Tax Breaks & Subsidies
Critics have said the wind farm plan would include heavy up-front costs for building the turbines and installing them at sea.
But Jim Lanard, spokesman for Bluewater Wind, said wind power will end up being less expensive than traditional fossil fuels once the government begins taxing emissions.
Wind energy plans have been shrinking in the state, as the industry faces a glut of cheap natural gas resulting from hydrofracking, uncertainty over federal support and dwindling financing.
That boom, however, is on the brink of turning into a bust. As federal government support goes into precipitous decline as time-limited subsidies expire, the clean energy industry is facing a "funding cliff" according to a recent analysis by authors from three leading US think-tanks.
CHEERLEADERS for renewable energy are fond of pointing out that patches of desert receive enough energy each year from sunlight to power the entire world. But few deign to explain how the construction of the millions of solar cells required to convert that energy into electricity would be financed. Utility bosses and policymakers tend to dismiss wind and solar power as noble but expensive distractions, sustainable only through lavish subsidies. But new studies suggest that renewables might not be as dear as sceptics suspect...These figures, of course, rely on all sorts of questionable assumptions.
In interviews, executives at top Chinese and foreign wind companies said many Chinese turbine makers would be squeezed out by the slowdown. One European turbine maker executive, who did not wish to be named, said the Chinese market was facing a "bloodbath".
China's National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) announced on June 30 a plan to raise consumer electricity rates by 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH). A tiny fraction of the additional charge, 0.1 cent per KWH, will be used to develop renewable energy (RE), a senior NDRC official told Xinhua a few weeks later.
This was unprecedented, the official said. The money would be used to cover the portion of RE development costs that are higher than the average for conventional energies. The practice complies with the principle enshrined in the Renewable Energy Law (REL) that the extra costs of renewable energies should be shared by all end users of electricity across the country.
No one has ever before sued the US president over this type of ruling, but Ralls argues that Mr Obama exceeded his powers ...
On Friday afternoon, Obama issued an order compelling the company to sell within 90 days four wind farm sites in Oregon, and to clear all its equipment and structures off the sites within 14 days.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne has admitted he is concerned about the financing of major wind farms, as the UK aims to get a third of its energy from renewables.
LIVINGSTON - Some local governments in Montana are having second thoughts about entering the wind energy business despite the incentive of interest-free financing from the federal government.
While some cities and counties remain enthusiastic about the idea, others are bailing out. Almost half remain uncommitted and the clock is ticking.
The Park County Commission dropped out of the program this month, saying it involved too many unknowns.
"It doesn't look like something we ought to hang our hat on right now," Commissioner Jim Durgan said.
Similar sentiments reign in Carbon County.
As the economy sputters along, municipalities struggling to fix roads, fund schools and pay bills increasingly are rescinding tax abatements to companies that don't hire enough workers, that lay them off or that close up shop. At the same time, they're sharpening new incentive deals, leaving no doubt what is expected of companies and what will happen if they don't deliver.
Local voters approved a law in 2004 that requires Water and Light to devote part of its energy portfolio to renewable sources such as wind or landfill gas. The law requires that 2 percent of the city’s electricity come from renewables by 2008.
Power from the wind farm should account for about 1 percent of the city’s output, a spokeswoman for the city utility said. The city should start receiving energy from Bluegrass Ridge early next year. "I’m proud of Columbia for its commitment to sustainable, renewable energy," Mayor Darwin Hindman said. "This city already has had a good record of programs dedicating to conserving energy, … but that will only go so far."
The list of qualifying devices includes passive solar space heating, solar water heating, solar thermal electric, photovoltaic, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, fuel cells and alternative energy refueling stations.
The "commence construction" component is the missing piece from the American Tax Payer Relief Act, which was officially signed into law on Jan. 2. The PTC extension included a change in language that requires projects to begin construction before Jan. 1, 2014, in order to qualify for the PTC.
So are federal subsidies still a life-or-death question for the industry? Maybe not anymore. Richard Morrison, chief executive of Molded Fiber Glass Companies, which makes wind-turbine blades for General Electric, told us:
"The failure of the U.S. Congress to extend the production credit is not a good thing. Now how bad of a thing is it? It's hard to predict because things are a little bit different now in 2008 than back in the 1990s when it was a fledgling industry. There is a real business here and a big business and a growing business."
"Our main challenge is funding. The clear message from investors over the last six to 12 months is that they want to see a far greater portion of the costs contributed by the government."
Start-up funding for clean energy companies around the world has slumped in the last quarter, falling nearly a fifth since the previous three months, according to a new report.
Wind farms "have a better return on investment than coal plants," says Anders Eldrup, chief executive of Dong Energy, a company based in Denmark that is shutting down coal-fired power plants and building wind farms ...But that is true only in places with hefty subsidies, he says. "Without that, they wouldn't work."
Critics say subsidies of any kind waste taxpayer dollars. But even fans of renewable energy worry this public largesse is costing too much.
Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator.
The slogans are simple:
Clean wind energy or coal-powered plants polluting the planet.
Higher electrical bills or utilities free to save ratepayers money.
In the muddle of initiatives and measures that clutter the Nov. 7 ballots, those for and against Initiative 937 are hoping to persuade voters with these basic concepts.
But that’s only the tip of the wind turbine.
A 2.2-cent-per kilowatt hour production tax credit brings the "levelized" cost of electricity -- a combination of construction and operating costs -- for wind to $35 to $65 per megawatt-hour, depending on the region. That makes the resource competitive with natural gas.