U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander wants to end wind energy subsidy early.
Sen. Alexander introduced legislation, in July 2016, to end wind energy subsidies on January 1, 2017 instead of Dec. 31, 2019, ref. 1. Government savings of $8.1 billion can be realized by ending the subsidy two years earlier. Sen. Alexander proposes to use the savings to fund basic energy research by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The wind energy production tax credit has been in effect for 24 years. Sen. Alexander stated: “For years we have been gradually ending the wind production tax credit while continuing to make taxpayers subsidize a mature industry.” In the year 2014, for example, taxpayers paid $6 billion to extended the wind subsidy just for that year!
By ending the wind energy subsidy we will stop giving away taxpayers money to wind developers, who are often foreign owned. (See my post dated 11-27-2015,”U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize German Firm for Texas Wind Facility.”) These developers have been using the money to get rich over the last 24 years. The subsidies have been so generous that in some markets wind energy producers can literally give their electricity away and still make a profit. It is not uncommon that new wind farms have been installed over the objections of communities, towns and homeowners. These people don’t want their property, including their surrounding hills, covered with 45-story wind turbines with blades as long as a football field.
1. Press Release, Alexander Proposes Solution to Biggest Basic Energy Research Problem – How to Pay for it, July 12, 2016. www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=31750BCCBB91-4D5F-AFC5-54233A155166