Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Update on wind power (solar #33)

More on the economic, environmental, and ecological devastation caused by solar and wind.

Today let’s look at two articles on the economic damage from wind power: massive tax subsidies which look likely for another year and cost of wind-provided electricity rising.

11/30 – Tim Phillips in Wall Street Journal – Wind Power is Intermittent, But Subsidies Are Eternal – Check out the article for a brief overview of the massive corporate welfare found in wind power subsidies.

The Production Tax Credit provides slice-and-dice farms a 2.3 cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour produced.

That is based on what’s produced, not what’s sold or needed. The article explains “negative pricing”, which is when wind farms pay power companies to take the electricity so the wind farm can reap the credit.

Check out the total cost of subsidies, according to a 2012 study from Institute for Energy Research. Subsidies are per megawatt-hour:

  • $56.29 – wind generators
  • $03.14 – nuclear power
  • $00.64 – natural gas

That wind power would be dead without massive tax subsidies is evidenced by the drop in new projects when the PTC expires or expected to expire. New capacity dropped 92% in 2000, 76% in 2004, and 90% this year in anticipation of the credit’s expiration.

Flash update: 12/3 – Politico – House votes to renew “tax extender” breaks – House approved a one-year extension of all the tax goodies including the Production Tax Credit for slice-and-dicers.

UpdateRoth & Company, PC explains the extensions are for items that expired 12/31/13 and will be effective through the end of 2014. Senate will likely pass the House bill; Roth & Co.’s article gives some of the inside baseball info on maneuvering in the Senate that points to the bill be approved as-is. Part of their assessment of items included:

They also include [in the bill] crony subsidies like energy production credits and accelerated depreciation for racetracks. 

10/17 – Forbes – Electricity Prices Soaring In Top Wind Power States and 10/20 – Bakken.com – Does ND have too much wind power? – North Dakota is in the top ten states in terms of reliance on wind power to provide electricity. It has also seen electricity prices increase eight times faster than the U.S. average.

Some stats from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) –

N.D. gets 16% of its electricity from wind, which puts it in a three-way tie for 4th place in portion of reliance on wind. It has also seen a 23% increase in electricity costs in the last five years.

That puts the state in 5th place for the highest increases in cost. The U.S. average is 3%, so the state’s prices have gone up eight times faster than the U.S. average.

The state is getting huge portions of electricity from wind power and is experiencing huge increases in costs of electricity.

The Bakken.com article points out EPA regulations essentially close off the option of using some of the large coal deposits in the state to provide the increasing amounts of electricity needed in the state. As a result, the only option to keep the lights on and apartments heated is expensive wind power.

The Forbes article points out that the electricity prices nationwide are up 2.8% over the last five years. In the ten largest wind powered states, the increase averages 20.7%.

Those stats severely understate the cost of wind, because they don’t include a 2.8 cent per kilowatt tax credit given by taxpayers to wind producers. At average cost of 10.08 cents per kW, the tax subsidy (which we all would call corporate welfare if we were talking oil or nuclear or big banks) is about 20% of the cost of wind but is hidden from consumers.

Forbes article also explains why wind power destroys jobs, with many of the smaller number of jobs created being outside the U.S.

The impact on the average household is $636 higher electricity bills due to wind power. That comes out of discretionary spending, which further undercuts the state’s economy.

Here is James Taylor’s summary of the economic devastation from wind power:

Any way you cut it, wind power is needlessly raising living costs, reducing living standards, and destroying American jobs.

There is an easy solution to the self-inflicted damage:

Fortunately, states can easily rectify the problem by repealing renewable power mandates and taxpayer subsidies that perpetuate higher electricity costs and widespread job destruction.

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