“The U.S. wind industry has … demonstrated reliability and performance levels that make them very competitive.”
– Statement of Michael L.S. Bergey, American Wind Energy Association, 1986.
“The wind PTC was initially passed in 1992 as a temporary incentive to help a then fledgling industry – with the expectation that wind energy would be environmentally benign and would become commercially viable. However, after nearly 40 years of subsidies for wind energy R&D and 20 years of lucrative wind energy tax breaks — together totaling over $100 billion.”
– Glenn Schleede, “Republicans for Obama Energy (Senate Finance Committee Okays PTC/ITC Subsidies),” April 16, 2014.
Concentrated benefits/diffused costs. The cronies, rent-seeking profits calculated, lobby government in the capitals. Most of the rest of us, just paying a fraction of a penny for their many dollars, stay home. That’s how government grows and bad public-policy rationales get going.
Wind power and other qualifying renewables got their government largesse long ago. Even before the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was promising coming competitiveness with just a bit more subsidy, a little more time. Then the taxpayer favor could go away, they promised time and again.
The open-ended, outsized tax subsidy for qualifying renewable energy, a mainstay of Obama energy policy, is a Republican, not only Democrat, problem. Texas, for example, thanks to Enron in a bootlegger-and-Baptist coalition with pro-wind environmentalists, is a Republican friendly state for AWEA et al. Note the support for wind from, for example, Sen. John Cornyn.
New Coalition Letter
Earlier this week, a coalition letter (reprinted below) urged Congress not to renew the wind PTC in these words:
“On behalf of our groups and organizations, together representing millions of Americans, we write to express our strong opposition to renewing expired wind tax incentives.
“Over the past 20 years, American taxpayers have seen little return from the forced investment in wind energy. This handout consistently fails to deliver on its promise of long-term job creation, economic activity, and affordability. It promotes government favoritism in the energy marketplace, threatens the reliability of the electric grid, and a 1 year extension costs $12 billion over 10 years. Recent reports and studies have also shown that subsidizing wind energy results in higher electricity costs for American families.
“American taxpayers deserve a portfolio of energy solutions that are economically viable, not those that have to be propped up by carve outs in the tax code.”
A reprint of the letter/flyer is below:
 Statement of Michael L.S. Bergey, American Wind Energy Association, Renewable Energy Industries, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, 99th Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1986), p. 129.