Wind industry gets to keep their taxpayer-funded lifeblood for another year

posted at 5:51 pm on January 2, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Wind energy’s industry-wide freakout is finally over, at least for another year; the country’s “fastest growing energy source” — or, to put it just a bit more candidly, the country’s most expensively subsidized source per actual unit of energy output — will get to keep the wind production tax credit on which they are pretty much entirely dependent through at least 2013.

The 13th-hour deal approved by both houses of Congress on New Year’s Day includes a provision extending the much discussed wind power production tax credit. The credit, which gives a tax break of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced by wind, was set to expire at the end of 2012 and will now include projects that complete construction in 2013.

According to wind energy industry players, the PTC remains crucial for the continued ascendance of wind power. …

When discussions over the PTC stalled in Washington over the last months of 2012, wind farm builders raced to start their turbines spinning before the deadline in order to qualify for the credit.

The great riddle of why an industry that still cannot or will not compete on its own two feet, after twenty solid years of heavy government help, deserves still more taxpayer funding, remains unanswered — especially since the 37,000 related jobs the wind lobby claims would have been lost with the credit’s expiration exist via the federal government’s largesse.

And of course, the Democrats and the Obama administration in particular have ‘invested’ way too much of their political capital and our money in the environmental lobby’s pet projects to not keep the sugar comin’, so the green industry in general got a bunch of shoutouts in the deal — ’cause hey, what’s a little pork among cronies?

The Senate packed an eclectic mix of handouts and takebacks into its last-minute deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” including a measure to repeal part of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul and a string of special interest tax breaks. …

Among the other sweeteners:

Green energy was another big winner in the fiscal cliff bill. Roughly a dozen provisions would extend credits and incentives for plug-in electric vehicles, energy-efficient appliances, biodiesel and renewable diesel, and other alternative energy initiatives.

So… why would we ever want to follow up on the readily proffered examples of this frivolously interventionist attitude? Unintended consequences, say what?

High energy costs are emerging as an issue in Europe that is prompting debate, including questioning of the Continent’s clean energy initiatives. Over the past few years, Europe has spent tens of billions of euros in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The bulk of the spending has gone into low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar power that have needed special tariffs or other subsidies to be commercially viable.

“We embarked on a big transition to a low-carbon economy without taking into account the cost and without factoring in the competitive impact,” says Fabien Roques, head of European power and carbon at the energy consulting firm IHS CERA in Paris. “I think there will be a critical review of some of these policies in the next few years.”

And, of course, the cherry on top of the hypocrisy cake: All of the radical environmentalists’ favorite bird species hardest hit.

Update: At least somebody is paying attention up there:

A recently renewed wind power credit could face more scrutiny next Congress, as House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told The Hill on Wednesday that the credit is of “serious interest” to his committee.

Issa criticized a “dramatic” alteration to the credit that he said amounted to an expansion of the program.

“In 24 hours the heavily subsidized wind industry has gone from the verge of collapse to a modern-day Gold Rush. H.R. 8 seems to create a perverse incentive to rush production of additional facilities even when there may not be adequate demand for wind, biomass, or geothermal energy,” Issa told The Hill in a statement.


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First there was Big Oil. Then came Big Pharma.

Now we have Big Wind.

The comedy writes itself.

Liam on January 2, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I call it Passing Gas.

platypus on January 2, 2013 at 6:01 PM

ooof

Mr. Arrogant on January 2, 2013 at 6:05 PM

John Boehner calls it quits.

SWalker on January 2, 2013 at 5:57 PM

I do not like your blog…Westy lover.

Mr. Arrogant on January 2, 2013 at 6:07 PM

TEATERMERICA 2012!!!

Latch on America…….suck that Federal sow dry!!!

PappyD61 on January 2, 2013 at 6:07 PM

And, of course, the cherry on top of the hypocrisy cake: All of the radical environmentalists’ favorite bird species hardest hit.

Not a radical but I hate Big Wind.

Fallon on January 2, 2013 at 6:09 PM

the country’s most expensively subsidized source per actual unit of energy output — will get to keep the wind production tax credit on which they are pretty much entirely dependent through at least 2013.

lol

And don’t forget that wonderful “bird chopping”, “noise pollution” and “visual blight” (particularly to east coast lib dynasties).

Tim_CA on January 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM

TEATERMERICA 2012!!!
Latch on America…….suck that Federal sow dry!!!
PappyD61 on January 2, 2013 at 6:07 PM

THEN, move on the the next Federal sow. Repeat as often as needed, ad infinitum!

What, what…? Why won’t that work?

/s

Marcola on January 2, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Only 20 years? When will the farmers learn to stand on thier own two feet?

osborn4 on January 2, 2013 at 6:15 PM

See where your tax dollar goes, don’t wonder.

http://www.ge-energy.com/wind

Fleuries on January 2, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Citigroup(C) , and other giant U.S. multinational financial companies are breathing a sigh of relief after Congress extended a key tax break though 2013 following the resolution of the Congressional budget battle that was resolved late Tuesday.

Known as the “active financing exception,” the provision allows U.S. financial multinationals to avoid paying taxes on interest income earned by foreign subsidiaries unless the income is repatriated into the U.S.

General Electric and Citigroup are among the top beneficiaries of the tax deal, since they are among the more active overseas lenders among U.S. companies. The provision saved GE about $3 billion in taxes in 2011, and it saved Citigroup about $1 billion each in 2010 and 2011.
The provision by itself should allow GE, Citigroup and other companies to keep their tax rate well below the statutory rate of 35 percent, according to corporate tax consultant Robert Willens, head of Robert Willens LLC.

A Citigroup spokeswoman declined to comment on the extension of the loophole. A General Electric spokesman declined to comment.

“This is a load off the shoulders of multinational financial organizations, particularly GE, since it gives rise to a substantial reduction in these companies effective tax rates,” Willens says.
Though Congress repealed the active financing loophole in 1986, it was reinstated “temporarily” in 1997, and has been regularly extended since that time, according to Wayne State University Linda Beale writing in her blog, ataxingmatter. It had not been extended for 2012, pending resolution of the budget battle ahead of the impending “fiscal cliff” of automatic wide-ranging spending cuts and tax hikes. The active financing exception was one of several tax breaks that have been regularly extended by Congress in recent years as part of a package known in tax circles “the extenders.”

Also receiving Congressional approval late Tuesday was the extension of a research tax credit, granted to companies that increase spending on research above a certain base level. The credit allowed Caterpillar Inc.(CAT) , to cut its tax bill by 2.3%, or $152 million in 2011. Other beneficiaries were Pfizer(PFE) , which saved $127 million, or one percent of its 2011 pre-tax income, and Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN) , which saved 3.2%, or nearly $30 million.

NY The Street Dan Freed.

Fleuries on January 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I guess you have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.

Fleuries on January 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM

We could employ a lot more people if the government hired them to dig holes with spoons and just paid them minimum wage.

Then next year we could hire them to fill them up.

Socratease on January 2, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Big Wind really blows.

Only 20 years? When will the farmers learn to stand on thier own two feet?

osborn4 on January 2, 2013 at 6:15 PM

When dairys do.

Oil Can on January 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM

All of the radical environmentalists’ favorite bird species hardest hit.

Fallon on January 2, 2013 at 6:09 PM

ISWYDT!

But don’t worry. The rich will pay for this, just like they’ll pay for all of the pork in the Sandy relief bill.
/s

RoadRunner on January 2, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Or you you just get the EPA to help boost your profits on biofuels.

antipc on January 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Hey – somebody has to kill all those evil birds that the EPA protects……

dentarthurdent on January 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Wind is just as ridiculous as Corn gasoline.

Both parties are guilty of ludicrous crony capitalism paid for with pork.

Crazy Ron Paul, for all his BS about libertarianism, was a huge statist pork lover. His rationale was ‘if everyone else is doing it so will I’.

In ethics this fails the test of universalisability. For instance, if everyone stole – no one would have anything. If everyone murdered, there would be no possibility of society.

CorporatePiggy on January 2, 2013 at 7:46 PM

What is the penalty for any accidental killing of the greatly imperiled California Condor? This was all the rage when any Republican was in charge…

Same penalty as chopping up the more prolific Bald Eagle?

Zero if killed by a windmill…quarter million if killed anywhere near an oil well.

marybel on January 2, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Wind industry gets to keep their taxpayer-funded lifeblood for another year

…and Hollywood gets TAX BREAKS!…any bas-turd so called “Republican’t”…. in the House or Senate that voted for this bill need to be castrated and THEN primaried!

KOOLAID2 on January 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

And, of course, the cherry on top of the hypocrisy cake: All of the radical environmentalists’ favorite bird species hardest hit.

Not a radical but I hate Big Wind.

Fallon on January 2, 2013 at 6:09 PM

One need not be a radical to care about our precious avian life.

http://www.keepersoftheblueridge.com/gallery.html

Urban Infidel on January 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM

politics: n. pl. from the Grk polis, meaning many, and the OE ticia, meaning blood sucking insects.

agmartin on January 3, 2013 at 1:00 PM