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The Production Tax Credit (PTC) has provided the wind industry with literally billions and billions of dollars since its inception nearly two decades ago. Yet with all the money poured into wind energy, it remains very expensive while generating only 2-3 percent of energy consumed in the United States.
Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, who has been silent on the issue of wind subsidizes, has come out with a statement today saying Congress should allow the PTC to expire at the end of this year. A spokesperson for the Romney campaign told the Des Moines Register, “[Romney] will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”
Romney’s stance has upset the crony capitalists whose business models rely on government subsidies to turn a profit. Indeed, in the swing state of Iowa—a stronghold for the wind industry—Rep. Tom Latham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, both republicans from Iowa, have come out attacking Romney for his decision.
But Romney, unlike Latham and Grassley, understands that it’s not the job of the federal government to choose winners and losers in the market. All energy companies should operate on level playing fields letting the consumer choose which economic good he wants.
This issue of wind energy is not a republican versus democrat one. After all, it was Former President George Bush who introduced wind power as a viable source of energy as governor of Texas and who later promoted it through his Department of Energy (DOE).
On his campaign website Romney states the following:
Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.
Despite being subsidized since the early 1990s and receiving $1.5 billion annually in tax credits, the wind industry contributes less than 3 percent of our national energy consumed and remains dependent upon government aid. The wind industry has lost 10,000 jobs since 2009 yet insists on more government help. Just a one-year extension of the PTC will cost taxpayers $4.1 billion!
The facts are clear and simple. Wind energy is not working. Like many other investments the government has made, it has failed. Romney recognizes this and is ready to let the PTC expire.