More Subsidies for Big Wind

fat cat wind scamRobert Bryce, National Review
f anyone needed proof that subsidy-dependent businesses will always seek more subsidies, look no further than the U.S. wind industry. On Wednesday, the wind sector won a vote in the House on a tax bill that includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC), which gives wind companies 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. The companies can collect that subsidy for a decade after they are deemed eligible.

The extension of the PTC was part of a bill that contained more than 50 tax breaks and subsidies that will cost taxpayers more than $40 billion. The portion attributable to the wind industry: about $6.3 billion. It appears that the Senate will pass the bill and President Obama will sign it into law. Thus the wind industry, which has been getting subsidies (with a few short interruptions) since 1992, will continue feeding at the trough. If there was any doubt that the wind industry needs subsidies, look at the statement put out on Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association, the sector’s main lobbying group. AWEA said that after the PTC expired in 2013, “new wind installations came to a halt, resulting in a 92 percent drop in new wind projects.”

Of course, rent-seeking entities love to claim that their pet projects deserve subsidies because they will create jobs. Indeed, the phrase “create jobs” appears twice in a one-page letter that was sent to leaders of Congress last month imploring them to extend the PTC. The letter was signed by AWEA and some 450 organizations, including the usual environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Wilderness Society — as well as a host of major corporations. Among them: NextEra Energy, one of the world’s largest wind-energy producers. I wrote about NextEra last year in these pages after the company filed a SLAPP suit in Canada against Ontario anti-wind activist Esther Wrightman. (Here’s a link. Wrightman, by the way, has since moved out of Ontario, and the project she was fighting, NextEra’s Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, has gone forward.) Others that signed the subsidy-seeking letter included Siemens Corporation, E.On, and Nucor Corporation, which is one of America’s biggest steel producers. Read article

6 thoughts on “More Subsidies for Big Wind

  1. Money talks – politicians listen – no matter what the average citizen thinks – This industry has shown it’s not viable without the subsidies, but that doesn’t matter… they want subsidies we keep handing them over.

    • And what about the taxes these companies don’t have to pay? This big wind issue gets swept under the rug!

  2. IBM – The International Business Machines Corporation
    “Mike Barnard’s wind wings clipped by employer IBM”
    Told to stop writing on wind power, resign fellowship from Energy and Policy Institute, and delete his blog: Barnard on Wind

    ‘[excerpt] IBM Corporate Officer (Brand Manager, Communications) Carrie Bendzsa, after numerous discussions with Lange of NA-PAW, wrote to NA-PAW, thanking the organization for bringing this matter to their attention, asserting that none of “these postings or comments (libel by Barnard) were IBM endorsed actions.”

    The communique continues:

    “We don’t have an advocacy position on energy and we have a number of social computing guidelines and policies in place that our employees are instructed and expected to follow. Furthermore, the individuals who are upset by the postings should be assured that IBM does not have any negative views about them personally or professionally.

    “IBM has spent considerable time reviewing this matter internally and has taken several actions that our employee has agreed to comply with to resolve this matter. These include having the employee delete the Barnardonwind blog, terminate the Energy and Policy Institute Senior Fellow role and agree to no longer publish on wind energy.

    “We truly appreciate you stepping forward to bring this matter to our attention.”

    Lange notes that the kind of serial cyber bullying that has occurred with Barnard on Wind, some of which has been subsumed into other pro wind sites, is of a serious nature: “It is regarded as irrational, unprovoked criticism,” based on the apparent, some would say obvious, intent to harm careers and cast doubt on the professional integrity of individuals. It has no basis in fact, and can be compared in a way to “hate” speech.

    Notes Lange: “Cyber Bullying and defamation falls under the Criminal Code, and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Canada.” “Defamatory libel is likewise a crime under the Criminal Code, if the libelous statement is directed against a person in authority and could seriously harm his or her reputation.” (The persons affected by the Barnard libel are indeed persons in authority.) “This is punishable by up to five years in prison.” (While the US defamation laws are less plaintiff friendly, there are legal markers since 1964 for those knowingly harming by the power of innuendo and falsehoods.)’

    • Sweet accomplishment!

      BLP and IBM collaborate to boost wind power output in India

      ‘[excerpt] India’s Bharat Light and Power and US corporation IBM signs 10-year agreement with aim to deliver fivefold expansion of wind power output

      ‘[excerpt] India’s renewable energy producer Bharat Light and Power (BLP) has teamed up with the US International Business Machines corporation (IBM), with the aim to expand its wind power output by fivefold, according to Bloomberg. The 10 year agreement will allow BLP to use IBM’s SoftLayer cloud capabilities, IBM analytics and mobile solutions to boost its wind power generation capacity.

      Balki Iyer, chief development officer of BLP, said that the collaboration with IBM will increase the company’s profitability as a result of efficient wind farm data management.’

    • Just when I thought – I was going crazy!

      ‘[excerpt] According to scientists, there’s little doubt the climate is changing. Hard data shows how it’s shifting, although some uncertainty in the science remains.

      With that in mind, many are now looking at renewable sources of energy as a step in the right direction of reducing the carbon emissions that are likely causing climate change.

      But issues related to the widespread implementation of wind- and solar-based energy generators remain. Chief among those is integrating the power produced by such renewables into the now-standard grid. Variables such as a lack of wind and sun make this a somewhat difficult issue that must be solved.

      Recent advances in weather forecasting, however, may change this, as evidenced by IBM research into this discipline.’

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