The wind lobby & friends, fighting for survival

posted at 5:19 pm on November 8, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The wind industry and their well-monied interests have been locked in an epic death struggle to get Congress to — yet again — extend the wind production tax credit that ensures the industry’s survival. I’m sure they’re breathing a huge sigh of relief now that the Great Defender of All Green Subsidies is set for another term in the White House, as he’ll help them champion their rent-seeking cause with the public by continuing to vocally couch wind as one of the renewable energies “of the future.” (How it is that President Obama knows how to read the domestic-energy tea leaves better than free-market signals still eludes me.) They’ve still got to get past Congress, however, and they’re giving it all they’ve got, via The Hill:

Advocates of expiring tax credits for wind power projects will greet next week’s return of Congress with a multi-front campaign for extension of the incentives in the lame-duck session.

A bipartisan group of governors, under the umbrella of the 28-member Governors’ Wind Coalition, will hold a Tuesday press conference calling for an extension of the production tax credit that’s scheduled to expire at year’s end. …

Separately, the Sierra Club has blanketed a Capitol Hill metro station with ads in advance of a multiday “wind week” campaign next week to promote extension of the credits.

“Wind power makes clean energy, good jobs and better future. Don’t blow it,” some of the ads state, showing images of people working on wind projects. …

“Wind week” will involve labor, environmental and wind industry groups, the Sierra Club said.

You can read about my great and profound love for this, my most favoritest subsidy in the history of evah, here and here (hint to regulars: government “investments”).

The wind-industry says that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost if the tax credit doesn’t get another chance, which is perfectly true — in the short term. During the election season, President Obama faulted Mitt Romney for calling wind-industry jobs “imaginary,” but Romney was right on the money on that one. If these jobs are so very dependent on government assistance for their survival, they are jobs that come at the opportunity cost of heightened productivity, economic growth, and more robust jobs if those resources were spent elsewhere, rather than being poured into a wildly quixotic endeavor that can never seem to make it in the free market.

But when has the inability to compete on its own merits ever stopped industries lucky enough to land in the arena of political favor? That’s what big government is for, right?


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