Minor updates on slice-and-dice & wing-toaster projects

A few minor pieces of news on the solar and wind power industries.

Possible end of 2.3 cent/kilowatt subsidy

The Wall Street Journal hopefully describes Powering Down the Wind Subsidy. Unless Congress affirmatively acts, the large subsidy to wind power will expire on 12-31-13.

The subsidy was supposed to be temporary but has now been in place for 20 years. The subsidy is 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The editorial says 72% of the subsidies flowed to five states:  Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota. cost over next five years projected to be $18 billion.

Corporate Welfare. That’s the name given to the wind credit by the WSJ. I agree (not that my opinionated opinion matters).

I missed the following article when it ran:

First ever prosecution for killing eagles may be bad omen for wind industry

Wind Power Is Brought to Justice, from Robert Bryce, describes the settlement with Duke Energy Resources I’ve previously discussed here and here.

He sees the settlement as a bad omen for the wind industry since they can’t count on continued immunity from the laws prohibiting the killing of eagles, raptors, and other protected birds.

Here’s a one sentence explanation of the utter hypocrisy of this double standard:

Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption.

He mentions the high cost a job generated through wind power is becoming visible in media.

He also mentions a growing backlash against the amount of noise and visual pollution generated. With one wind farm in North Dakota spreading out turbines at a density of three per square mile, picture red lights 130 feet in the air blinking all night every night for the next 30 years.

Solar power is next.

He cites a report from KCET that the Ivanpah solar project in California near the Nevada border killed 52 birds in October.

While it is only speculation (neither the project operator nor regulators know what is going on), here is a guess on the source of damage to avian population:

Many of the birds were apparently killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors. It appears that the project is attracting birds, which means the deaths may increase when the facility reaches capacity.

Shall we call that one of the wing-toaster operations?  When I have some time, I’ll expand on why that should be the new name for the solar industry.

We must kill the eagles to save the eagles

Here is the letter to the editor where a spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association explains killing raptors is justified because climate change is

the number one threat to wildlife, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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