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Subsidizing stupidity

We've talked here about Obama's war on fossil fuels and the collateral damage being wrought.  Couple that news with what follows and understand that we're headed for disaster:

Thumbnail image for windfarm.jpgEthanol isn't the only heavily subsidized energy source that won a multibillion dollar jackpot in last week's tax deal. The other big winner was the wind industry, which received a one year extension of a $3 billion grant program for renewable energy projects.

Talk about throwing good money after bad. Despite more than $30 billion in subsidies for "clean energy" in the 2009 stimulus bill, Big Wind still can't make it in the marketplace. Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, had warned that without last week's extension of the federal 1603 investment credit, the outlook for the wind industry would be "flatline or down." Some 20,000 wind energy jobs, about one-quarter of the industry's total, could have been lost, the wind lobby concedes. For most industries that would be an admission of failure, but in Washington this kind of forecast is used to justify more subsidies.

But what have these subsidies bought taxpayers? According to AWEA, in the first half of 2010 wind power installations "dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels." In the third quarter, the industry says it "added just 395 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electric generating capacity," making it the lowest quarter since 2007. New wind installations are down 72% from last year to their lowest level since 2006. And this is supposed to be the miracle electricity source of the future?

The coal industry, which Mr. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department have done everything possible to curtail, added almost three times more to the nation's electric power capacity in the first nine months of 2010 (39%) than did wind (14%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The grant program that Congress has extended was created in the 2008 stimulus bill. It forces taxpayers to pay 30% of a renewable energy project's costs. Big Wind insisted on these grants because wind energy producers don't make enough net income to take advantage of the generous renewable energy tax credit.

The industry also wants a federal renewable energy standard, which would require utilities to buy power from green energy projects regardless of price. Without that additional subsidy, AWEA concedes that wind power will "stall out." It is lobbying for billions of dollars of subsidies to cover the cost of hooking off-shore wind projects to the electricity transmission grid. And now that the cap-and-tax scheme on coal and oil and gas has failed in Congress, the windmillers want the EPA to use regulation to raise costs on carbon sources of power.

Big Wind also has lobbying operations in state capitals, where it has been pushing state renewable energy standards. More than half the states--mostly in the West and Northeast--have enacted these mandates, which are already inflating home and business electricity bills.

According to an analysis by Chris Horner, an energy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the stimulus bill's subsidies for renewable energy cost taxpayers about $475,000 for every job generated. That's at least four times what it costs a nonsubsidized private firm to create a job--a lousy return on investment even for government.

The piece goes on to chronicle that it takes 25 times more workers to produce a kilowatt of electricity from wind as from coal.  Read it all.  Pass it on.

And hope that the next Congress will end the madness. 


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Comments (13)

Can anyone really be surpri... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Can anyone really be surprised that the blowhards in DC are subsidizing Big Wind? A natural public-private partnership if there ever was one.

This is the type of welfare for the rich that Barry and his liberal buddies all favor. If we had to depend entirely on non-fossil fuels, we'd all be driving Fred Flintstone cars, powered by our own feet.

MN has a brilliant program ... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

MN has a brilliant program on its books. Subsidizes wind to purchase from foreign manufacturers to sell energy to WI.

Last winter a bunch of the mills stood idle, too cold, tranny fluid froze.

Silly people! All the big m... (Below threshold)
yttik:

Silly people! All the big money is in raising alpacas. Besides all the tax breaks, you can get many green government grants to help you with your renewable energy alpacas. I'm not really sure how they generate energy, but I think if you rub them really hard after walking on a carpet, you can create a spark.

But what have thes... (Below threshold)
Brett:
But what have these subsidies bought taxpayers? According to AWEA, in the first half of 2010 wind power installations "dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels." In the third quarter, the industry says it "added just 395 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electric generating capacity," making it the lowest quarter since 2007. New wind installations are down 72% from last year to their lowest level since 2006. And this is supposed to be the miracle electricity source of the future?

The coal industry, which Mr. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department have done everything possible to curtail, added almost three times more to the nation's electric power capacity in the first nine months of 2010 (39%) than did wind (14%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

I have some problem with the quoted passage above. The author, like most of us, is using how much electrical power was delivered as a figure of merit. Obama & Co don't give a tinker's damn about that. They would be quite happy of the electrical supply went down, and forced people to conserve. From that perspective, the entire thing makes perfect sense and has been wildly successful. It degrades American's standards of living, levels us with the rest of the world, takes us down a peg.

Almost anytime we (sensible people) try to interpret these actions they look like they failed. In the end, the actions of the Liberal nutjobs currently in charge are entirely consistent with their desired end goals.

I think we should all get t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I think we should all get together and break wind...energy. Sorry. Couldn't help it. ww

"it takes 25 times more wo... (Below threshold)
Marie:

"it takes 25 times more workers to produce a kilowatt of electricity from wind as from coal."

That is precisely the point. How much do you want to bet that the Unions know this too?

You know Willie, you're on ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

You know Willie, you're on to something. If the Obama Administration required all fast food establishments to have their plastic seating incorporate a scavenging system they could increase the methane supply and do something about Global Warming at the same time.

Sending my email to the White House now.

Oh yeah, for our friends on the left side of the aisle, that was most definitely sarcasm.

They're just farting around... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

They're just farting around anyway. Gosh! I just can't help it today. ww

According to AWEA, in th... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

According to AWEA, in the first half of 2010 wind power installations "dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels.

Heres the full report, I have had not had time to study it yet.

Full Report

"Subsidizing stupidity"... (Below threshold)
914:

"Subsidizing stupidity"

In memory of Teddy. May he never blow hard again.

Here in WY wind farms are g... (Below threshold)
PapaWhisky:

Here in WY wind farms are going up left and right. The irony is that we are definitely coal country. What angers me is that we, the citizens of WY, get absolutely no benefit from any of these farms. All of the power is allocated to other states (CO, WA, CA, NV, to name a few) and none of it is used here. Sure, you can buy this "green" energy from the power company--but at a higher cost. The only benefit to anyone here is if you happen to be one of the ranch owners whose land is being used for the wind generators. They get a tidy sum of money for that....

Throwing good money after b... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Throwing good money after bad is basic Democrat strategy, so by that standard this makes sense.

In this article is the cle... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

In this article is the clearest indication that despite the swelling of the numbers of US college educated people since 1946, common sense and honesty are gradually diminishing as valued qualities, even among the best...perhaps even more so. Other striking examples, two weeks ago, were the almost simultaneous revelations of Pres Obama and Sen Jay Rockefeller that the country cannot be effectively governed as long as the people are text communicating, and villains like Rush L, Glenn B, Bill O and all of Fox News have unfettered access to the airwaves. To provide a demonstration of how honesty and common sense are not being used to effect and to advantage, please consider this simple viewpoint of my humble self: The reasons that the USA cannot be effectively governed by it's representatives in power are; the goverment's overwhelming size, it's ever expanding structure, it's alarming demands for more power and more influence, which are generating a corresponding alarm in the the ungrateful proles. The proles are, in short, showing an enormous respect for the rediscovered values of,common sense. Big, big government is clearly seen to be totally inept and out of step with the people because their representatives are flummoxed by their own invention. For God's sake show the people common sense, Give them honesty...and with these, such 'cocque-ups' as the above just wouldn't be possible. Do not blame the people or their will to communicate!




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