Documents filed under Taxes & Subsidies
Introduction: Thirty states including the District of Columbia have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) specifying shares of electricity consumption provided by renewable energy. RPS proponents argue that these policies are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also argue that the construction of renewable energy facilities increase employment opportunities. Opponents assert that Renewable Portfolio Standards increase electricity generation costs and rates paid by customers, which reduces regional economic activity. The objective of this study is to provide a balanced look at the issue, weighing the costs and benefits of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. A portion of the study's executive summary is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Australian Federal Senator John Madigan delivered this powerful speech before the Senate during its deliberation of Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015, a bill that would lower Australia's national target for renewables. In his speech he cites the high cost of supporting the wind industry and the hypocrisy of claims that wind energy lowers electricity rates. His speech is provided in full below and can be accessed at the links on this page.
High Cost - Since being adopted in 1992, the cost of the PTC for wind energy has ballooned from roughly $5 million a year in 1998 to $1.5 billion annually today. This open-ended subsidy of 2.3¢/kWh in after-tax income represents a pre-tax value of approximately 3.5¢/kWh. In many regions of the country the PTC now equals, or is greater than, the wholesale price of power.
Texas PUC chairwoman, Donna Nelson, has initiated an investigation into "the costs of [transmission] system upgrades, the costs to maintain and operate the current system, and the allocation of those costs specifically related to renewable resources." In her memo below (and attached). Chairwoman Nelson warns of the costs, particularly of the wind PTC is extended by Congress.
This paper provides a useful explanation of how wind farms in the U.K. are compensated for not operating. Wind projects operating in areas of limited transmission capacity are straining the system and require that they be turned off during periods of low demand but high wind output. £981 was the highest payment for £50 worth of loss. Last fall (2013) the rules were changed to supposedly prevent “excess profit” being made, but even then the average payment for one day was £84/MWh, with the highest being £149/MWh.
In this paper, Joseph Cullen quantifies the emissions offset by wind power for a large electricity grid in Texas using the randomness inherent in wind power availability. When accounting for dynamics in the production process, the results indicate that only for high estimates of the social costs of pollution does the value of emissions offset by wind power exceed cost of renewable energy subsidies. An excerpt of Mr. Cullen's paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from this page.
Senator Alexander of Tennessee and Senator Manchin led the charge in asking the Senate Finance Committee to oppose extension of the wind production tax credit. The full content of the letter is below. The actual letter with signatures can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
This document examines the cost of wind power after considering federal subsidies and the effect the subsidies on market energy prices. The conclusion of the document is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Earlier in 2013, Wyoming Wind & Power LLC (WW&P) submitted an application to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council seeking approval to construct and operate a 900 megawatt (300 turbine) facility in Platte, Goshen, Converse and Laramie counties. WW&P has canceled the project citing various reasons. A portion of the letter submitted to the Siting Council is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
This report is the response of a committee appointed by the National Academies to a charge by the U.S. Congress to conduct “a comprehensive review of the Internal Revenue Code to identify the types of and specific tax provisions that have the largest effects on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects.” The committee is composed of experts in tax policy, energy and environmental modeling, economics, environmental law, and related areas. The general findings of the study are shown below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
Why GAO Did This Study
This testimony, prepared by Lisa Linowes, examines the Class I RPS market in the State of New Hampshire. Aggressive policies in the New England region have resulted in New Hampshire RECs migrating to other states. This testimony was submitted in reference to the Timbertop wind energy proposal, a 15 megawatt project proposed to be built in the state. A portion of the testimony is shown below. The full testimony can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This notice provides two methods that a taxpayer may use to establish that construction of a qualified facility has begun. A taxpayer may establish the beginning of construction by starting physical work of a significant nature as described in section 4. Alternatively, a taxpayer may establish the beginning of construction by meeting the safe harbor provided in section 5 (Safe Harbor). Although a taxpayer may satisfy both methods, a taxpayer need only satisfy one method to establish that construction of a facility has begun for the purpose of qualifying for the PTC or ITC.
Economist Robert Michaels PhD presented this important testimony at a hearing before the Oversight Subcommittee and Energy Subcommittee of the Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. Dr. Michaels addresses the inefficiencies of wind energy and high costs of the technology. The purpose of his testimony is provided below. To access the full testimony, click on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
This important report prepared by the United States Government Accountability Office examines federal wind-related initiatives. The GAO identified 82 wind-related initiatives that were fragmented across agencies, most had overlapping characteristics, and several that financed deployment of wind facilities provided duplicative financial support. The 82 initiatives were fragmented because they were implemented across nine agencies, and 68 overlapped with at least one other initiative due to shared characteristics. A summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
This report prepared by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee examines how American taxpayers have paid out nearly $4 billion to foreign-owned companies as part of a stimulus program that pays cash grants to green-energy firms. Republicans on the Committee charged that the Treasury Department-administered program has "failed" in its goal of putting Americans to work.
Nearly 6,500 citizens from 25 participating states united in signing this letter urging Congress to oppose any extension of the wind energy production tax credit (“PTC”) due to expire at the end of 2012. More than 200 U.S. Senators and Members of Congress received the letter. The body of the letter is provided below. The full letter, without signatures included, can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
David E. Dismukes, a professor, associate executive director, and director of Policy Analysis at the Center for Energy Studies, Louisiana State University, lays out a clear description of the wind production tax credit and how the subsidy has become an unnecessary handout for an industry that, after 20-years, is unable to stand on its own without government assistance.
Attorney Steven Ferrey examines the constitutional barriers to State renewable energy policies, specifically the Constitution‘s Supremacy Clause (Article VI) and Commerce Clause (Article I). These constitutional articles establish hard legal limits on what states can and cannot do by regulation. In addition, as states collaborate on renewable energy policy, the Compact Clause raises distinct constitutional limits.
This important document prepared by the Northbridge Group explains how the wind production tax credit has distorted the competitive wholesale energy market thus harming the financial condition of other, reliable generators on the system. The executive summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.