Tax Breaks & Subsidies and Kansas
Wind power is horizon blight.
It's also what economists call rent-seeking. "Rents" are what you get when you're a political crony and you convince the government to take money from others and give it to you. The country would be better off with fewer rent-seekers feeding on the federal budget.
Iberdrola of Spain, owner of Elk River, realized over $9.9 million in PTC allowances in 2007. Foreign companies are not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission. There are no state or federal regulations of any kind on WECS. Few Kansas counties have wind regulations.
WECS will force consumers to pay for their electricity three times; to build the WECS, build conventional power as backup, and additional transmission lines to carry power from the WECS to the grid.
WECS will not produce large economic benefits to a community as evidenced by records from Gray County (Montezuma), or Butler County (Elk River). Elk River has produced seven jobs. Most employees live outside the community.
Let's face it: Most homeowners don't buy wind generators or solar energy systems simply for environmental reasons.
They make the investments because they're banking on a payoff in the form of lower energy costs.
Westar Energy is no different in wanting a bang for its green-energy bucks, which is why it's seeking a rate increase to support an $830 million wind energy project.
But just how much of a payoff should Westar receive? And at what risk? ...To some extent, it's reasonable to place the cost of wind power on the shoulders of ratepayers. After all, wind could provide Kansans with an abundant, environmentally friendly energy source to offset the cost of fossil fuels.
Westar and its stockholders should be given the chance to obtain a fair return on the company's investment. At the same time, though, the company bears a responsibility for keeping cost increases to a minimum for its customers.
A state consumer agency is demanding to know whether Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and her lieutenant governor have tried to influence state regulators who are about to decide how much consumers will have to pay for wind power from Westar Energy.
The concern stems from a once-confidential memo written by the former chief executive of Westar Energy indicating that Sebelius and Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson influenced utilities to pursue large-scale wind power by promising they would be "fully compensated" for any added costs of building wind plants.
In fact, nothing is going to raise our electricity rates faster than the installation of wind power. It is the most inefficient and overpriced form of power currently being flogged to consumers by "green-posing" politicians and profit-hungry wind developers.
The real cost of wind power is staggering when you add it all up. ...Higher costs might be socially acceptable if wind could actually replace coal-fired generation, but it can't. Wind power is unpredictable and will always require backup from a reliable, on-demand, source. ...Beyond the direct costs of wind power, we must also factor in the socioeconomic and ecological costs. Foremost among these is the loss of property values, which reliable estimates suggest is about 30 percent, on average, for those unfortunate enough to become wind farm neighbors. ...Due to deceptive government legislation, the high costs of wind power are being temporarily concealed from consumers in order to encourage its public acceptance. But don't be fooled;
On April 25, The Hays Daily News ran a fairly extensive news story on the proposed development of the industrial wind power generation plant west and southwest of Hays. That article stated that about 80 local families have expressed their opposition so far, but it did not say much about why there is this opposition.
Let me try to explain very briefly some of the multiple sources of opposition. But please understand that this is an extremely brief explanation of each. More information is available at a public meeting being held tonight in the Fox Pavilion, starting at 7 p.m. and sponsored by the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition. (Full disclosure: I am a member of this group.)
I would say that the opposition can be divided into three groups, and these groups often overlap.
Facts now demonstrate that much of the information about wind energy distributed by the wind industry and its advocates simply isn't correct. The public, media and government officials have been misled. Accepting the misinformation and adopting policies based on it isn't in the best interest of electric customers, taxpayers, or the environment – even though “wind farms” are highly profitable for organizations that enjoy the huge tax breaks and subsidies. Income for landowners who lease land for turbines is often at the expense of their neighbors........Please keep in mind that electricity generated from wind has less real value than electricity generated from reliable (“dispatchable”) generating units that can be counted on to be produce electricity when it is needed to serve customers demand. (Electricity from wind is intermittent, volatile and unreliable and most likely to be available at times when it is not needed to meet high electricity demand.) If electricity generated in Kansas from wind energy were to bear anything near its true cost (and considering transmission costs discussed below) there is no realistic basis to believe that it would be competitive with electricity from reliable generating units located near population centers.