In Texas, we value promises. When we make them, we work hard to keep them. And we trust our neighbors to do the same.
But the promises of wind energy making Texas a better place to live with cheaper electricity haven’t paid off.
That’s why we’re paying close attention to the proposal being pitched by wind developer E.on to Matagorda County commissioners. Will the development live up to its promises?
When wind farms come to town, they ask for tax breaks based on the promise of jobs. But those tax breaks aren’t a mere courtesy – they’re part of the business model. The deals won’t work without the tax abatement agreements like the one being considered by Matagorda County.
And the jobs? Experience shows they don’t come – at least not in the numbers promised. Wind generation creates very few jobs – especially after the construction phase. More than half of tax active abatement agreements for all industries have been granted waivers allowing for fewer jobs than required to receive the abatements. And most of those waivers are for wind projects.
But it’s not just about the economics. It’s also about people. Wind farms in Texas have greatly affected nearby residents because of noise, shadow flicker, property value concerns, and aesthetics.
Opposition to wind farms in Texas is escalating as more projects are proposed close to where people live. More and more Texans find that giant turbines aren’t good neighbors.
Now, no one is trying to eliminate renewable energy. What we – and many of your neighbors – are calling for is an honest discussion about the true costs of subsidizing wind energy.
And you deserve to have all the facts about wind farms. Not just the promises.
Mr. Peacock is Vice President for Research at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.