wind energy

Are the yanks finally waking up?

We’ve flogged this horse plenty of times on this blog and we don’t have to tell you how wind power is uneconomical, expensive, inefficient and heavily subsidised. None of these four things matter to the Green Taliban of the world, who are hell bent on pushing ahead on this expensive con job even when it is a drain on taxpayers, and detrimental to trees and birds. Could it be the tide is turning in the US?

Congress failed to extend generous tax credits to wind power producers this year after conservatives spent months campaigning to let the subsidies die.

In a reversal of fortune, the wind industry was unable to get another extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit, which pays wind producers to generate wind energy for ten years. The credit was heavily opposed by conservative groups and many Republicans who saw it as a 20-year taxpayer handout.

“The wind industry has very little to show after 20 years of preferential tax treatment; it remains woefully dependent on this federal support,”  reads a letter signed by 102 conservative groups, led by Americans for Prosperity, to Members of Congress. “Yet despite this consistent under-performance, Congress has repeatedly voted to extend the PTC, usually in 1- or 2-year increments.”

The wind PTC expired on Tuesday night after Congress failed to pass legislation extending the tax credits. However, this does not mean that wind tax subsidies are dead.

The wind PTC has not been extended at least twice in the past, but has eventually resurfaced after lawmakers were able to negotiate an extension. At the end of 2012, wind PTC supporters in Congress were able to attach extending wind subsidies as part of a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of sharp tax increases and spending cuts.

However, this year there was no such deal and Republicans in the House and Senate made efforts to make sure the wind PTC was ended.

“Our nation’s energy policy must make economic sense for taxpayers and not manipulate markets,” wrote a group of 10 senators to the Senate Finance Committee. “Continuation of the wind PTC not only picks winners and losers, it is distorting our energy markets and it’s past time to end a temporary tax credit that was put into law in 1992.”

Later this month, lawmakers could hammer out a deal that would extend the wind tax credits, especially since comprehensive tax reform efforts have not been finalized.

Energy tax reform drafts by Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus would continue tax credits for renewable energy production, including wind power. Baucus’s plan would give renewable power producers 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for the first ten years of production — virtually the same as the recently expired wind PTC. The only difference is this tax credit would be given to wind farms that come online before 2017.

“We commend Chairman Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee for putting forward a sound policy option to provide domestic energy producers with stability for the years to come,” Rob Gramlich, senior vice president for public policy at the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement.

“The tax code has a century-long history of incentivizing American-made energy, and we must continue to ensure that we have plentiful, secure, clean, affordable energy to power our economy,” Gramlich continued. “Wind energy has already proven that it can deliver in these areas and it must continue to be a critical part of the U.S. energy mix.”

According to AWEA, the wind PTC generated $25 billion in private investment in 2012 and supported 80,000 jobs.

However, free market advocates have pointed out that the wind PTC primarily benefits a few states at the expense of many.

“According to our calculations, taxpayers in 30 states and the District of Columbia paid more to the federal government in 2012 to support wind subsidies than wind producers in those states received,” reads a report by the free-market Institute for Energy Research

“Of those 30 net losing states, 11 states and the District of Columbia had no wind production and received zero subsidies but still paid their share of the tax burden related to federal wind subsidies,” according to IER , which opposes extending tax subsidies for wind energy.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the wind PTC is expected to cost $7.7 billion between 2013 and 2017. The Congressional Research Service says the credit will cost $9.7 billion over that time. – The Daily Caller

The US needs to permanently cut the purse strings on this wind powered con job and let it sink under it’s own weight. If it can’t be sustained on its own or by private enterprise, then it is a poor investment.

Evil bat killing wind turbines

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It is time to put an end to the bird and now bat killing wind turbines.

WIND farms may be killing legally protected bats by causing internal organs to “explode”, according to wildlife experts.

The Bat Conservation Trust says it has evidence that pressure caused by turbine blades causes the animals’ lungs to “pop”, causing immediate death.

Bats are a protected species in the UK, and deliberately injuring or killing them carries the threat of six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000.

Conservationists believe bats are dying while hunting insects that are attracted by the heat generated by turbine blades.

They have suggested that even if the bats avoid the turbines, the change in pressure created by the spinning blades is capable of bursting their lungs.

Anne Youngman, Scottish officer of the Bat Conservation Trust, said: “People think that the danger is the bats getting hit by the blade, which does happen.

“But the danger to them is really barotrauma, were they are literally popped from the inside.  Read more »

Green taliban want to send NSW to the dark ages

Just when you thought the green taliban couldn’t get any more stupid, the NSW Greens prove the point that we shouldn’t encourage these loons.

Could NSW be made to operate completely free of fossil-fuelled electricity within 17 years?

The Greens think so. The state branch of the party will this week unveil a bold plan to close down every coal- or gas-fired power plant in the state by 2030, while guaranteeing employment for displaced power sector workers.

The proposal, to be put before State Parliament on Thursday, would cost $8.2 billion a year, part of which would be funded by removing fuel subsidies for mining and power companies that amount to about $2 billion.

The Greens concede that the plan, which relies on the work of University of NSW researchers and the environment group Beyond Zero Emissions, is unlikely to gain much support from the Coalition or Labor.

The Bollocks of Wind Power

David Farrar just loves wind power…he thinks the awful pylons and turbines blotting the landscape, howling up excessive noise and smashing birds to a pulp is cool.

There are many faults, fallacies, and failures with wind power, ones the advocates refuse to discuss:

The claim: Wind Power is free.

Wind power is not free. All natural energy resources such as coal, wind and sun appear “free” – no one has to incur costs to create them. But turning a “free” resource into usable electricity costs money for collecting, generating and distributing that energy. To consumers and tax payers, the real cost of wind power is very high, no matter how well it is hidden by politicians.

The claim: Wind power is reliable.

Wind power is not reliable. No one can make the wind blow when the energy is needed – in fact, wind farms produce, on average, less than 30% of their nameplate capacity, often at times of lower demand.  Read more »

Wind Turbines kill more birds p.a. than total killed by Exxon Valdez oil spill.

According to the American Wind Energy Association more birds are killed by wind turbines every years than the number of birds estimated to have been killed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The estimate of wind energy related bird losses attributed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the column is in fact the opinion of one biologist and not an official agency statistic. The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, a collaboration of government officials, conservationists and industry representatives, more accurately estimates, based on actual data collected from over 100 wind farms nationally, the loss to be 200,000 birds annually.  Read more »

Wind Power sucks, it’s expensive, ugly and doomed

Regular readers of this blog know that I hate subsidies and even more I hate subsidising so-called green technologies. Wind power is one of those technologies.

Some people may ooh and ahh over those hideous turbines junking up the view but I do not. Wind power is doomed in the UK and now it is looking increasingly doomed in the US as people find out that the billions in subsidies have done bugger all except line the pockets of the turbine salesmen.

With the fiscal cliff approaching it looks like wind subsidies are finally doomed:

Federal subsidies for new wind-power generation will end on Dec. 31 unless they are renewed by Congress. For the sake of our economy and the smooth operation of the energy market, Congress should let the subsidies lapse. They waste taxpayer money, subvert the allocation of capital, and generate a social cost many times the price tag of the subsides themselves.

Since 1992, the federal government has expended almost $24 billion to encourage investment in wind power through direct spending, tax breaks, R&D, loan guarantees and other federal support of electric power. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that a one-year extension of existing federal subsidies for wind power would cost taxpayers almost $12 billion.

The costs of wind subsidies are extraordinarily high—$52.48 per one million watt hours generated, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By contrast, the subsidies for generating the same amount of electricity from nuclear power are $3.10, from hydropower 84 cents, from coal 64 cents, and from natural gas 63 cents.

Cost is only part of the problem:

Subsidized, wind-generated electricity is displacing other, much cheaper sources of power. The subsidies are so high that wind-power producers can pay utilities to take the electricity they produce and still make a profit. Such “negative pricing” has occurred for some time in the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and in Texas—and, according to the Energy Information Administration, it will likely grow.

But wind isn’t constant which means that costly redundant back up power generation capacity must be maintained.

Power grids that rely on wind-generated electricity have to maintain redundant, backup generating capacity in case the wind isn’t blowing and the demand for electricity is high. Many of these backup sources, such as coal and gas-fired plants, have to be kept up and running to be available when they are needed—even if they are not used. This partially offsets the environmental benefits of wind power.

Wind power proponents are having a lend.

In the 1990s, the federal government began subsidizing wind power based on the hope that, with a helping hand, the technology would improve rapidly, costs would decline, and the industry would become economically viable. Congressman Phil Sharp (D., Ind.), the original proponent of the subsidies, argued in 1991 for “a sunset provision to ensure that the temporary incentive does not become a permanent subsidy..

But the sun has never set. Again and again—on seven subsequent occasions in all—federal subsidies for wind were extended.

Yet wind power is less economically viable today than it was when the current subsidies started in 1992. After the expected gains in moving from one-off production to assembly-line production, no major technological breakthrough has occurred that would substantially lower the cost of wind-power electricity generation. The Department of Energy’s “2009 Wind Technology Market Report” finds average wind-power costs were higher in 2009 than they were in 1994, two years after the subsidies began. As Energy Secretary Steven Chu has observed on more than one occasion, wind energy is a “mature technology.”

Time to end the subsidies.

It is increasingly difficult to make a case that taxpayers should continue to subsidize wind-generated electricity. The end of the subsidy will not induce owners of existing windmills to shut them down, since so much of the cost is fixed in the original construction project and so little of their costs are entailed in operating the windmill once it is constructed. Under current law, billions of dollars in subsidies will continue to be paid out over the next decade on existing projects even if the subsidies for projects built in the future expire.

If unimpeded, the expanded use of cheap natural gas to generate electricity will raise living standards and attract millions of new industrial jobs back to our shores. A vote to stop wind subsidies from being extended is, therefore, a vote for cheaper, more reliable power, higher living standards, reindustrialization and fiscal sanity.

Wind Farm Scams

On the same day the greens very own super scam has hit the news there is an article in Spectator about Wind Farm Scams:

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. The biggest investors in offshore wind — Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens — are starting to worry that the government’s heart is not in wind energy any more. Vestas, which has plans for a factory in Kent, wants reassurance from the Prime Minister that there is the political will to put up turbines before it builds its factory.

This forces a decision from Cameron — will he reassure the turbine magnates that he plans to keep subsidising wind energy, or will he retreat? The political wind has certainly changed direction. George Osborne is dead set against wind farms, because it has become all too clear to him how much they cost. The Chancellor’s team quietly encouraged MPs to sign a letter to No. 10 a few weeks ago saying that ‘in these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines’.