Tax Breaks & Subsidies
Some tax experts question what taxpayers are getting in return. Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment. In that time, G.E.'s accumulated offshore profits have risen to $92 billion from $15 billion.
Jefferson County's Board of Legislators slowed down its consideration of the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm. ...Chairman Barry M. Ormsby, R-Belleville, said representatives of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and Galloo Island's developer, Upstate NY Power Corp., would come to the meeting.
Mr. Ormsby said they also would allow the public to speak during privilege of the floor, though no public hearing is required.
The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm would take some money that normally would go to the school district and give it to the town.
The PILOT would send 50 percent to Sackets Harbor Central School District, 15 percent to the town of Hounsfield and 35 percent to Jefferson County. The three are splitting a $2.14 million pie, which will increase 2.5 percent each year for 20 years.
According to the Financial Times, E.ON UK, the British arm of the German energy group, said the viability of its London Array project, a planned 1000 MW wind farm in the Thames estuary, had been called into question by the falling prices of oil, gas and carbon dioxide emissions permits. ...Centrica, the owner of British Gas, estimates that each megawatt of wind power capacity costs about £3m to build: more than the equivalent cost for a nuclear power station.
A proposal to renew a federal tax credit aimed at encouraging "green power" development is hung up in Congress, possibly jeopardizing growth of the business and the players in the U.S. wind energy industry, including Fairfield-based General Electric Co., experts said.
General Electric Co. executives and spokespeople said Wednesday another congressional failure to extend a tax credit for renewable energy projects could put billions of dollars worth of future wind farms in jeopardy. ...The federal production tax credit (PTC) for solar, wind and other renewable power projects is set to expire on Dec. 31. It is indexed to inflation, so owners of wind farms receive a tax credit of 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 10 years of operation. The PTC was first instituted in 1992 to help encourage renewable energy sources and reduce pollution.
Questions about the fate of the tax credit stalled wind- power projects for 2013 and beyond before its extension as part of the fiscal compromise between President Barack Obama and his opponents in Congress. Declining U.S. turbine orders this year will still damp profit, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE said.
GE Energy Financial Services, which invests in energy projects, expects to finish two new wind farms in Texas and Illinois by the third quarter of this year, ahead of any potential tax credit expiration. GE is developing the projects with Invenergy Wind LLC.
The farm in Texas, east of Lubbock, will have 100 wind turbines for capacity of 150 megawatts. Mr. Howell declined to say how much the project will cost.
Wind developers who can't finish their projects this year could face a second problem.
Global demand for wind turbines is so hot that developers must order the equipment months in advance.
General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's two biggest wind-turbine makers, are reaping benefits from record orders by U.S. utilities racing to add generating capacity even as they face the loss of subsidies.
GE, Vestas and Siemens AG stand to gain although the extension of the production tax credit, due to expire in December, is stalled in Congress. ..."Customers are giving billions of dollars of orders already because they're afraid they're going to lose their spot in line,'' John Krenicki, who runs the GE Energy division, said March 5. GE posted more than $4.5 billion in wind-turbine sales last year, the most since it bought the business in 2002 for less than $300 million from Enron Corp. GE's total revenue last year was $172.7 billion. ...Investors, and company executives, are betting the credit will be restored once a new U.S. president is in office.
GENESEO - The city could have a new landmark in coming years.
Aldermen Tuesday voted to accept a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant to help pay for a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, to be built on the northwest side of Geneseo, outside the city limits.
A decision on the site for a $5.5 million wind turbine tower just west of town has been delayed a month, according to Geneseo's mayor.
In June, the Geneseo City Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of negotiating a contract with Johnson Controls to build the 2.5 megawatt wind turbine.
The council also approved acceptance of a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant for the tower's installation.
But a few obstacles came before the council. During the June meeting, one of the people who would live next to the tower said he didn't want to see it from his backyard.
The Observer has learned that George Osborne is demanding cuts of 25% in subsidies, a reduction the industry says would "kill dead" the development of wind power sites. The Treasury's stance has put the chancellor at loggerheads with the Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey, whose party strongly supports more renewable energy.
The plant was built with the help of a federal grant of approximately $65.7 million through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the loan from John Hancock is 80 percent guaranteed by the federal government.
Subsidies for Germany's solar industry will be cut back more than previously announced to free up funds for offshore wind power plants, sources close to the German environment ministry said.
The government plans to increase the maximum subsidy for wind power to 0.11-0.14 eur per kilowatt hour from currently 0.09 eur, the sources said.
The changes will also force solar power firms to increase the profitability of their facilities if subsidies are cut.
German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel is expected to make a statement on the Renewable Energies Law today.
Solar subsidies cost German consumers billions of dollars a year and are widely regarded as inefficient. Even environmentalists are concerned that Berlin's focus on solar comes at the detriment of other renewables. But the solar industry has a powerful lobby, and politicians have proven powerless to resist.
The country's four main grid operators said Monday that households will from January see a nearly 50 percent rise in the tax they pay to finance the switchover - from €3.6 cents to €5.3 cents ($6.7 cents) per kilowatt hour. A typical family of four will pay about €250 ($324) per year under the tariff, including a sales tax.
Germany was replaced by the United States as the world's No.1 market for newly installed wind turbines last year due to falling subsidies, the German wind energy federation BWE said on Tuesday.
While new installation of wind turbines worldwide rose about 31 percent overall to 20,076 megawatt (MW), new installations in Germany slumped 25 percent to 1,667 MW last year, the association said in a statement.
In total, the network operators hope to collect more than 20 billion euros to subsidise renewable energies. ..."The increase in this charge is manageable for many households, but there are also very poor, low-income households which could be negatively affected by this type of price rise," she said.
Germany's energy revolution is the government's only major project -- but the problems keep piling up. The pace of grid expansion is sluggish, and electricity costs for consumers are rising. The environment minister wants to fundamentally alter the way green energy is subsidized, but will it mean putting the brakes on the entire project?
Wednesday's proposals also coincide with a debate about spiraling electricity costs for private households ...Holger Krawinkel, head of energy issues at the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, said that the plan to pass on costs will further increase the bills that householders have to pay for the planned expansion of renewable energies.