Wind Energy Policy

America needs an energy policy that embraces the nation’s abundant natural resources. Yet the government’s continues to push wind energy, which has done little to create more affordable or reliable energy. After 20 years of government subsidies for the wind industry spearheaded by the Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind energy remains unreliable, economically disastrous, and harmful to the environment. 

There is no denying that wind is an inherently unreliable power source. The strength and direction of wind fluctuates in different areas and at different times of the day. Because of this problem wind- powered energy grids require additional fossil fuel based energy to balance and stabilize them. The combination of wind-based and fossil fuel- based energy grids drive up the cost of using wind energy which is then passed onto struggling businesses and worried consumers. At the same time, because of its reliance on stable fossil-fuel based energy, wind energy isn’t decreasing as many emissions as we had hoped. 

Wind energy has also proved itself to be economically disastrous. The PTC has cost us billions and billions of dollars over the past two decades. After 20 years of burdensome subsidies, the industry still only generates less than 2 percent of all energy consumed in the United States while costing taxpayers over $1 billion annually. In this economic climate we can afford to spend billions of more dollars on a failed wind industry that has tragically lost over 10,000 jobs since 2009. 

The use of wind energy has always been thought to at least be environmentally friendly if not reliable and economical. But this again is false. Wind energy isn’t as environmentally friendly as special interest politicians would have us believe. The unspeakable environmental impact on migrating bat and bird populations is just one harmful aspect of the wind industry. An estimated 33,000 to 111,000 bats are predicted to be killed by wind turbines in the mid-Atlantic Highlands alone by 2020. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that in the United States wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year as well as hundreds of bald eagles. Bat and bird populations are desperately needed to sustain healthy local ecosystems but the wind industry has a proven record of distributing this fragile balance. 

What should be acknowledged is the fact that wind energy is inefficient and unstable, significantly more costly to the American taxpayers while accounting for a measly 2 percent of energy consumed. On top of all of this, wind energy is environmentally unfriendly, disrupting local ecosystems and killing thousands of bat and bird populations. Mr. Bryce in the Wall Street Journal said it best: “This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America’s wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by “green” energy.” The strongest argument in favor of using wind energy seems to have been over exaggerated. Wind energy is not environmental safe.

Why haven’t the politicians in Washington come to terms with the realities of wind energy? Recently, the Senate Finance Committee voted to extend the PTC for yet another year costing an additional $3.3 billion. Two Republicans on the committee included Senators Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota. The wind industry happens to be rather expansive in both of these states relying on government subsidies for survival. 

An American energy policy that caters to misguided environmental interest groups, wind industry lobbyists, and special interest politicians is flat out wrong. Americans deserve an energy policy that embraces reliable, economically viable, and environmental friendly resources. Wind energy is sadly none of these things. An extension of the PTC will simply continue the use of unreliable, costly, and environmental dangerous resources while benefiting special interest groups rather than the nation as a whole. PTC wind subsidies must end.