Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Washington
The government's Energy Information Administration detailed the findings earlier this month in a study that showed falling wind energy production in California, Oregon and Washington state — typically known as a bastion for clean energy development. The agency didn't say how the wind energy slump would affect the electric grid, but it did say it could hinder wind farms from taking advantage of a key federal tax subsidy and harm their economic viability. Clean energy companies rely on the subsidy to fund projects. ...Even small changes in wind speed can dramatically reduce electricity output from wind turbines.
Energy policy in the United States has less to do with kilowatt-hours than it does lobbyist hours. Policy that fosters the development of new technology, as the credits for wind and solar were intended to do, has its place. When the technology – alternative or conventional – matures, it’s time to move on.
Californians don't want Washington state's electricity as much as they used to. In 2011, the California Legislature passed laws that encourage utilities to generate most of their renewable power from within the state. That left up to $5 billion worth of proposed projects for Washington and Oregon suddenly without investors. ...The price of natural gas has been low, making renewable energy such as solar and wind less attractive.
And in this state, Chris Gleason, community and media services manager for Tacoma Public Utilities, said the wind industry "is no longer in its infancy" and that tax subsidies have distorted the market, leading to overdevelopment of wind power in the Northwest.
In a special session that begins today, Washington's legislature will consider limiting current tax exemptions to wind equipment owned by or generating power for in-state utilities. Washington state governor Chris Gregoire called the special session in an attempt to agree measures to address the state's $2.8 billion budget gap.
Cap-and-trade schemes could hurt families and send jobs overseas The recently passed U.S. House bill to create a cap-and-trade system to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions threatens to hurt families and send jobs out of the country, argues Washington state Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. In Washington state, the definition of 'green jobs' is ill defined.
But what are our tax dollars buying? In Utah, $79 million is being spent on improving drinking water. School districts in Georgia are receiving $660 million. Nebraska received $1 million to maintain national wildlife refuges. But what about Washington? In particular, will our tax dollars help build the Desert Claim Wind Power Project in Kittitas County?
You already drink shade-grown coffee, drive a Prius, and shop strictly organic at PCC. So naturally you're the best kind of customer-indeed a captive customer-for the ad blitz Seattle City Light has recently devised for its two-year-old "Green Up" program. Your latest billing envelopes have encouraged you to Green Up by adding a voluntary premium of as much as $12 to your monthly bill. For what purpose? To buy an amount of wind power equal to a percentage of your household's usage of cheap hydropower. "Participating in the Green Up program demonstrates your preference and support for clean energy and a healthy environment in the Northwest," says the city's Web site. "It helps promote economic development in rural parts of the region, improves our energy security, and reduces pollution." Really?
A tax break that has helped spur the development of windmill farms in Washington state could be extended for five years as part of the new Senate energy bill, Sen. Maria Cantwell said Wednesday. But the ability to carry that power from turbines in some of the wind-swept regions of the Northwest to the customers who need it isn't part of the proposal at this time.
The company said the increase was needed for a new wind-farm project in Central Washington (Wild Horse Wind), a long-term contract to buy power supplies from Chelan County PUD, the installation of new generators for the Baker River Hydroelectric project and more capacity in several natural gas transmission pipes.
Cowlitz PUD commissioners Wednesday OK’d a multiparty deal ensuring that a $361 million central Washington wind farm, large enough to supply 38,000 homes with electricity, will be financed with private money. Three years in the making and involving lawyers from coast-to-coast, the groundbreaking transaction will mean an investment group formed by Prudential Insurance and Lehman Brothers will own a wind farm conceived by the PUD and three other utilities. The investors aren’t interested in wind turbines, but they are interested in federal tax deductions available to private investors in environmentally friendly wind farms, said Alan Dashen, a financial consultant hired by the PUD to arrange the deal.
Large utility companies will have to increase their renewable energy sources to 15 percent of their supply by 2020 under an initiative approved by Washington voters. Under Initiative 937, utilities with more than 25,000 customers would have to meet 15 percent of their annual load with resources such as wind power, solar energy or sewage gas by 2020. With about 65 percent of the expected vote counted Thursday, I-937 passed with about 52 percent of the vote, or 697,133 votes. About 48 percent, or 647,572, voted against the measure.
Voters picked their way through four statewide ballot measures with an independence that defied easy assumptions about political geography...... Washington voters were all over the map in supporting the renewable-energy proposal, Initiative 937. If the measure, passing with 52 percent, becomes law, utilities will have to derive 15 percent of their energy portfolio from renewables by 2020 or face fines.
The slogans are simple: Clean wind energy or coal-powered plants polluting the planet. Higher electrical bills or utilities free to save ratepayers money. In the muddle of initiatives and measures that clutter the Nov. 7 ballots, those for and against Initiative 937 are hoping to persuade voters with these basic concepts. But that’s only the tip of the wind turbine.
Supporters of Initiative 937, the renewable energy measure on the Nov. 7 ballot, have out-raised their opponents by a 4-to-1 margin heading into the final two weeks of the campaign, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Washingtonians for Cleaner Cheaper Energy had collected $1.52 million and spent $1.46 million as of Oct. 10, while No on I 937 had raised $372,615 and spent $67,785. Leading the pro-initiative campaign funding is the Sierra Club and its political action committee with combined in-kind contributions of more than $132,000. The initiative addresses two of the Sierra Club’s top priorities, which are air quality and public health, said Sierra Club associate regional representative Shannon Harps.
Washington's Initiative 937, which appears on the statewide ballot this November, would impose new restrictions on the state's utilities in an effort to reach targets of specifically selected energy types, says Todd Meyers of the Washington Policy Center.
If voters approve Initiative 937 in November, your utility bills will go up. That's enough reason to vote "no" on I-937, but the mandates in the initiative also are unnecessary for Washingtonians to enjoy clean, renewable energy. Here's why.
937 is an unnecessary government mandate that is going to increase your utility bill. So vote no on I-937. I say this upfront because not everybody reads articles completely. No matter what else you read about I-937, remember this: If I-937 passes, we all will pay for it.
The state's utilities, which are funded by ratepayers, are already seeking alternative energy sources because it's good business. The Pacific Northwest, with it's clean, inexpensive electric power created by the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, is the envy of the nation. Why then should it be necessary to approve Initiative 937, which mandates that the larger utilities in Washington state obtain 15 percent of their power from other clean, renewable sources? It's not. This state is already ahead of the nation.
Everyone, especially every energy company, loves renewable energy, but the conversion should occur as market conditions dictate, not forced by government in ways that lead to higher energy prices....... Another reason to reject I-937 is this glaring flaw: It does not include hydropower with wind and solar as a “renewable source.” It’s impossible to envision the inexorable flow of water through turbines at our state’s dams as anything but renewable.