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Category — General problems, windpower

AOTA (‘All of the Above’) Energy Policy: A Political Argument for the Uneconomic, Cronyism

“The future belongs to the efficient. The future belongs to the best, not the bottom feeders of  ‘all of the above’. Let consumers decide, and keep taxpayers out of it.”

“Parents, would you favor your son or daughter dating ‘all of the above’?” This is the question I pose in my talks to the argument for wind power proffered by the renewable-energy advocates and the Obama Administration.

More recently, I have come up with a simple word slide to delve a little more deeply into the AOTA argument for a major presentation I have coming up. First, some background.

University of Houston Debate

I am preparing for a debate next Tuesday night at the University of Houston considering the topic:

Renewable Energy: Need for Government Support?” 2013/2014 Energy Symposium Series, Critical Issues in Energy, University of Houston (Houston, Texas). Sponsored by UH Energy and the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. [1]

I will have two opponents.  Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) supports extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and has a long history of voting for special government favors for (qualifying) renewable energy. Rep. Green also supported the failed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill). [Read more →]

February 28, 2014   1 Comment

“Clean Energy Economy in Three Charts” U.S. DOE Misleads Again

“Cost, even if it were accurately calculated, is much different than true ‘value’, especially in the case of the intermittent, unreliable electricity from wind. This elementary fact cannot be unknown to energy specialists at the U.S. Department of Energy, or their political leaders. The fact that DOE issued such misleading material is sad. The fact that it is done at taxpayer expense is despicable.”

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has, once again, issued a misleading document attempting to justify the massive tax dollars, subsidizes, and tax breaks that are being spend on renewable energy. The December 6, 2013, release is titled “The Clean Energy Economy in Three Charts.”

Unfortunately, this release will mislead gullible reporters and news outlets (it was reposted at Breaking Energy). Expect it to appear elsewhere. I hope others will take the time to challenge this blatant taxpayer-funded propaganda when they come across it.

Wind Energy Section

There is too much false and misleading information in the DOE release to correct with a single comment so I will deal only with the section on “wind energy.” In their attempt to defend wind energy, the authors picked two highly misleading statistical measures that have long been so recognized by serious observers of energy markets: [Read more →]

January 9, 2014   6 Comments

Speaking Truth to Wind Power (Recent IER Panel on the Hill)

“Here’s to a post-PTC world. One where, in Lisa Linowes words, ‘the industry shifts their business plans away from those based on tax avoidance to plans based on energy production’.”

Last month, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) held a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill to discuss the problems of wind power in light of the debate about whether to extend the long-standing (1992–) production tax credit (PTC). The event highlighted a new IER study calculating the “taker” and “payer” states from the PTC, Estimating the State-Level Impact of Federal Wind Energy.

I moderated the panel. Panelists included Travis Fisher (IER) and three leading grassroots activists: Lisa Linowes of New Hampshire, Tom Stacey from Ohio, and Kevon Martis of Michigan. Lisa, Tom, and Kevon are wind-power experts whose volunteer work is inspired by the economic waste and wholly unnecessary degradation of rural life.

I began by describing wind power as the perfect imperfect energy due to its economic and environmental drawbacks. Converting wind energy to electricity, indeed, has been a perennial folly since the 19th century for reasons explained in books of the day.

I identified industrial wind as a “crony industry,” given its tip-to-toe government dependence. Such is different from consumer-friendly industries that might be populated by some crony companies (firms desiring special government favor at the expense of competitors, ratepayers, or taxpayers).

Travis Fisher

Travis Fisher, coauthor of the new IER study, explained his methodology of comparing PTC tax receipts per state to tax payments from that state. The straightforward analysis found takers and payers in unusual places. Texas wind producers were the biggest takers, and California taxpayers the biggest payers, given where the wind turbines spin. [Read more →]

January 7, 2014   4 Comments

Wind Power as ‘Misfit Technology’: Comments of Tom Stacy at IER Seminar

“The wind PTC is not a financial leg-up to an equivalent quality source to make it price competitive with conventional sources. The wind PTC rewards a misfit technology for its lack of control over its fuel source – a fuel that will continue to behave badly no matter how ‘price competitive’ our subsidies make it.”

This post reproduces my extemporaneous and prepared comments given at the Institute for Energy Research Panel on Wind Electricity, December 3, 2013.

——————–

There are basic things about the electricity system that everyone needs to know as a starting point.  For those who may not, let me retrace a simple concept: Electricity supply sources are of two basic types – those designed to be used nearly all the time and at a fairly steady and high percentage of their capabilities (base load sources), and those with greater flexibility, designed to be used less because at every instant year round there is a need for the sum of all electricity produced to precisely match demand fluctuations. 

These two basic types of electricity sources developed and grew together to become the leading providers because of their symbiotic characteristics, which turn out to be the most economical way serve our society with electricity on an ongoing basis.

Wind energy is neither type, but instead leverages more use of the latter at the expense of the former. This has negative economic and environmental implications on base load sources thereby causing negative societal consequences. Wind can be considered “parasitic” to base load sources while causing increased use of sources whose output can fluctuate to match variable demand, and now having to compensate for the variable supply of wind energy as well. [Read more →]

December 10, 2013   2 Comments

Chambers of Commerce Falsely Promote Windpower (might be repeated in your local)

“Businesses that are planning to provide equipment or services to the wind industry especially need objective information about wind energy.… Participating in industries that are dependent on federal tax breaks and subsidies can be dangerous, particularly at a time of massive federal deficits and a national debt of about $17 trillion.”

A highly misleading article, “Winds of change blow across Ohio,” by the CEO of the Van Wert (OH) Area Chamber of Commerce, Susan Munroe, was published by the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette on October 7, 2013. Such reflects a new battlefront in the politics of wind with local chambers of commerce arguing for wind projects in their areas.

Ms. Munroe claims that the 304 Megawatt (MW) Blue Creek Wind Farm, built in Northwestern Ohio by a subsidiary of Spain-based Iberdrola, provides substantial energy and economic benefits.

However, her claims appear to be based heavily on information from Iberdrola, not on an objective analysis of facts about wind energy. Those facts call into question key points made in the article. For example, Ms. Munroe appears not know that: [Read more →]

October 15, 2013   6 Comments

Beyond Wind Spin: Miami Herald Should Get It Right

“I would suggest that the owners of the “wind farms” that may not be able to sell all their output don’t deserve a lot of sympathy. They should have known the risks of investing in an industry that exists only because of massive tax breaks and subsidies and other unwise government policies.”

Mr. Graff: Thanks for your probably well-meaning [August 5th] story that bore the headline, “Newly Available Wind Power Often Has No Place to Go.” However, I wonder if you realize that the story was quite one-sided and likely misleading.

That tends to happen, unfortunately, when a “news” story is based heavily on information fed to reporters by lobbyists — in this case from the wind industry’s Washington-based lobbyists, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Please consider the following points:

Market Distortion. Completely missed in your story is the fact that construction of wind turbines to generate electricity is not driven by normal electricity market requirements or by benefits for electricity users. Instead, construction of “wind farms” is driven by two principal market distorting forces:

1. State “Renewable Portfolio Standards” (RPS) that force electric distribution companies to provide from “renewable” sources certain dictated shares of the electricity they sell — even though that electricity is very high in true cost and low in true value.

2. Massive federal and state tax breaks and subsidies for “wind farm” owners. [Read more →]

August 6, 2013   8 Comments

Wind Power’s Negative Externalities: Here Come the Lawsuits (Part II)

“Eric Bibler of Save Our Seashore writes that there are a MILLION Reasons to be Concerned About Industrial Wind Turbines. He invites you to go to your computer and type in the words: wind turbine lawsuit. The result is a staggering (his caps) ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND. As 2013 evolves, more and more of these cases, we predict, will settle on loss of property values, loss of enjoyment, loss of health.”

The damage of industrial wind turbines is also an international issue. Denmark worked with premeditation and created a “loss of value” clause, 2008, passed to compensate property values depreciated by proximity to turbine arrays, but this has turned out to be a double-edged sword. People may be awarded for a portion of projected losses, but of the 551 claims from persons living next to wind turbines, the average compensated value was only 57,000 kroner ($8,478 US), nothing even close to the actual property losses of upwards of 20%.

To challenge the awards, homeowners need to activate a civil suit, with often dubious results and of course legal costs. Further, evaluations are done before the turbines are constructed, leaving the vagaries of the real future losses to literally “hang in the breezes.”

But the admission of property losses is a feeble economic sputter from Denmark, mother of turbines pretty much everywhere. Other admissions of massive financial loss come when communities in opposition to turbine invasions enlist appraisers such as Appraisals One, who in 2009 delved into losses from three turbine developments in Wisconsin, sponsored by Calumet County [Wisconsin] Citizens for Responsible Energy (CCCRE: Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties). The report centres on a literature study, a survey of realtors’ opinions, and a sales study of undeveloped and “improved” lands.

Again, the results were not surprising. “In all cases with a 1-5 acre residential property, whether vacant or improved, there will be a negative impact on property values.” [Read more →]

January 3, 2013   8 Comments

New York State Windpower: Enough Business/Government Cronyism

While Invenergy waits for the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) to be extended by this ‘Lame Duck’ Congress, as expressed in the 12/4/12 Batavia Daily News article: “Orangeville windfarm waits on the tax credit,” there are thousands of local tax- and rate-paying citizens who are eagerly awaiting the expiration, permanent expiration, of this $0.022/kWh subsidy. The PTC is nothing more than a tax-shelter-generator for wealthy, multinational, rent-seeking corporations like Invenergy.

How does a business plan dependent on massive taxpayer-funded handouts for profitability make it past the drawing board in the first place?!? Any of us would have filed such a plan to its rightful place—in the garbage can.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)– with the help of political cronies in high places–have attempted, and failed to push the PTC through various bills, not once, not twice, but FIVE (5) times in a little over a year. Congressmen were inundated with letters, e-mails and phone calls each of those (5) previous attempts from a lot of us telling them to say NO to the PTC–which they did. Yet, here it comes again.

No Means NO!

We hope that our elected “public servants” understand that NO means NO!We the People” do NOT want more wasteful spending on an inefficient, unreliable, antiquated energy source that ruins peoples’ lives, kills hundreds of thousands of birds a year, does nothing to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and has exorbitant costs to boot. [Read more →]

December 10, 2012   5 Comments

Twenty Bad Things About Wind Energy, and Three Reasons Why

Editor note: This is an updated version of a previous post at MasterResource: “Wind Spin: Misdirection and Fluff by a Taxpayer-enabled Industry” which was itself an update of Fifteen Bad Things About Wind Energy, and Three Reasons Why,” one of the two most read posts in the history of MasterResource.

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle, it morphs into a different shape and escapes your grasp. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved with wind merchandising.

1 – Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as even in the late 1800s it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning, more modern needs for power. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on – 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to EVER do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate energy sources as horse and oxen power).

2 – Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent catastrophic threat, lobbyists launched campaigns to favor anything that would purportedly reduce carbon dioxide. This was the marketing opportunity that the wind energy business needed. Wind energy was resurrected from the dust bin of power sources, as its promoters pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 while generating electricity.

3 – Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from those “dirty” fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – which mandated that the state’s utilities use (or purchase) a prescribed amount of wind energy (“renewables”), by a set date.

Why was a mandate necessary? [Read more →]

October 24, 2012   26 Comments

Wimp Power: Some Quotations from Wind’s Critics

Energy and environmental issues need to be addressed using logic and scientific thinking, not emotion, wishes, and depiction.  On a realistic basis, industrial wind energy fails to deliver the goods. By this I mean that windpower:

1) Is not a technically sound solution to provide us electricity, or to meaningfully reduce global warming, and

2) Is not an economically viable source of energy on its own, and

3) Is not environmentally responsible

When you take away the wind lobbyists’ fast-talking shenanigans, their con comes down to these two things: They are telling us what we want to hear, and we’re not really verifying the truth of what they’re saying.

The intellectual conjurers have a clever one-two marketing campaign. First we’re told that the planet is facing imminent catastrophe. And then a salesman comes to our community with a solution! The spiel is that we can do something consequential to help prevent this global disaster — and we can create jobs doing it, and make some easy money in the process.

What a deal!

Wind magicians go into a rural community and carefully cultivate the idea that anything coming from them is found money. The trick is that it’s not coming from them at all, as it’s entirely paid by taxpayers and ratepayers.

Quotations from the Trenches

Realistic assessment is needed in the PR arena.  To this end, different bloggers at MasterResource provided some analogies to describe what wind power really is compared to consumer-chosen, market-proven energy.

“Wind energy can be likened to the wayward child. It’s unavailable when needed, shows up when unexpected, and when it does arrive it often behaves erratically. As a result, wind cannot be relied on as a primary fuel source.”

     – Lisa Linowes, Industrial Wind Action [Read more →]

June 21, 2012   12 Comments