear. BigWind will raise electric rates, lessen our energy security and, ultimately, cost Americans jobs. What entity, whether it be a state or country, can sustain such illogical policies? These poor decisions, driven by politics and green lobbying, will hurt the American poor the most. Subsidies steal money from necessary social programs and increase tax bases. BigWind has become the BigBully and it is time that citizens tell their legislators to grow some balls or get out of politics….Let’s start with Ohio Senator Cliff Hite, who is clearly a BigWind bully buddy…

New York state is paying 11 large wind and solar power projects two times more in subsidies than the projects actually generate in electricity.New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $360 million in spending over the weekend, but didn’t reveal the precise amount of funding for each project. …State officials are handing out the equivalent of $24.24 per megawatt-hour over the next 20 years to the 11 projects. Wind turbines can get an additional $23 per megawatt-hour in federal tax credits.The electricity generated by these 11 projects, however, will only sell for an average of $16.25 per megawatt-hour, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the state’s power grid regulator, sharply criticized Cuomo’s plan to boost state green energy use, saying that it could cause blackouts and would make it hard to ensure reliable electricity… 

Cuomo’s green energy czar responded by saying that NYISO was being “held captive” by special interests and lacks “understanding into the imperative to address climate change.”

Solar and wind power get 326 and 69 times more in subsidies than coal, oil and natural gas for the comparative amount of energy generated, according to 2013 Department of Energy data collected by Forbes. Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear energy according to data from the EIA.

New York state currently gets less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind and solar, according to EIA.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/16/in-new-york-wind-and-solar-get-double-their-value-in-subsidies/#ixzz4bUba0syZ

Source: New York Wind And Solar Get Double Their Value In Subsidies | The Daily Caller

Will the Renewable Energy ‘house of cards’ FALL in the USA?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released a report agreeing with the renewable industries’ dual claim that even though technologies like wind and solar power are now cost-competitive with conventional energy sources, governments should continue to subsidize them(say what??). This rhetoric suggests that American taxpayer dollars should continue to prop up the profitability of select companies compared with what the free market would objectively and more efficiently determine.

In other words, the IEA implicitly confirms that by removing government support, many renewable energy companies would collapse like a house of cards because they aren’t competitive without it. Further, the report concludes that without government subsidies for renewable companies, investors would not be comfortable investing private capital.

Why then would the U.S. government want America to put all of her eggs in a renewables basket? Warren Buffet, billionaire and major investor in wind energy, has admitted that wind isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. “The only reason to build them [wind farms]” is the subsidies; “They don’t make sense without” them….

The IEA report confirms that renewable energy technologies depend more on government action than fossil-fuel based investments. Unlike renewables, coal and natural gas producers can respond to market signals by adjusting their output and operating costs. Texas is at the center of this debate over preserving renewable subsidies because the state leads the nation with 18.2 GW of combined installed wind and solar capacity. The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard’s (RPS) goal of reaching 10,000 MW by 2025 was met in 2010, 15 years ahead of schedule. The Texas Legislature now faces a dilemma of whether to increase the costly RPS after long meeting its goal…

Since the RPS was not increased or made voluntary, renewable energy credits for new projects have become even more scarce than they were during the boom of projects in the early 2000s. Despite this, Texas has reached 16 GW of installed wind capacity since the boom and now produces roughly 20 percent of the nation’s wind-powered electricity generation.

Given the scarcity of renewable energy credits, how did Texas renewables achieve this growth?

According to the IEA, about one-third of the 4.8 GW of wind power installed in Texas in 2014 was financed using “synthetic power purchase agreements,” also known as hedges. Under these agreements, the power producer sells its electricity directly into the wholesale spot market and receives the prevailing market price. To compensate for the unpredictability of market prices, however, the power producer signs a contract for a financial product known as a “hedge” to provide protection against volatility and increase the stability of future cash flows.

These agreements effectively enable project developers, in combination with federal tax incentives, to secure debt and equity financing required to finance their projects.* …

Regarding renewables, producers are hedging their bets on production with synthetic power purchase agreements to ensure profitability despite receiving government subsidies. All this to finance energy that cannot be produced when it’s not windy or sunny outside…

It’s time for Texas to take a closer look at the effect of increasing renewable generation and steer the competitive electricity market away from growing subsidies for unreliable energy sources. Once Texas, the nation’s leading energy producer, starts to move the dial, other states and the federal government should follow to allow free markets to work instead of contributing to a boom and bust cycle.

Source: The Renewable Energy House of Cards | RealClearEnergy

WHY is BigWind HERE? Read this excellent analysis

 

Outstanding analysis showing us WHY BigWind has entered our states…READ ALL THE BOLDS, IF NOTHING ELSE

…Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.” There’s no doubt that wind-energy capacity has grown substantially in recent years. But that growth has been fueled not by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money. According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the U.S. wind industry is now $176 billion.

That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000. (Most of the federal grants have been awarded since 2007.) Of the $176 billion provided to the wind-energy sector, $2.9 billion came from local and state governments; $9.4 billion came from federal grants and tax credits; and $163.9 billion was provided in the form of federal loans or loan guarantees. General Electric — the biggest wind-turbine maker in North America — has a seat on AWEA’s board….

NextEra Energy, the largest wind-energy producer in the U.S., has received about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion….

About $6.8 billion in subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees went to foreign corporations, including Iberdrola, Siemens, and E.On. Those three companies, and five other foreign companies, have seats on AWEA’s board of directors. Many of the companies on the AWEA board will be collecting even more federal subsidies over the next few years. In December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the latest renewal of the production tax credit will cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now until 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

That’s an astounding level of subsidy. In 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, during times of peak demand, the average wholesale price of electricity was about $50 per megawatt-hour. Last winter in Texas, peak wholesale electricity prices averaged $21 per megawatt hour. Thus, on the national level, wind-energy subsidies are worth nearly half the cost of wholesale power, and in the Texas market, those subsidies can actually exceed the wholesale price of electricity.

Of course, wind-energy boosters like to claim that the oil-and-gas sector gets favorable tax treatment, too. That may be so, but those tax advantages are tiny when compared with the federal gravy being ladled on wind companies. Recall that the production tax credit is $23 per megawatt-hour. A megawatt-hour of electricity contains 3.4 million Btu. That means wind-energy producers are getting a subsidy of $6.76 per million Btu. The current spot price of natural gas is about $2.40 per million Btu. Thus, on an energy-equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market price of natural gas….

Keep in mind that the $176 billion figure in wind-energy subsidies is a minimum number. It counts only subsidies given to companies on AWEA’s board. Not counted are subsidies handed out to companies like Google, which got part of a $490 million federal cash grant for investing in an Oregon wind project. Nor does it include the $1.5 billion in subsidies given to SunEdison, the now-bankrupt company that used to have a seat on AWEA’s board. (To download the full list of subsidies garnered by AWEA’s board members, click here.)…

 

Source: Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism, by Robert Bryce, National Review

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