Energy & Environment

Commentary: WSJ: Wind Power a Failed Model in a Free Market

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The Obama Administration’s unwarranted support for renewable wind energy is skewered in the Wall Street Journal, which outlines the cost of this failed, but continually resuscitated, experiment to the American taxpayer. Under the recent tax break compromise, the wind energy industry will receive a one year extension of a $3 billion grant, which comes on the heels of $30 billion in subsidies included in 2009’s stimulus bill. Despite this pampering by the federal government, Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) indicated that up to 20,000 jobs in the wind industry could be lost if the grant was not renewed. Bode’s warning is just the latest in a litany of telling statistics which demonstrate the market’s clear rejection of the current wind energy model, as well as the price tag of the Administration’s pet project. As the WSJ informs us:

-in the first half of 2010, wind power installations decreased by 57% and 71% from 2008/09 levels

-new wind energy installations are down 72% from last year, their lowest level since 2006

-coal industry added almost three times more to the nation’s electric power in the first 9 months of 2010 than the wind industry

-because wind energy doesn’t make enough net profit, under the renewed grant, tax payers have to pay 30% of a renewable energy project’s cost

-wind produces a scant 1% of the nation’s electrical generation, while coal comprises almost 50%, yet it takes at least 25 time more workers to produce a kilowatt of electricity from wind as from coal (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

-wind/solar industries require at least 20 times more in subsidies per unit of electricity generated than coal and natural gas (Energy Information Admin.)

-the stimulus’s subsidies for renewable energy cost taxpayers approximately $475,000 for every job generated, or at least 4 times the cost of a non-subsidized, privately created job (Competitive Enterprise Institute).

President Obama’s economically injurious support for Big Wind is accompanied by his Administration’s continued efforts to demonize the oil, coal, and natural gas industries- the ones which actually catalyze our nation’s economy. If it were coal or gas being propped up by billions of subsidies despite their marked failure, the Hollywood Left would be readying a mutiny. Since wind power is en vogue, however, it is not receiving nearly enough money in tax credits, subsidies, bailouts, and so on. Likewise, because Big Wind cannot compete, it has relentlessly pushed for a federal renewable energy standard to force utilities to purchase X amount of green energy power, as well as lobbying the EPA to raise the cost of carbon sources of power. It has also spread its tentacles into the individual states to push for these measures when national efforts have stalled, with some success.

The effects of this anti-competitive, anti-capitalist favoritism are especially acute for Louisianans and other Gulf Coast residents, where the oil industry is being persecuted to the tune of millions, if not billions, of lost profits, and thousands of unfairly lost jobs. The punitive measures instituted on oil and gas throughout the country, particularly in the Gulf Coast, far surpass response to BP’s malfeasance and clearly represent the implementation of a higher agenda. Accordingly, it is necessary that the newly minted Congressional Republicans seize the opportunity and puncture wind energy’s subsidized bubble. It is time to restore those sectors which are the engines of our economy and prosperity, and to stop unduly rewarding special interests at the expense of the vast majority.

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