Ugh: Senate Democrats pushing for an eleventh-hour extension of wind’s all-important tax credit

posted at 8:51 pm on December 18, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Why won’t you die.

Via The Hill:

In a letter sent to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Monday, 25 senators urged the committee not to let tax credits expire for offshore wind investments and cleaner vehicles, among others.

“If a broader tax code overhaul cannot be achieved by year’s end, it is imperative that these key clean energy tax incentives are renewed as soon as possible,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “These tax credits have helped scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies.”

Markey added that the incentives will help consumers save on energy bills and reduce “harmful pollution.”

In a similar letter, penned by the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, six Democrats called for extensions of the clean energy tax credits.

One of the biggest arguments that the proponents of the wind production tax credit — which provides a most generous subsidy in the form of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity produced by wind turbines — put forward is that the poor, put-upon, and entirely selfless wind industry has had to deal with so much uncertainty over the years with the continual expiration and renewal of the PTC, and we really need to give them a solid idea of where they stand once and for all (preferably, you know, with a nice, long, practically indefinite phaseout). I would one hundred percent agree with that “uncertainty” sentiment, except that I would posit that it’s actually an excellent reason to finally do away with the stubbornly regenerative monster once and for all.

The fact that the PTC’s cyclical life span is always accompanied by a boom-and-bust cycle of planning and construction in the wind industry speaks volumes about the degree to which they depend on the credit for survival. If the more than twenty years of special treatment they have received via the credit haven’t done it so far, I think we can probably say it’s time to let it go.

The industry secured a last-minute, one-year PTC holdover as part of last year’s fiscal-cliff deal, and a competing group of bipartisan senators (led by Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va) is simultaneously arguing that it’s time to push wind out of the nest:

Dear Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch:

We are writing to urge you to allow the ballooning wind production tax credit (PTC) to expire at the end of 2013 as the law intends. The most recent extension of the wind PTC is actually a multi-year “phase out” that does not require the wind facility to be “in service” until January 1, 2016. This extension gave the wind industry the multi-year certainty that it had requested, so now it is time to let this technology stand on its own. …

The growth in wind is driven not by market demand, but by a federal tax subsidy that at times is more valuable than the wholesale price of the electricity in many electricity markets across the United States. Since the wind PTC is so generous, it distorts wholesale electricity markets by increasing the occurrence of the phenomenon called “negative pricing.” Negative prices encourage electricity generators to curtail generation, but the wind PTC makes it economical for a wind producer to pay the market to take their power. Conventional generation that is instrumental to the reliability of the electric grid does not have the artificial protection of the wind PTC, and is harmed by the increased occurrence of negative pricing.

As ever, all of this special treatment is hardly doing the renewable energies these Democrats claim to love any favors. Wind has been on the receiving end of this heftily generous subsidy for over two decades — hardly the way to encourage the price efficiency that could actually make these technologies viable in the long run, is it?


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ObamaCare. Because Don Quixote shouldn’t be the only one chasing windmills

SparkPlug on December 18, 2013 at 8:56 PM

The money is blowing in the wind.

VorDaj on December 18, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Wind Power: the energy of the future for the last 500 years.

PackerBronco on December 18, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Why won’t you die.

^She means the tax credit, Huff-POS.

–But you gots to pay your homies, bruh. You have to spread it around, share the love. This for that.

Axe on December 18, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Not enough dead eagles.

David Blue on December 18, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Hey! How can you expect to get campaign contributions if you don’t supply the ‘tax credits’ to those writing those big checks?

GarandFan on December 18, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Wind energy is filthy. It doesn’t just kill Eagles, other raptors and various birds. It kills bats by the bushel-load. Bats eat a lot of bugs, like mosquitos. (Yes, they easily miss the blades, the turbulence crushes their lungs.)

Wind energy can’t survive without massive subsidy and should be shut down until it competes on a level playing field, including the cost of losses of wildlife.

Meremortal on December 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

1. Create the new infrastructure.
2. Ban the old.

^ This is how they do it. They managed it with light bulbs, but they stumbled with our Jetsons-World renewable energy infrastructure, what with all the crazy and the stupid (it doesn’t actually work).

What they should do is go full Star Trek, and start subsidizing matter/anti-matter injectors and, say, artificial singularities contained in big black boxes, thus providing for our energy needs in even cooler ways. It won’t work either — what with the crazy and the stupid — but at least there would be fewer massive rusting pipes sticking up all over the place and creeping out our children’s children as they search for food among the ruins.

Axe on December 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

I did not know that the big bird-choppers were also big bat-crushers.

David Blue on December 18, 2013 at 9:36 PM

At some point, you’ve made enough money.

In this application, I agree with that sentiment. Enough!

David Blue on December 18, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Hey! How can you expect to get campaign contributions if you don’t supply the ‘tax credits’ to those writing those big checks?

GarandFan on December 18, 2013 at 9:11 PM

EXACTLY!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2013 at 9:40 PM

You can always spot a far-left delusion program in the Senate.

It has Ed Markey (the Ramsay Clark of the 21st Century) out in front demanding that it be made Holy Writ.

clear ether

eon

eon on December 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Axe on December 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

i was over at slashdot and noticed a thread on the light bulb ban. Not surprisingly the #pajamaboys over there just loved the ban…brow beat the few that said something about freedom

all about the money you can save..etc. etc. and nothing about looks. Efficiency you know..that’s key. And of course the mandatory Forward march…safety belts etc. and all the great things that the Nanny has done for us that is Righteous, and we should be grateful

just like CAGW is righteous and correct…and the deniers are exactly light the tobacco people..evil, greedy and stupid

btw..i was watching part of Aliens the other night…they were smoking!

1986…a lifetime ago…what was it that Reagan said..something about freedom is only 1 generation away from extinction???? Our pols today don’t have the standing to polish his shoes

r keller on December 18, 2013 at 9:45 PM

With respect to the wind credit one can only say, er, “inflate me”.

Mason on December 18, 2013 at 9:58 PM

btw..i was watching part of Aliens the other night…they were smoking!

1986…a lifetime ago…what was it that Reagan said..something about freedom is only 1 generation away from extinction???? Our pols today don’t have the standing to polish his shoes

r keller on December 18, 2013 at 9:45 PM

lol :)

Yeah, I notice that stuff too.

re. “the march of progress” — we are the Borg.

Axe on December 18, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Someone needs to ask the “Senator” why Massachusetts only has a grand total of 6 commercial wind turbines online, most of which produce only a limited amount of power.

Right now, Massachusetts is getting its wind-generated energy from here in New Hampshire. The towers are 400 feet tall, but they’re infinitely preferable to Low-Information Leftists to the 100 foot tall towers that would bring ultra-cheap Hydro-Quebec electricity down here.

F-

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

As I recall, Ed originally won election by “promising” that he would only serve a couple of terms and then move on.

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM

They have the time to do this but not ‘fix’ the mistake of cutting military retiree benefits. That will come up sometime in the future according to Murray(D) and Johnson(R). Guess Ryan didn’t read the bill before he voted for it.

Kissmygrits on December 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Unfortunately the credits have nothing to do with whether wind is an efficient energy generator (sort of like ethanol)… and everything to do with the left’s religious like views on alternative energy. Facts dont matter folks – they believe in wind and ethanol!

Free Indeed on December 19, 2013 at 10:03 AM

This should be an easy vote for the deeply-concerned Republican Party, who stand firmly opposed to debt and deficits and seek more fiscal responsibility for government – NO SUBSIDIES!

Since the above Republican Party does not exist, I suspect that wind energy subsidies will be quietly continued.

pilsener on December 19, 2013 at 10:38 AM