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

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“Paying” a BigPrice for BigWind

We have, over the years, repeatedly blogged about how renewables will RAISE electricity prices, NOT lower them, as BigWind touts. Unfortunately, our words are clouded by the loud mouths of BigWind…an industry that has now received Bigpaychecks from the US taxpayers for more than 30 years! Proof of OUR claims are below, right here in the USA. Texas electricity rates are HIGHER, not lower, with BigWind. Is this truth being shared? Not nearly enough. If you read the entire article, you will find that this community is now well known, among the renewable world, for its success in becoming 100% renewable.  Unfortunately, the same renewable world is not being 100% honest, in its reporting…
Georgetown, Texas, just 30-miles north of Austin, earned international acclaim after announcing its transition to a 100% renewable energy portfolio. Since mid-2018, all electricity consumed by the City, its residents and businesses, is sourced from a combination of wind and solar plants operating in the state. Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, a CPA, touted the decision as a “no-brainer” grounded in economics and long-term strategic planning. For Ross, wind and solar were cheaper, more reliable, and the way of the future.
The shift to renewables put Georgetown on the green energy map and raised Mayor Ross’ public profile leading to national media interviews and a coveted spot in Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.” Plaudits aside, Georgetown ratepayers were promised measureable reductions in their power expenses. The City’s 2016 annual budget anticipated an overall 10.8% decrease in electric utility expenses from the prior year’s projections owing largely to renewables.
But now that Georgetown is ‘running’ on wind and solar, its officials are facing a harsh reality.
Actual power purchases for 2016 were 22% over budget coming in at $42.6 million against an expected cost of $35 million. In 2017, costs surged again to $52.5 million and all indications are Georgetown electricity customers will take another bath this year. (See table 2)
TABLE 2
Georgetown, Texas Budget/Cost Data
(all figures taken from City budgets posted online)
Year Demand (MWh) Initial
Budget ($)
Amended
Budget ($)
Actual
Costs ($)
2011 547,476 37,448,760 35,018,526 37,455,227
2012 537,986 39,149,279 36,880,197 36,278,168
2013 544,340 34,550,709  29,020,574 27,689,893
2014 565,518 36,768,008 33,012,132 38,384,323
2015 590,029 37,073,038 37,073,038 40,538,526
2016 605,020 34,000,000 35,000,000 42,622,904
2017 621,464  38,000,000 44,000,000 52,526,535
2018 640,108*  44,000,000 52,000,000  tbd
2019 659,311*  48,000,000 tbd
…It’s no secret that renewable energy is flooding the Texas power market and depressing prices, especially during off-peak, off-season periods. ERCOT regularly reports real-time energy prices so the information was there for the City and everyone else to see. Power contracts and federal subsidies further encourage drops as wind and solar resources become immune to market signals and can afford to generate even when prices go negative.

Van Wert blade shear gets NO media attention? Help us change this!

Against the backdrop of an upcoming election and a diminishing legislative calendar, the wind lobby is working overtime to press its case for reduced setbacks.   President Trump is a broken record on fake news but what about “no news”?   A blade failure occurred at Avangrid’s Van Wert County Blue Creek project on August 26th.    The turbines in the project are 476’ and a 10-foot section was documented by the local people via use of a drone to have flown approximately 825’.    Neither a 1.1x turbine height from the property line nor a 1.2x distance as suggested in H.B. 114 would have protected the neighbors, children or livestock from the thrown fragment.   

 

In this recent case, it appears the “systems” designed to stop the turbine did not work.  The rotor continued to spin for at least ten minutes after the blade fragment was thrown.  Neighbors called 911.  The Avangrid representative arrived two hours after the failure.  As far as we know, there has been NO media report or statement from the Blue Creek operator. 

 

Likewise, in Texas where a blade failure caused an overspeed situation and possibility of fire, a family of five was evacuated from their home.   There has been almost no press coverage of this event which occurred on the same day as Blue Creek   Lack of access to timely, actual  failure reports is one more compelling reason for statutory protective setbacks measured from property lines.  As seen in the story below, the mechanical safeguards intended to prevent the Texas overspeed situation, did not work.  ….

Texas family forced to leave home

BigWind FIRE…Will Ohio Senators support us or them?

Senator Cliff Hite has introduced an amendment in the Ohio budget, which will allow BigWind to plant an industrial wind energy turbine very close to the home of Ohioans.  By looking at this picture (and the others at the source website), does ANYONE think this is a good idea? If you do, you need your brain examined. Senator Hite has been brainwashed by BigWind lobbyists.  Maybe it’s time for Senator Hite to take a hike!….

A wind turbine caught fire Wednesday afternoon in the Texas panhandle, but officials are still working to determine what caused it….

Source: Wind turbine catches fire in Texas panhandle – KTXS

4 windy states pull the rug out from under BigWind

It is time for BigWind to stand on its own 2 feet! Last week was a sad week for renewables. The four leading US wind states, Oklahoma, California, Texas and Iowa are all cutting back on subsidies for wind.  “The wind industry feels betrayed.” The Oklahoma Gov. wants to go a step further an impose a tax on wind while in Texas there is movement to get rid of 10 year PILOT payment/tax abatement programs. California’s issues concern land use because no one wants the turbines near them.  In Iowa, transmission needed to carry the power out of the state is facing regulatory hurdles.   The wind industry is doing their expected “woe is me” theatrics while “Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.  The windies are blaming the oil and gas industry lobbyists for their “problems’. Will Ohio politicians pay attention to these realities and PROTECT our citizens from these problems? Don’t expect Ohio Senator Hite to care about these truths.  He supports BigWind, irregardless of the facts. Wave some cash in his district and he goes blind to the truth.  If you reside near him, would you please educate?…

A stinging political setback in Oklahoma and problems brewing elsewhere could short-circuit future wind industry growth, writes Richard A Kessler in Fort Worth…

10 May 2017

Back in November, the US wind sector could never have imagined that four of its leading wind states would be a greater source of industry uncertainty than President Donald Trump.

Events in Oklahoma have raised concerns over states’ readiness to continue subsidy support in an era of budget cutbacks and fiscal constraints, while potential trouble is also brewing in California, Iowa and Texas, suggesting that the industry’s ability to lobby effectively on crucial issues will soon be put to the test.

In March and April, by an overwhelming margin, Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated Senate and House voted to roll back the remaining state tax incentive for wind energy to 1 July, breaking an earlier pledge to preserve it until the end of 2020. It was signed into law by Republican Governor Mary Fallin on 17 April.

The wind industry feels betrayed. “Changing the investment rules in the middle of the game sends a message to every investor in America that Oklahoma can’t be expected to honor its economic development commitments,” says Jeff Clark, executive director of regional advocacy group The Wind Coalition.

Facing large budget shortfalls, Republican Governor Mary Fallin is in no mood to debate the issue, saying the sector was “incentivized sufficiently to now be a major player in the Oklahoma energy industry”. She also wants to also slap a $5/MWh tax on wind energy production — five times what Wyoming collects, the only other state to do so….

In neighbouring Texas, the leading wind state, the industry is under attack from lawmakers who want to limit or prohibit counties and school districts from using a popular ten-year property tax abatement scheme known as Chapter 313 to attract new wind projects…

Meanwhile, in California, zoning boards and other regulatory bodies are, for various reasons, restricting land use so much that wind activity has slowed to a crawl.  The number-four wind state did not install a single megawatt in 2016 and had only 131MW under construction this year.

Analysts warn that if this trend continues, California could have to import 80% of the estimated 10GW of new wind capacity it may need to meet a 50% renewables mandate by 2030.

And in Iowa, the second-ranking wind state, merchant transmission developer Clean Line Energy Partners is struggling to obtain necessary regulatory approvals for its $2bn Rock Island project that it says would lead to $7bn in new wind farm investments…

Without it, the industry will not be able to continue all its planned massive wind expansion there, as future supply will exceed domestic needs. Iowa already generates more of its electricity from wind power — 36.6% in 2016 — than any state.

Lessons from Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s early sunset of the $5/MWh Zero-Emissions Facilities Tax Credit is particularly troubling for the wind industry, as it represented a high-profile political setback in one of its fastest-growing markets. The move will also be financially painful for developers.

“This is the type of thing the industry doesn’t want to have happen. It sets a precedent and empowers other states to pursue similar legislation,” says Luke Lewandowski, research manager at MAKE Consulting…

The independent, non-partisan think tank estimates this would be an increase from an estimated $460.5m year earlier — a huge chunk of lost revenue considering the entire state budget is less than $7bn. By comparison, latest official data shows wind energy producers claimed $59.7m in zero-emission credits and $29.6m in for an exemption on local property taxes in the 2016-17 financial year. Wind investment in Oklahoma over the last decade exceeds $12bn…

Oklahoma wind developers currently use the zero-emission incentive to reduce their tax liability during the initial decade a wind farm generates power. Unused credits are also refundable in cash for 85% of face value. So developers stand to lose millions of dollars if they cannot bring under-construction projects into operation by 1 July…

Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.

Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute, a public policy group in the state capital that favours limited government, disputes the notion that Oklahoma is turning against the wind industry or engaging in discrimination. He says the industry no longer needs incentives as the state did what it could to help it grow. Oklahoma also met its voluntary 15% renewables mandate by 2015.

“I think everybody feels like we’ve done our part,” he says. “We’ve done enough for them at this point and they need to stand on their own two feet.”…

 

 

Source: The coming threat from US wind states | Recharge

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

Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets and Hidden Costs to USA!

Are you confused as to why renewables can COST us $? And how can anyone say that they DON’T reduce our carbon emissions? Read below, and you will find excellent analyses of why they do NOT belong on our grid and how they will cost all of us in our pocketbook.  Thank you Governor Kasich and our legislators for passing SB 310 to ‘freeze’ our renewable mandates while their effects are studied!…

…In May of this year, President Obama declared the shift to clean energy a “fight” that was about shaping the sector “that is probably going to have more to do with how well our economy succeeds than just about any other.” At least on that, the president was right. If we get energy wrong, America will throw away the world-leading energy advantages bestowed on it by geology, technology, and capitalism….

Presenting the administration’s Clean Power Plan, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy admitted it was not about pollution control. “It’s about investments inrenewables and clean energy,” she told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in July. “This is an investment strategy.” The president’s favorite corporate-tax inverter has a different take on the nature of the investment opportunity. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms,” Warren Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway’s investors. “That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” While wind investors hoover up the $23 production tax credit per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced, the real costs of intermittent renewables such as wind and solar are many times greater. And they’re not even good at what they’re meant to do — reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Deriving a large proportion of energy from renewables is proving extremely costly for Germany…Despite lower economic growth in Germany than in the U.S., German emissions have been rising seven times faster — up 9.3 percent between 2009 and 2013 compared with 1.3 percent for the United States….

The closure of a nuclear-power station shows that something is amiss. Nuclear-power stations emit no carbon dioxide. Their running costs are low and much of the costs are unavoidable whether the stations are kept open or closed — construction and commissioning at the front-end, de-commissioning at the back. Since 2008, the output of America’s nuclear-power stations has fallen by 0.480 billion MWh, a decline of 6 percent. In a properly functioning market, this shouldn’t be happening….

To the life-cycle cost of renewables must be added short-term balancing and longer-term-capacity adequacy to match supply to demand. Because renewables output depends on the weather, an electricity system with a high proportion of renewables needs much more generating capacity. Without renewables, Britain would need 22GW of new capacity to replace aging coal and nuclear-power stations. With renewables, Britain will need 50GW, i.e., 28 GW extra to deal with the intermittency problem. And the more renewables in the system, the worse the problem is…

Levelized costs also ignore extra spending on grid infrastructure. Texas is the leading wind state, accounting for nearly 22 percent of the nation’s wind-generated electricity.  Transmitting electricity from wind farms in the rural north and west of the state to cities such as Dallas and Houston caused grid congestion. The state decided to have consumers back the inaptly named Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) grid program to give wind investors a windfall subsidy in the form of access to nearly 3,600 miles of transmission lines. Subsidies via grid infrastructure spending can be more costly than overt plant-level subsidies. Bill Peacock and Josiah Neeley of the Texas Public Policy Foundation reckon that CREZ costs attributable to wind amount to $6.8 billion. This compares to plant-level subsidies of $4.14 billion in the ten years between 2005 and 2015.

Perhaps the dirtiest secret of renewables is how ineffective they are at displacing carbon dioxide emissions. Brookings senior fellow Charles Frank has calculated that replacing coal with modern combined-cycle gas turbines cuts 2.6 times more emissions than using wind does, and cuts four times as many emissions as solar.  If anything, these figures are likely to be too generous to renewables…

The most insidious and destructive effect of renewables, however, is on the wholesale electricity markets. Intermittent renewables, particularly wind, can flood the market at random times of day with zero marginal-cost electricity. The production tax credit means that renewable investors make money from negative prices down to minus $23 per MWh. Episodes of negative prices are evidence of an electricity market that isn’t working. They imply that what is being produced is garbage — someone has to be paid to take the electricity away.

Negative prices crush incentives to invest in the conventional capacity needed to keep the power on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. The OECD report warns that gas, coal, and nuclear-power stations would experience lower electricity prices, reduced load factors, and higher costs because of intermittent renewables. To avoid the risk of “green outs” caused by inadequate investment in conventional and nuclear capacity, governments and regulators have to intervene and construct capacity markets to redress the distortion created by renewables. These don’t come cheap. In the case of Texas, the Brattle Group estimates that a capacity market would cost Texans an extra $3.2 billion a year….

Across the Atlantic, the calamity of renewable energy is becoming more visible each day. It will not be only good economists who see that imitating Europe would be a colossal blunder….

via Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets | National Review Online.

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