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    Production Tax Credit (PTC): Unfair

    07/26/2012

    The federal government has been subsidizing the wind industry for almost two decades under the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Despite costing taxpayers over $1billion annually and providing for less than 3 percent of total electricity generation in the country, the president insists on extending the program indefinitely. 

    The PTC is set to expire by the end of this year and alternative-energy proponents in Congress are attempting to renew the program. Even if the PTC does expire, taxpayers are still on the hook for nearly $10 billion in tax credits for previous, qualifying projects. Although the vast majority of Americans want a cleaner and healthier environment, wind is simply not a feasible way to get there. The cost/benefit analysis of wind energy must be considered. 

    Can handing out billions of tax credits to the wind industry be justified given the amount of electricity generated? Total subsidies for wind, including the PTC, totaled $5 billion in 2010 alone, according to the American Energy Alliance. Not only does the PTC fail the cost/benefit analysis, it does so unfairly. 

    According to Lisa Linowes of masterresource.org, “The PTC disproportionately benefits ratepayers in States with renewable mandates by distributing the high cost of wind to taxpayers at large.” She goes on to say that, “In fact, it (PTC) is nothing more than a cost imposed on all taxpayers in order to accommodate development of a politically well-connected, high-priced, low-value resource that cannot meet our electric capacity needs.”  

    Dr. M. Ragheb, in his report on the economics of wind energy, highlights the fact that half of all the country’s wind power capacity is stored in two states- California and Texas. Other States where the wind industry is prominent includes Iowa and Illinois. The wind industry would be hit particularly hard in these four States if the PTC was allowed to expire. 

    But does the benefit of these four states justify a federal tax credit program paid for by taxpayers in all fifty states? Kevin Borgia, head of the Illinois Wind Energy Coalition, admits that without the tax credit, the market for wind power generation will grind to a halt. 

    It’s time for our federal government to end programs that only benefit a small number of states. If each individual state wants to create its own wind energy program, that is ok. What’s not ok is the federal government forcing taxpayers across the nation to fund a program that for the most part, benefits them in no immediate way. This is especially the case when the PTC is aiding an industry that provides less than 3 percent of electricity generated in the country. 

    5 comments
    Grow Up
    12/31/2012

    Omg i love this! :) american ignorance when its best. Right wing, gun crazy, red neck, inbread.. No wait, lets just call them republicans... Are doing their best to fill the role of the former soviet union, being a dark empire, stuck in the past with outdated ideas, an outdated system and outdated technology. What is the motivation for hating on clean energy sources, it baffles me that people can hate the world we live in that much. Lets just cut down all the forests, burn all or oil, coal and gas and see where that gets us shall we? Erhm f... that. I want my planet green, healthy and sustainable. Humans, or for that matter american energy consumers, dont own the planet. Profit and growth isnt more important than the well being of the planet. America will inevitable be left behind once the energy race really takes off. China and the BRIK countries do not give a flying f... about republican america, they want to get ahead, and they will. Specially as long as we have people like mr. Coppercrapper in america holding back development of a competitive american energy sector. Oh by the way copper, how much government money goes into coal and oil every year. Do you know that if fossil fuels werent subsidized as heavily as they are now wind would be far cheaper? Of course you dont. You hate wind because in your sick twisted world you think its unamerican because some ignorant, uneducated biggot on fox said it. America can do as she pleases but my advice to her is, dont do to the american energy sector as you did with the american auto industry or you will be thoroughly beaten by the rest of the world. American exceptionalism is an idea thats been dead for decades now copper. If you wont compete you cant win. Stop living in the dark ages, wake up or youll find your self working at an amusement park, wearing an uncle sam costume, entertaining rich indian and chinese tourists.

    PR
    07/26/2012

    It would be great if the author could grow up a little and realize there is more to this than money. There is energy mix, security, less GHG, cleaner air. If money is to be the end all, then the monetary analysis should include all costs, even the extra ones. The DOE says that the "levelized" cost of coal is the same as wind. Do you understand this? No? Then you shouldnt put out such drivel. Give us a real article, do some deep total research.

    According to Harvard coal costs the economy > $300 billion a year in health bills (thats genuine suffering folks, 6 year old girls with asthema,etc..) Accounting for that makes wind cheaper than coal. Perhaps you could talk about that?

    The potential harvestable wind energy in this country over 10 times the amount we consume. That makes Dr. Reghab's point silly. Do you see? It doesnt matter if CA and TX have 2X the rest when there is so much to be gained elsewhere.

    GE is bringing utility storage to market (which smooths out Wind power delivery to a 24hr source) axing a standard rather weak argument against wind.

    In California, Santa Rita Jail's "Microgrid" weaves wind, solar, back up diesel (and the regular grid) to SAVE 100,000/yr in utility costs. Hmmm I guess thats impossible because wind doesnt work....

    If you have an axe to grind, come out and say it. But please go to journalism school or something to learn how to do balanced writing. Try again, have some stones.

    Thanks,
    PR

    PR
    07/27/2012

    Fellas. Balanced means taking information from multiple sources (preferable the raw ones)

    Wesley, my point is you wrote half an article. Concede that and we can debate.
    (you are right though, I did not need to use words like "drivel")

    Gene, Really? How childish. You are no doubt a Fox weenie. Step back. Read from NASA, from NOAA, wipe your slate, come up methodically, try again.

    Gene Earl
    07/27/2012

    PR your name should be PC. The article is not supposed to be balanced it's supposed to be TRUE! And, the truth has no agenda or axe to grind. Most people know wind power is useless and not worthy of subsidies provided by all of us. All fossil fuels are infinitely more cost effective than wind and solar. Your propaganda doesn't wash. If we want to read this kind of crap we can look at The Washington Post, or CNN, or NBC, or ABC, or The NY Times, or MSNBC, or The LA Times, or ....

    Wesley Coopersmith
    07/27/2012

    Again, the ad hominem attacks are just not needed for a healthy debate over wind energy. It seems as if you didn't even understand the point of this article. The state governments, not the federal government should be involved in a program that only benefits a few states.