Why are taxpayers providing federal wind subsidies to foreign investors?

The largest wind facility in the Northeast region of the U.S. is owned by a foreign-based wind company called Iberdrola. This company, based in Bilbao, Spain, is a multinational electric utility that claims to have “the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world.” Iberdrola has more than 93 billion Euros in assets and reaps billions of U.S. dollars as a result of federal subsidies for wind power. Iberdrola not only owns wind facilities in the Northeast, but owns multiple wind facilities in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Iowa and Texas. In addition this foreign company owns single wind facilities located in several other U.S. states including Ohio, Missouri, Wyoming and Nevada.

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) gave project owners the option of receiving a 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) rather than the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). The ITC allows wind producers to deduct 30% of their investment costs from their taxes. The ARRA also created the section 1603 program allowing developers to receive cash grants, instead of tax credits, if construction began before the end of 2011. The PTC was allowed to expire at the end of 2014. Over the last ten years, ref.1 estimated the total federal wind subsidy amounted to over $18.58 billion. In 2014 wind power generated only 4.5% of our electricity, for our investment of $18.58 billion.

Please ask your U.S. representatives: Why are foreign companies being subsidized with U.S. money to install and operate wind farms when many U.S. companies are laying-off their staff?

1. “Estimating the State-Level Impact of Federal Wind Energy Subsidies”, Institute for Energy Research, November 2015.