Panic in the Wind Power lobby?

posted at 6:05 pm on February 16, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

There is a little noted element of the payroll tax holiday extension going through congress, and to the surprise of many it has nothing to do with funding Social Security or what forty dollars will buy you. It’s the expiration of the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) which has some advocates up in arms.

An extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal incentive allowing for the wind energy industry to remain competitive with traditional forms of energy production, has been left out of a payroll tax cut extension currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives.

An earlier version of the highly contentious payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance bill contained the PTC extension, but North American Windpower and other organizations associated with the wind industry reported Wednesday afternoon that a final compromise between congressional democrats and republicans excluded the renewable energy funding — a move that has some in the industry worried.

For a more complete analysis of what this decision entails, check in with Master Resource.

Ominous, scary ads are running nationwide warning of the crushing blow to American jobs if Congress fails to extend the Production Tax Credit (‘PTC’), the 20-year ‘temporary’ subsidy most credited for market growth in the wind sector. The PTC is due to expire at the end of this year.

Most of the ads target particular House members who, so far, have resisted the industry’s demands for their PTC earmark. The pressure is particularly heated right now as Congress negotiates the payroll tax holiday bill, which is viewed by many as the last best chance to attach an extension of the PTC before November’s presidential election.

There is no difference between this and my previous posts on natural gas subsidies and other forms of energy. America, in the long run, will need an all of the above menu of energy options, but each of them will need to be able to stand on their own without Big Brother propping them up and distorting the market. There may very well be a significant place at the table for wind energy in the future. (And there is at least a limited setting for them now.) But they will have to prove to the market that they are viable.

This may come as a result of advancements in technology – which many conventional energy companies are working on even today – or because of eventual diminishing supplies of other energy types. Either way, if the market bears the weight, they will succeed. But if Solyndra taught us nothing else, it’s that Washington is very, very poorly equipped to pick winners and losers in this critical market sector. The “panic” going on here is not a signal of the end to something important, but to something which is hindering the natural process of finding our most economical path forward in energy independence.


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Blow the wind up their azz!

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

They kill birds! …and I have a bird for them!

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

I don’t have enough middle fingers to give them the ‘birds’ I want too!

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

a federal incentive allowing for the wind energy industry to remain competitive with traditional forms of energy production,

Those words don’t seem belong in the same sentence.

squint on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

All those wind generators are made using rare earth metals that are horribly bad for the environment and the market for which is exclusively under Chinese control. Wind is easily the dumbest form of energy, alternative or otherwise – bad for the planet and puts our energy production at the mercy of China, who will screw us twice as bad as the middle easterners do for their oil. Algae-driven biofuels are wave of the future.

abobo on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

OT, real unemployment at 15%.

Don’t tell the lefties.

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

We don’t need wind power at all, period. It is merely an inferior and more expensive replacement for energy sources we already have and ample supply of. In fact 70% or more of the time, wind is producing nothing and needs to be backed up by these other sources. It can never be used on it’s own. Forget it.

echosyst on February 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Do you ever read what’s posted here before going for the first? It’s incredibly annoying.

abobo on February 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Hotair is part of the wind-blowing industry and we haven’t killed a single bird. We have, however, skewered many windbags and RINOs.

platypus on February 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Two issues are holding Mitt back, and they are also the focus of Santorum’s attack: R-Care, and cap & trade.

R-care is a difficult nut, but gwarming / cap & t would be easy. Mitt could get a needed positive rush of conservative publicity, and blunt the force of the Santorum attack by switching positions on global warming. Mitt, stop aligning yourself with the leftists, and leaving yourself so open to this attack, which will continue for months otherwise. Make a clean break, don’t leave any waffle room for misinterpretation. And it wouldn’t be seen as a flipflop. Because there is a growing and ever-loudening rationale for making the switch to the skeptic / disbeliever side. Mitt, you need to start shaking things up, taking risks even, to get the base excited.
This is just 1 of many many things that could provide the rationale for a position switch: http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/06/body-blow-to-german-global-warming-movement-major-media-outlets-unload-on-co2-lies/

anotherJoe on February 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

It is amazing how fast time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t it?

platypus on February 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

When the Windmill factories are powered by Windmills, maybe I’ll be interested.

Wander on February 16, 2012 at 6:14 PM

spinal tap said it best: break, like the wind.

t8stlikchkn on February 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Wind simply is not economically viable without this credit and feed through tariffs.

The only thing supporting them otherwise is low carbon mandates which aim at solving the junk science global warming mess.

The enviros seem to be turning a blind eye to all the birds and bats being killed by these installations.

As long as there is a cheap supply of natural gas they won’t be able to compete which is why we have all the junk science yet to be generated against farcing which has been done for over 60 years.

If we can’t burn coal since the enviros blocked construction of so many newer tech coal plants which would have replaced older plants we should at least look at conversion of coal to oil as was done by the Germans in WWII. It may prove to be more realistic than chasing the biofuels mess.

CommentGuy on February 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

All those wind generators are made using rare earth metals that are horribly bad for the environment and the market for which is exclusively under Chinese control. Wind is easily the dumbest form of energy, alternative or otherwise – bad for the planet and puts our energy production at the mercy of China, who will screw us twice as bad as the middle easterners do for their oil. Algae-driven biofuels are wave of the future.

abobo on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

China is temporarily shutting down most of the industry and crimping the global supply of the vital resources.

China produces nearly 95 percent of the world’s rare earth materials
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/business/global/china-consolidates-control-of-rare-earth-industry.html?pagewanted=all

davidk on February 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

The Government mandates that we modernize by using passenger trains and wind mills.

One technology is 140 years old and the other is 440 years old.

And the King’s slush funds are older than both of them.

No one under 50 should be allowed to vote.

jimw on February 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Who needs wind turbines? If wind advocates could tap into the energy generated from your typical Texas chili cookoff, then we’ll have something!

On top of that we’ll be removing the greenhouse methane threat known as ‘cows.’

Kingfisher on February 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

windmills have been around awhile now. Does anyone know the statistics on the viability of these windmills ? Just wondering how they would do without the taxpayers money propping them up

MrMoe on February 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

The drought induced heat last year in Texas proved these things were worthless when most needed. Gonna a lot of pi$$ed off farmers counting on royalties and lease payments.

Can we make ethanol go away too?

DanMan on February 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

As the AGW hoax continues to fall apart, I want to see some action on the part of Congress and the administration to unwind what has been done in its name.

It will be convenient for democratics and RINOs to simply go quiet on the scam, hoping to hold on to their legislative gains in the direction of government control and one-world socialism crap; we can’t stand for that. All that bad law and those corrupting rules written in federal departments will continue to damage our economy and freedom until it’s taken apart, line by line.

slickwillie2001 on February 16, 2012 at 6:34 PM

They do a great job of pre-chopping flying food.

They’re extemely handy for back-yard bbq’s during “duck season”.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Can we make ethanol go away too?

DanMan on February 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

The ethanol subsidies have been quietly discontinued, but mandates for its content are still in effect. They need to go as well.

slickwillie2001 on February 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Aren’t we supposed to be talking about contraception????

Dusty on February 16, 2012 at 6:36 PM

MrMoe on February 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

I’ve read numerous article in Britain about windmills freezing up and being useless. Then when they’re turned on people have been hurt by ice shards that fly off of them.

Here’s one about a couple being destroyed in December, ironically due to high winds.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2071633/UK-weather-Wind-turbine-EXPLODES-hurricane-force-gusts-batter-Northern-Britain.html

Scroll down for a couple of dramatic photos of flame and debris shooting off from some.

INC on February 16, 2012 at 6:38 PM

windmills have been around awhile now. Does anyone know the statistics on the viability of these windmills ? Just wondering how they would do without the taxpayers money propping them up

MrMoe on February 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

What un-subsidized wind power might look like.

BigWyo on February 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Anthony Watts always has some info:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=windmill

Here’s one. We’re throwing good money after bad, but when did that ever stop politicians?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/10/theres-a-reason-the-modern-age-moved-on-from-windmills/

In the UK, the CIVITAS group has just released an economic analysis of wind power. The scathing report confirms what we have been reporting for years here on WUWT: wind power is expensive, inefficient, does little or nothing to offset CO2, and isn’t economically viable without taxpayer funded subsidies. Oh, and they kill birds and bats, plus blight the landscape too….

Energy experts warn that unwarranted support for wind-power is hindering genuinely cleaner energy

The focus on wind-power, driven by the renewables targets, is preventing Britain from effectively reducing CO2 emissions, while crippling energy users with additional costs, according to a new Civitas report. The report finds that wind-power is unreliable and requires back-up power stations to be available in order to maintain a consistent electricity supply to households and businesses. This means that energy users pay twice: once for the window-dressing of renewables, and again for the fossil fuels that the energy sector continues to rely on. Contrary to the implied message of the Government’s approach, the analysis shows that wind-power is not a low-cost way of reducing emissions.

INC on February 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM

We built this city on HotGas.

And wind power blows. It’s funny how ‘anthropogenic’ impacts on the environment are the great Satan and yet the great ‘solution’ involves robbing energy from the wind. But that liquid we pull out of a tiny hole in the ground that no other creature uses and that produces plant food when burned it just pure evil. And we know this because the UN IPCC computer model that has failed every prediction and can’t even predict the past when thrown into reverse has told us so. There is but one movie that documents where we are headed as a country. It is called “Idiocracy”.

MechanicalBill on February 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I like the way wind turbines kill migratory water fowl. I never ate so good for free!

Roy Rogers on February 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM

a federal incentive taxpayer give-away allowing for the wind energy industry to remain competitive compete unfairly with traditional forms of energy production,

Those words don’t seem belong in the same sentence.

squint on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

How’s that? Better?

Lost in Jersey on February 16, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Never fear, “Boehner and crew” will fold like cheap tents.

RADIOONE on February 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

There may very well be a significant place at the table for wind energy in the future.

For over 20 years our American taxpayer dollars have gone to the greedy wind industry sharks and after all that time what do we have to show for it? Wind can hardly provide 2-3% of the total energy needs. This should tell those with common sense that wind will never meet the critera of providing efficient, effective, low cost energy. There is absolutely no scientific research showing that wind can reduce CO2. It is a scheme to unburden Americans from their money (via taxes dollars to provide wind scum the tax credits and grants) and make us pay higher energy costs than the Europeans and push us faster to the socialist/communist socieity envisioned by Obozo and Osoros.

No to PTC and no to all subsidies!

cpasherry on February 16, 2012 at 7:14 PM

All those wind generators are made using rare earth metals that are horribly bad for the environment and the market for which is exclusively under Chinese control. ….

abobo on February 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Rare earths are rare because they come in small quantities compared to iron, copper, aluminum, silicon, etc. They are not rare because they may be bad in your mistaken opinion. Rare earths are not radioactive and are no more poisonous than iron and generally less bad than lead, which is not really bad except in the form of high velocity pellets or in water piping. WE have plenty of REs in this country and Canada, except our national obamination won’t let us mine or process or buy them from the Canadians them because we are bad Americans, bad Americans. And, by impeding us, he helps his Best F…ing Friends, the Chinese.

Old Country Boy on February 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

An all of the above with wind and solar costing 25 times more?

No thank you.

jukin3 on February 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM

The ethanol subsidies have been quietly discontinued, but mandates for its content are still in effect. They need to go as well.

slickwillie2001 on February 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Everybody pay attention to your congress critter. Anybody with equipment that sits idle through the winter, old car guys and those that track their gas mileage know this stuff is a very bad deal. Ethanol for fuel is a huge mess that should be stopped immediately.

DanMan on February 16, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Ominous, scary ads are running nationwide warning of the crushing blow to American jobs if Congress fails to extend the Production Tax Credit (‘PTC’), the 20-year ‘temporary’ subsidy most credited for market growth in the wind sector. The PTC is due to expire at the end of this year.

There are no permanent jobs created by the wind industry in this country. For the past 20 years our tax dollars have gone to China and India so their manufacturers and citizens get the jobs from our dollars. In the U.S. right now, construction is done by a couple of crews, either from Minn. or from Texas. There are no permanent local jobs. Vesta is bailing now on a small manufacturing plant in Minn. The big Dutch Royal Shell was huge into wind a few years ago–not now–no profits. Spain has ended all wind subsidies and most European countries have ended or hugely scaled back subsidies for wind; which is why all those foreign countries (with U.S. sounding names, LLC) are coming over here to build.

Stop this nonsense. Wind is no answer to energy–if it were, don’t you think farmers and ranchers would still be pumping water for animals using wind. I remember my uncle’s farm. The tank was either overflowing and a swamp pit surrounded it that the animals didn’t want to go through or it was dry as a bone.

cpasherry on February 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

A little physics lesson for all you liberal arts graduates and those of you who lie abut their education:

The energy available in a system is proportional to the mass of the object multiplied by the square of the action. The reason that wind energy is very non-productive is because it is intermittant and the mas of the wind is very low in grams per cubic meter and the velocity is usually measured insingle or double digit miles or kilometers per hour. All numbers are low.

Hydro is much more efficient because water masses hundreds of times as air and the velocities are about the same.

Solar is really low powered because , although photons are much faster than air and water, they hardly weigh anything at all.

Of course with nuclear, the mass may be small, but the velocity is the speed of light squared, which for your purposes is effectively infinitely faster than air or water.

I won’t get into gas, oil or coal. But the physics of energy production rules with the ironclad force of natural law. The dhimocraptic party or the obamination we have as president can pass all the laws they want, but they can’t repeal physics.

Old Country Boy on February 16, 2012 at 7:29 PM

To what subsidies for natural gas are you referring? I invest in the drilling of oil and gas wells and I can tell you that neither I nor any other person or company in this country receives any subsidies whatsoever. We can either expense or depreciate our costs, just like investors in other enterprises. We certainly do not receive the corporate welfare payments from D.C. that wind solar energy investors receive. They need to end yesterday.

James Thomas on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

…a federal incentive allowing for the wind energy industry to remain competitive with traditional forms of energy production

A federal incentive?

I guess it isn’t really competitive with traditional forms of energy production then is it.

BacaDog on February 16, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Do you ever read what’s posted here before going for the first? It’s incredibly annoying.

abobo on February 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Yes…was there something there…you didn’t understand Yogi?

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 7:53 PM

For those of you here who use the term “windmill”, please let me enlighten you a little.

A windmill is a device used in Holland, etc that grind grain into flour with the use of wind.

A windturbine is what we talk about with regards to generating electricity.

Big difference and a real pet peeve of mine.

BierManVA on February 16, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Because there is a growing and ever-loudening rationale for making the switch to the skeptic / disbeliever side. Mitt, you need to start shaking things up, taking risks even, to get the base excited.
This is just 1 of many many things that could provide the rationale for a position switch: http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/06/body-blow-to-german-global-warming-movement-major-media-outlets-unload-on-co2-lies/

anotherJoe on February 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Yes, as a Romney supporter I’ve been aiming telepathic messages at the television screen whenever Governor Romney shows up, too: Psst, Mitt, you do know man-made global warming has been proven a hoax, right? or Hey, Mitt, how about a carefully reasoned, qualified disavowal of RomneyCare? and Mitt, time to step up and declare what you’re for–remember Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech? Things like that.

Romney must be wearing his tinfoil beanie because none of my messages seem to be getting through. It’s very frustrating.

troyriser_gopftw on February 16, 2012 at 8:37 PM

The problem is RELIABILITY. Electricity must be used at or about the time it is created. We have no current technology to store large amounts for future use. The problem is with the electrical grid. It must be balanced between production and usage. If the wind suddenly drops off or stops, other sources (GUESS WHICH ONES) have to immediately take up the slack. Otherwise you get what are known as brown-outs. You know, like IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

GarandFan on February 16, 2012 at 9:02 PM

For those of you here who use the term “windmill”, please let me enlighten you a little.

Not only are we “enlightened” but we know how to use and identify pejoratives.

MechanicalBill on February 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM

For those of you here who use the term “windmill”, please let me enlighten you a little.

Not only are we “enlightened” but we know how to use and identify pejoratives.

Although still working on the quote thing. :D

MechanicalBill on February 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Cool M B- all of us are learning. I don’t have it down half the time-and forget about ‘strike’-I get everything but the word I want stricken.

KOOLAID2 on February 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM

WIND POWER:

Yet another failed-100-years-ago technology.

Made from components which wear out within 20 years…
…yet amortized over 30 years!

“Competitive” only when customers of coal/oil/gas/nuclear are forced to provide a 25% operating subsidy to the windmill operator…AND when somebody else is forced to bear the entire cost of the power distribution network.

“Clean” only if you shut your eyes real tight so you don’t see all of the waste in producing the mechanism, its repair parts, and disposing of its broken and worn out parts…AND ignore the fact that every megawatt of “windpower” requires that another megawatt of coal/oil/gas/nuclear power generation be built right beside it in order to provide the required 24/7/365 power availability required.

LET IT DIE!!! We can’t afford to subsidize any more of these expensive, government-mandated failures.

landlines on February 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

There may very well be a significant place at the table for wind energy in the future. (And there is at least a limited setting for them now.) But they will have to prove to the market that they are viable.

This may come as a result of advancements in technology

And as long as wind power is subsidized, they will never see that breakthrough in technology. If they were forced to stand on their own, maybe they could.

Subsidies never help anyone; they just freeze the current players in position.

ss396 on February 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM

I read this morning in the WSJ that the Senate put the ethanol subsidies back in what ever bill they had been removed from. So the Mid-West farmers have still got a ton of clout. F**k the American taxpayer.

inspectorudy on February 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Big difference and a real pet peeve of mine.

BierManVA on February 16, 2012 at 8:34 PM

The big difference would be that windmills actually work.

BDavis on February 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM

The “panic” going on here is not a signal of the end to something important, but to something which is hindering the natural process of finding our most economical path forward in energy independence.

Defund wind. Drill here, drill now. And yes, defund all energy subsidies.

petefrt on February 17, 2012 at 6:10 AM

The wind power was proven years ago to be too costly and undependable but the Government stepped in and the rest is history. Why don’t they harness the tides they would be more dependable? Subsidies are the poison that’s addictive, tobacco farmers, corn farmers, electric cars, and a host of others too numerous to mention. -………..no wait a minute…….here’s a list that produce nothing that is taxable but wow do they ever use up the tax money. http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml

mixplix on February 17, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Add in the nearby residents as a problem nobody talks about. Yes, there ARE people who live in remote and desert areas. Many are Native Americans, others of us chose to live here because we think it’s beautiful and like quiet and privacy.

Beforehand, we’re a bunch of selfish NIMBYs. Once the wind power plants are up, we can’t sell our properties, the land is defaced, we are tormented with the sound of the things, proven to have health impacts. In some quarters it’s tacky to talk about property values, but being stuck in a place you can’t sell that is now loud and ugly is a nightmare.

One wind farm recently approved here in CA is right on a major migratory pathway because of water, you know water is limited here. So it’s not just local eagles and bats in danger, but birds migrating to and from locations far from here. So the impact is widespread. Some bird that lives in your area could be decimated because he has to fly through our blender to get water on his trip.

jodetoad on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Lets have some fun with this.

Attach a amendment requiring that the Keystone XL be approved before the extension can go into effect.

agmartin on February 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Lets have some fun with this.

Attach a amendment requiring that the Keystone XL be approved before the extension can go into effect.

agmartin on February 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Great idea!!!

Can we also add “at least 12 major offshore drilling permits” (or permits for discovery and extraction of an additional xxxx number of barrels of oil) to the requirement??

landlines on February 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Don’t worry Barack Don Quiote Ob@st@rd will charge in and weasal something out of the DummycRAT Senate, like an earmark attached to some completely unrelated bill!?! Besides, the only way to make those windmills profitable in the first place, is to bottle up ALL of the HOT AIR in DC, and aim it at ‘em!?!

Colatteral Damage on February 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM

windpower is a Socialist wet-dream. It costs a lot of Government money. It provides the illusion of being energy efficient. It seems to be eco-friendly. The only thing true is the cost. It doesn’t displace any power plants which have to be kept running at full stand-by in case the wind doesn’t blow. The blades kill thousands of migratory and endangered bird species. Windpower is not a wet-dream, but rather a night-mare.

Dandapani on February 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM