The subsidies available for wind projects allow Duke to earn returns on equity of 17 to 22 percent.
In other words, for all of the bragging by the wind-industry proponents about the rapid growth in wind-generation capacity, the main reason that capacity is growing is that companies such as GE and Duke are able to goose their profits by putting up turbines so they can collect subsidies from taxpayers.
Wind developers are federally subsidized with tax credits and they are asking the BPA to pay for those credits temporarily lost during curtailment. This would amount to customers of public utilities paying private investors to stop producing electricity when it isn’t needed. BPA already gives these producers free hydropower to compensate for power deliveries they give up when production is curbed.
We have begun to pay developers to build generation irrespective of an electrical need for the generation. This only worsens the electric generation imbalance ...replacing wind generation with hydropower, while keeping the power system in balance, does not keep the financial incentives in balance.
Tax breaks to encourage wind power are only justified -- if they're justified at all -- when renewable energy replaces electricity produced by a dirtier source. ...With so much water in the rivers, BPA's only alternative would have been to curtail hydroelectric production to make room on the transmission system for wind power.
BPA will likely be tied up in court over wind power -- a bad outcome when we need more momentum for renewable energy development.
We need a fresh look by our political leadership at federal and state incentives that got all the wind developments here in the first place -- production tax credits and renewable energy credits can account for as much as 50 percent of a wind farm's revenues.
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which is responsible for managing the regional transmission system, has indicated that it will likely limit wind power to handle a surge in hydro-power production resulting from the melt-off of a large mountain snowpack this year.
All the posturing by wind industry big mouths cannot change the fact that the tips of the propellers of wind turbines (when the wind is blowing) spin at more than 200 miles per hour! If you were an eagle or an owl hunting for a meal-or any bird trying to fly over the hill along the Columbia River where wind farms are being built at a terrifying clip-imagine having to navigate these spinning blades every day.
Power from windmills is supposed to be great for the environment. But it's not.
First, big wind farms are gobbling out vast areas of the West that until now were relatively undisturbed, sitting there as grazing land or farm fields, or as scenery.
Then there's the deadly effect on birds.
What's the attraction of these Rube Goldberg power networks, and why are they preferred over reliable and proven energy sources?
The answer is simple, really. They are "renewable." Never mind that they require huge subsidies from customers and the federal and state governments. And never mind that when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining, they are little more than oversized lawn ornaments.
For myself, wind energy is pretty awesome and should be developed throughout our nation. But I am strongly against development at the cost of scenic beauty that is highly valued by local residents. That is why I voted "no," but I am very hurt and angry toward the response my honest and sincere vote received.
And the Antelope Ridge wind farm is anything but discreet: 164 spinning turbines each up to 475 feet tall would be strung across more than 40,000 mountainous acres at a cost of about $600 million.
Not surprisingly, this bucolic piece of Oregon is torn up about it.
The Oregon State Health Department has decided it is time to look into possible human health effects from industrial wind turbines. They have announced their steering committee will be comprised of wind farm developers, community members, the Department of Energy and Oregon's energy facility siting council, which oversees new industrial wind facility locations.
A project as big as Antelope Ridge is bound to have some negative impacts. Horizon should do everything within its power to minimize those and negotiate a fair settlement with Union County. If it does all that, it won't have to worry about the outcome of the vote.
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the few remaining places in the nation where some of the Lewis and Clark landscape remains today as it existed more than two centuries ago.
Every year a little bit of that beauty is sliced off to allow man-made blights. This means we must witness the slow extinction of the grandeur of the Gorge.
The answer is that electricity generated on Steens is destined for Southern California. Oregonians stand to see one of their most beautiful wilderness areas spoiled so Californians can keep their air conditioners on high. Why not send the current overload to California? Why not build the turbines there?
Ten years ago Congress protected Steens Mountain to, in essence, keep it the way it is. In collaboration with ranchers and conservationists, Oregon's congressional delegation teamed up with then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and then-Gov. John Kitzhaber to secure passage of the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000 ...wind developers have recently enticed some private landowners on Steens who will profit by the new "green gold rush".
A couple of weeks ago, Oregon's two senators and Congressman Greg Walden were happy to announce they had overcome the objections of the Air Force to the construction of a huge windfarm in north-central Oregon. The news report on their announcement showed why this may turn out to be a mixed blessing: "Plans call for building 338 wind turbines on 32,000 acres in remote areas of Gilliam and Morrow counties."
If not a free pass, wind power still gets a fairly strong presumption of social benefit. As the U.S and the world seek ways to produce more electricity without putting more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, wind turbines have acquired a popular reputation as a low-impact, high-tech replacement for older power plants.
Reality is a good deal more complicated.
As a resident and property tax payer in Union County, I believe I have a vested interest in the future of Union County. The "Antelope Ridge Power Generating Facility" and future such projects are not net long-term positive for Union County. Eastern Oregon deserves better.
The businesses in Union County that stand to gain financially from the Antelope wind project in my view will not act or behave necessarily in the best interest of Union County citizens since it is all about money.
The wind factory developer will be soliciting businesses while requesting their support and endorsement of the project. Endorsements, therefore, will come from businesses that are in a position or are receiving revenue from the project.