Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Colorado
The Rush Creek Wind Project would cross 96,200 acres in six eastern plains counties and generate 600 MW of power. The project also requires a 150-foot-wide right of way for a 90-miles transmission line.
Denver Colorado Republicans want to roll back the state's renewable energy mandates, and with greater numbers in the state Legislature this year — along with falling energy prices — party leaders are feeling more confident about their chances.
Speakers at the recent American Wind Energy Association conference held at the University of Denver identified significant challenges: inadequate transmission, lack of certainty about the production tax credit, and the chilling effect that the death of eagles in turbine blades has had in siting decisions. ...After the session, one of the wind industry members confided that indeed it’s not all wine and roses for the industry. “Transmission and eagles – they’re both huge.”
Wind energy might be great: we would commend any energy producer who found a way to provide efficient, inexpensive, abundant, reliable, and clean energy, regardless of the source. If it worked as Sen. Udall and his allies claim, we as consumers might even support it with our hard-earned dollars. If the product is inferior to its competition and more expensive (unless buoyed by tax-credits), we wouldn't make that investment-our money is better off elsewhere.
Republicans are seeking to roll back a new law requiring rural electricity providers to draw 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
As conservative Republicans intensify their effort to permanently kill the PTC, which has been part of the tax code in some form since 1992, the wind industry itself faces some negative publicity. In late November, the U.S. Justice Department announced a settlement with Duke Energy Renewables, which pleaded guilty to the deaths of 14 golden eagles and 149 other migratory birds at two of its wind farms in Wyoming.
"This would just be terrible for the dairies around here," said Weld County Commissioner and Platteville-area farmer Doug Rademacher, who added that Weld County's five-member Board of County Commissioners has spoken out against Senate Bill 252. "It would really be disastrous for all of ag. A farmer told me the other day this could increase his electricity costs for (groundwater) pumping by about $8,000 per month."
Wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems made its largest Colorado job cut Thursday, laying off about 200 workers at its Windsor blade plant. The cuts represent 29 percent of the plant's workforce. Vestas also had laid off workers at plants in Brighton and Pueblo.
What Romney considers "breaks" and "green" are up for debate. Despite his assertion that he supports "green energy," Romney has made it clear that he is in favor of letting the PTC expire ... Instead, Romney said the money invested in renewable energy and cleantech companies could have been better used for other purposes.
"Our government is not good at picking winners and losers in the marketplace but has certainly proved it is good at wasting taxpayer dollars," Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee's subcommittee on regulatory affairs, stimulus oversight and government spending, said on Thursday.
Senators Bennet and Udall have consistently backed extension of three little-known items: the Production Tax Credit, the Investment Tax Credit, and Section 1603 grants. These notorious mechanisms provide billions in subsidies to the least efficient, most hated, and most environmentally destructive type of power generation: industrial wind projects.
Colorado's entire delegation - save GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs - supports an extension. So does Iowa's congressional delegation. Lots of senators and House members, both liberals and conservatives, have signed up to support it. But the production-tax-credit extension - which costs $4.1 billion over 10 years and includes some other renewables such as geothermal - has thrice failed in the U.S. Senate.
Udall also is pressing ahead by drafting a separate bill to renew the wind credit, hoping to get influential Republican senators to co-sponsor the measure. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, for example, supports wind power but voted against the Stabenow package of tax credits on Tuesday.
A Senate staffer said that in the highly partisan push-and-shove over the payroll tax deduction and cutting federal spending to pay for that, the conference committee ultimately pushed the list of sought-after business credits out of the discussion. "Bills like this can quickly become Christmas trees with other measures attached in committee and it looks like the conferees ultimately tried to stick to the major issues.
A plan to erect an array of windmills in eastern El Paso County won't be blowing a yearly windfall the county's way. That's because wind energy facilities are considered business personal property, and the county ditched its personal property tax about a decade ago.
Xcel Energy oversold wind energy credits as far back as 2000 for a program in which customers voluntarily pay a premium for wind-generated power, according to an investigation by Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff. A settlement is looming related to Xcel's excess collections for the Windsource program from 2005 to 2007, which was disclosed earlier this week.
Xcel Energy overcollected more than $1.5 million from customers who voluntarily pay a premium for wind- generated electricity, according to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff. From 2005 to 2007, the state's largest utility sold credits for more green power than it generated at the wind farms in its Windsource program. Xcel knew it would have a production shortfall in the program but "failed to act".
Green-e, the company hired by PRPA to track renewable energy credits, said it can't guarantee PRPA funds are actually going to targeted renewable projects. Renewable Energy Credits are essentially tradable certificates of proof that one kWh of electricity has been generated by a renewable source. Green-e, owned by the Center for Resource Solutions, audits the sale of renewable energy credits, ensuring that the value green electricity has on the environment is only purchased once through the sale of credits. But the company cannot verify money going to the owners of renewable energy projects such as Shell is actually being invested in the energy project and not going into the general fund.
The state requires municipally owned Springs Utilities to derive 1 percent from renewables annually from 2008 to 2010, 3 percent from 2011 to 2014, 6 percent from 2015 to 2019 and 10 percent by 2020. More daunting is the possibility that federal lawmakers will impose carbon taxes to drive down reliance on coal. No one knows how much that would cost, but Springs Utilities could pay $150 million a year - about 16 percent of its current budget. That's a big incentive to find alternatives, and wind is one of those. ...The city's most recent poll showed 76 percent of residential customers surveyed are willing to pay $1 to $2 more a month to support wind. That's the estimated financial impact of using 50 megawatts of wind, which translates to 3.3 percent of the city's energy needs per year. The reason it doesn't account for more is that wind is an intermittent resource, and power is available from it only 35 percent of the time, Knopp said. Utilities' customer poll also showed 71 percent of the city's business customers support wind if it causes bills to increase by 1 percent or less.
As the Senate continues consideration of H.R.6, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, the Senate Finance Committee approved June 19 a broad package of energy tax incentives, several of which were driven by Senator Salazar. The Finance Committee energy tax package helps further America's progress towards energy independence and includes two Salazar-authored renewable energy incentives which will benefit farmers, ranchers, small businesses and homeowners.