Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies
In June, Austin-based Green Mountain Energy Company – self-described as "one of the nation's largest retail providers of cleaner electricity products," generated from sources such as wind, solar, water, biomass, and natural gas – announced the crosstown relocation of its headquarters from aquifer-sensitive west Austin to an award-winning green office tower downtown, in anticipation of growth and expansion. By the time the move was complete, however, the energy provider had discontinued servicing about 480,000 customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, laid off 15% of its workforce, and found itself facing suit in federal court. Green Mountain blames regulatory and market obstacles for its woes, but its critics cite an over-reliance on natural gas and a lack of investment in the very clean energy sources the company has made its trademark.
WAYNE COUNTY - The Wayne County Commissioners' meeting on Tuesday quickly switched over to the Board of Assessments and Revision of Taxes to hear an assessment appeal from the Waymart Wind Farm, L.P. for their 2006 taxes.
READSBORO — Officials from the two towns most affected by a proposed wind facility met on Wednesday night to discuss the economic impacts of a 30-turbine development. The Readsboro and Searsburg Select Boards met in the Central School gym to discuss the financial benefits and strains that can be expected by a town hosting a wind farm. Robert Ide of the Vermont Department of Public Service attended, as did about 10 residents. Searsburg is now the home of the state's only existing commercial wind facility. There are 11 turbines producing about 6 megawatts of electricity. A 30- to 45-megawatt plant with 20 to 30 new turbines has been proposed for ridgelines spanning both Readsboro and Searsburg.
TALLINN - Wind power has fallen out of Estonia’s favor in recent months, with the Economy Ministry deciding to limit support to wind-power producers and Parliament adopting amendments to the energy law that will give preference to other forms of renewable energy. Einari Kisel, head of the Ministry of Economy and Communications’ energy department, puts it bluntly: “We do not want to have too many wind mills,” he says. “The price of wind energy is expensive. The unstable production causes additional costs to other producers.”
That windmills retain a mystical popularity among its Northwest supporters, is truly a triumph of hope over substance, not to mention unawareness of hidden costs and poor performance data. There is a huge amount of information now available regarding wind energy from around the United States and Europe. It’s not good news.
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"These projects are very expensive and wouldn't happen without tax subsidies," he [Glenn Schleede] said. "Ordinary taxpayers are getting taken to the cleaners on this."
Absent special political privileges - federal research and development subsidies, tax breaks, and state RPS programs - today's renewable-energy industry, or most of it, would not even exist. Three decades, $14 billion in direct federal support, and untold billions in state taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies have failed to make "green" energy economically self-sustaining. Enough is enough. Congress should terminate, not expand, its patronage of this boondoggle.
It's time to jump off the Production Tax Credit treadmill and work toward a more open, transparent support mechanism such as the Electricity Feed Law.
Hager, a former Duke Energy engineer beginning his second term in the House, argues the mandate unfairly forces utility customers to subsidize renewable energy, which costs more than traditional forms. He says that runs against state policy ordering utilities to provide “least cost” electricity.