The wind industry's lobbying of Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) reached a fevered-pitch last week when the Federal government took no action on the PTC before recessing for August break. Ralph Cavanagh, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's energy program called Congress' inaction a "criminally irresponsible failure
", Sierra Club e-mailed marching orders to willing soldiers calling on them to demand their "do-nothing" representatives do something, and print media did its best to dutifully deliver the daily message: without the production tax credit, giant corporations now on the verge of unleashing an economic and environmental boom will go elsewhere, and our most desperate regions of the country will remain desperate
After decades of receiving significant subsidies from ratepayers and taxpayers, and recent assertions by the American Wind Energy Association that wind is "no longer an alternative energy source, it's mainstream", the industry's cries portend something else: that wind energy is uneconomical and cannot survive without government intervention. The Federal cost to extend the production tax credit for a single year is $7 billion, the most expensive item in the energy bill debated last Spring. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) subsidies for wind dwarf most fuel types at $23.37 MWh. Yet, what do we get for this "investment"?
A) An intermittent, unreliable (but very sexy) energy resource that does not deliver electricity during the very time of day and year when we need it the most.
B) A resource built hundreds of miles from load centers requiring up to a trillion dollars in public dollars to string transmission lines through undeveloped rich habitat, and
C) The requirement that up to 90% of the electricity from wind be matched with redundant generation to ensure reliability when the winds die down.
Last week, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy Ian Bowles said "Renewable plants have an enormous subsidy under the renewable (energy) portfolio laws. If they still can't compete, they probably shouldn't be built."
Windaction.org couldn't agree more. It's time for our Federal representatives who support the production tax credit to hear from those who understand the economics behind "big wind". Contact your representatives today, and tell them "enough is enough".