Wind turbines are popping up in more and more rural communities, yet wind turbines, like so many other “green energy” projects, represent a business that can’t stand on its own two feet without massive government involvement, from tax subsidies and tax credits to outright grants and the result is increasingly expensive electricity from locations with marginal wind.
It’s not wind, it’s money
Since 2009, as part of the president’s stimulus, wind-farm developers have been able to get a federal cash grant or tax credit covering up to 30% of their capital investment in a new project.
After the 2009 subsidy became available, wind farms were increasingly built in less-windy locations, according to the Department of Energy’s “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report.” The average wind-power project built in 2011 was located in an area with wind conditions 16% worse than those of the average project in 1998-99.
The government itself even agrees:
The Department of Energy admits that this trend is due at least in part to the 2009 federal subsidy: Because the grants that companies receive aren’t based on how much power they produce, “it is possible that developers have seized this limited opportunity to build out the less-energetic sites.” Meanwhile, wind-power prices have increased to an average $54 per megawatt-hour, compared with $37 in 2005.
Not enough wind? Just add money
More government dependents
A real business supplies a product or service customers will pay for, there’s no need for continual stimulus to keep it going, yet that’s what wind energy requires. The more turbines developers install while the subsidies exist, the more individuals there will be who come to depend on the tax dollars they are paid with.
A quick glance at the American Wind Energy Association’s website illustrates this. In July, the association is planning a Capitol Hill event aimed at “educating legislators” on the importance of industry tax credits.
When it finally becomes clear the country can’t afford to prop up all of these green energy companies that can’t support themselves, everyone who depends on the stimulus will fight to keep the money flowing. It’s a huge project creating a new class of government dependents. Putting up these massive, utility scale wind turbines is just a giant sign telling the world you’re accepting government money.