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Permanent Subsidy? Industrial Wind’s PTC (14 Extensions)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 2, 2024

“But nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program,” Milton and Rose Friedman wrote in their 1983 primer, Tyranny of the Status Quo. And regarding government help for a developing business? “The infant industry argument is a smoke screen,” the husband-and-wife team observed. “The so-called infants never grow up.”

Industrial wind power is certainly not an infant industry, having been demonstrated as grid electricity in the nineteenth century and again during World War II. [1] But it is dilute and intermittent, fatal qualities as against fossil-fuel generated electricity.

And so although the wind interests have claimed competitiveness (actual or impending) since the 1980s, and received a lifeline subsidy in 1992 (below), the U.S. industrial wind industry is as dependent on government largesse as ever. The summary below lists the 14 extensions of the Production Tax Credit for documentation.

PTC Creation & Extensions (reverse order)


[1] “During the second World War, a massive 1,250-kilowatt wind electrical station was operated at ‘Grandpa’s Knob’ in the mountains of central Vermont. . . . The 1,250 kilowatts of power that the wind generator produced during sporadic periods of operation were fed into the lines of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation. The plant was conceived and designed by Palmer C. Putnam, an engineer who had become interested in wind power in the early 1930s when he built a house on Cape Cod only to find both the winds and electric utility rates ‘surprisingly high.’” – Wilson Clark, Energy for Survival: The Alternative to Extinction (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974), pp. 541-42.


  1. John W. Garrett  

    That is a terrific and useful recital of the history of this obscenity. Thank you.


  2. John W. Garrett  

    Thank god the government of the United States finds it beneficial to subsidize small businesses.

    After all, where would the country be without assistance for General Electric (now GE Vernova), Siemens and Berkshire Hathaway?


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