Monday, October 22, 2012

Wind Power and the 2012 Presidential Election

I have found this election to be very disingenuous. On Tuesday night at the debate President Obama and Governor Romney sparred on several issues with Obama calling Romney a liar many times. One issue was wind energy.
Many people hear “wind energy” and they think of Iowa. Apparently, so do the candidates. The state’s role in wind energy production was mentioned by both Governor Romney and President Obama in Tuesdays night’s Presidential Debate.
“For example, with wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are phantom wind energy jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good manufacturing jobs, and Gov. Romney says I’m opposed, get rid of it, that’s not an energy strategy or the future,” President Obama said during Tuesday’s debate.
Governor Romney responded Tuesday night, and said. “I don’t have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa, and they’re not phantom jobs, they’re really jobs. I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa, and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas and I’m going to make sure we’re taking advantage of our energy resources.” (Krystle Kacner WHO-TV)
I believe wind power and solar power should be harnessed more in the United States. What I don't feel is necessary is the year after year tax credits. Tax credits offer a support system that causes too much industry dependence on government and this refers to the wind turbine industry also.
Nicholas Loris in the online Heritage Network article "Gone with the Wind" reiterates how I feel.
"Let’s take it back to 1992. The parents are watching Murphy Brown, the kids are watching Full House, and people are rockin’ out to Nirvana and Dr. Dre. (Some things never change.) And wind was ready to usher in a new era of energy production. In fact, Matthew Wald wrote in a 1992 New York Times article, “A New Era for Windmill Power,” that “striking improvements in technology, the commercial use of these windmills, or wind turbines as the builders call them, has shown that in addition to being pollution free, they can now compete with fossil fuels in the cost of producing electricity.”
He went on: “Kingsley E. Chatton, president of U.S. Windpower, which operates 22 new-generation windmills here, said the economics of wind power was at the point where it ‘will compete with fossil fuel.’ Others agree.”
Twenty years of subsidies later, wind only provide(d) a paltry 2.3 percent of America’s electricity in 2010, and it still needs subsidies." (
According to Laura DiMango in an article U.S. Wind Tower And Blade Manufacturers Face Uncertain Future that Supply-chain participants - especially wind turbine tower, blade and nacelle manufacturers - continue to experience financial troubles, which could have a negative ripple effect on the entire U.S. wind industry.
"For example, Illinois-based wind tower manufacturer Broadwind Energy just reported a $4.2 million loss for the second quarter. Although the loss was smaller than the $4.4 million one reported in the second quarter of last year, the company attributed its stronger operating results to its gearing and services segments and to lower operating expenses, rather than to the tower segment of its business, which has continued to hamper its earnings results."
After twenty years of subsidies, it seems wind energy companies should have figured out how to  be self reliant without subsidies and recognized that an end to subsides could come at any time. I am not against subsidies but believe there should be a requirement that companies work toward becoming solvent. I would think that by now the companies should have figured out how
to make them cost effective. The power companies, cities, and others
who purchase them or receive rent for having them on their property have benefited. They know their savings and should
understand the logic  that if they have wind energy, they should be the ones subsidizing turbine companies from their
By providing subsidies, the motivation to become more
innovative and discover ways that are more economical has grown stagnant
. We must be careful about how much we subsidize industries. Do we
provide subsidies that do not promote independence? In a time when our
country is in great debt, we must look at where things are. There must
be other ways industries, that receive subsidies, can become financially
solvent and should be striving for solvency.
One case that was recently discovered and is troublesome is that China and Vietnam have been illegally bringing much less expensive wind turbines into the U.S. under false pretenses. This causes an unfair playing field.These countries' pay scale is lower than the U.S.causing undue hardship on U.S. businesses.Let's be more proactive on the companies that illegally bring their products into our country.
The amount we subsidize is extensive as reported in the online article SUBSIDIZING BIG WIND: The Real Costs to Taxpayers by Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
"Proponents of wind energy claim that the subsidy is needed so that
the wind industry has more time to mature. They also frequently cite the
number of jobs that may be lost if the tax credit is terminated.
Nevertheless, a look at the wind industry from four different
angles—direct subsidies, mandates, cost of jobs produced, and ongoing
exemptions from federal wildlife laws—shows that no other part of the
energy industry receives such preferential treatment.

  • On a per-unit-of-energy-produced basis, the PTC
    provides a subsidy to the wind industry that is at least 12 times
    greater than that provided to the oil and gas sector and 6.5 times
    greater than that provided to the nuclear industry.

  • More than two-thirds of the American population
    live in states that have mandated the use of renewable electricity, and
    those mandates are imposing significant costs on ratepayers.

  • If viewed solely as a job-saving measure, a one-year extension of the PTC will cost about $329,000 per job.

  • Despite numerous violations, the Obama
    administration—like the Bush administration before it—has unofficially
    exempted the wind industry from prosecution under the Eagle Protection
    and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. If Congress extends the PTC, federal
    taxpayers will, in effect, be subsidizing the killing of federally
    protected birds

As I have said, if we provide the subsidies, make the companies
responsible to become self reliant. Our country is bleeding, we are
beginning to hemorrhage, industries and the people in our country need
to become self reliant and not government reliant.


I probably will need to do some editing on this after a friend reads it.

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