Paging Sen. Dean Heller, paging Sen. Heller. Telegram for Sen. Heller.
I told you the other day that our junior senator, who is up for “re-election,” though that term might not fit since he was appointed to fill out John Ensign’s term, is all for extending the production tax credit for wind farms. His website boasts, “Since its inception, the PTC has helped the United States create thousands of megawatts of new clean, renewable electricity, resulting in thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars’ worth of economic activity.”
At what price? Oh, how about $7 billion in tax money.
Today’s Wall Street Journal does the math. Like I’ve not provided this remedial course repeatedly over the past year.
First, the 1603 grant program has been paying up to 30 percent of the construction costs for renewable energy plants and Obama’s budget calls for extending that program. The PTC, set to expire at the end of the year, gives wind energy projects a 2.2 percent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.
“Because wind-powered electricity is so expensive,” The Wall Street Journal editorial explains, “more than half of the 50 states (including Nevada) have passed renewable energy mandates that require utilities to purchase wind and solar power — a de facto tax on utility bills. And don’t forget subsidies to build transmission lines to deliver wind power to the electric grid.
“What have taxpayers received for this multibillion-dollar ‘investment’? The latest Department of Energy figures indicate that wind and solar power accounted for a mere 1.5% of U.S. energy production in 2010. DOE estimates that by 2035 wind will provide a still trivial 3.9% of U.S. electricity.”
The return on our investment is a negative. As the WSJ writers explain, wind and solar are net tax beneficiaries. The taxpayers and rate payers are footing the bill for profits and salaries for companies that have no chance of ever surviving in a free market. (Even the laconic and non-judgmental narrator of the video above notes that the windmills are maintained with subsidies.)
Please advise Sen. Heller that the wind lobby gave 71 percent of its PAC money to Democrats. Who is he representing when he backs such interests on the backs of his constituents?
Earlier this week Chinese premier Wen Jiabao told the opening session of the National People’s Congress the government will promote strategic emerging industries, but it will also “put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power.”
Profits in those industries have dropped dramatically. Profits at Goldwind, a major Chinese wind turbine maker, have fallen 74 percent in the past year.
Paging Sen. Heller. Wake up call.
The Chinese are weaning themselves off the blind faith in an unproven technology, but you want us to keep charging over the cliff?