Saturday, December 15, 2012

Can We Afford to Keep Doing This?

While driving to Norman, OK recently I saw the newest "wind farm" to the west of Interstate 35 southwest of Tonkawa. Wind farms show up as bright ground clutter on weather radars and here it is.

The point of this posting isn't to show you a picture of ground clutter. It is to pass along a bit of information from Forbes that this former booster of wind power turned critic found shocking:

Since first adopted in 1992, the “temporary” production tax credit for wind energy has ballooned from $5 million per year in 1998, to over $1 billion annually today. And even if ended, taxpayers are still obligated to cover nearly $10 billion in tax credits for projects built during the last decade. That’s in addition to an almost $20 billion debt for wind projects eligible under the Section 1603 extension, the renewable energy bailout of 2011. In many parts of the country the Production Tax Credit actually exceeds the wholesale price of power.

I had no idea that we taxpayers are still on the hook to the tune of $30,000,000,000.00 to Big Wind even if the PTC expires (as scheduled) December 31st. This number was so astounding to me that I thought I'd pass it along.

2 comments:

  1. Vestas Blades manufacturing facility in Windsor, CO have been using WeatherCall Enterprise for several years. It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot more about the wind energy industry from the inside which I found to be pretty disappointing. Each of the turbines cost between $1-$1.5 million which makes the ROI to be in the area of 10-12 years per unit. This doesn't include the cost of maintenance which is extremely expensive. In addition, (don't act too surprised now), they generate a lot of static electricity while turning, and therefore attract lightning which adds to the cost of maintaining them. They are using lightning monitoring to know when to take them off-line sooner to prevent strikes (and when they're offline, they're not generating product). Without significant government subsidies, this clean energy alternative cannot sustain itself. I wish it weren't so, but the math simply doesn't add up. And yes, the taxpayers are left holding the bag on this.

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  2. Valerie,

    Thank you. My investigations have led to similar conclusions. They don't turn when it is extremely warm and cold which is when they are needed the most. In addition, the maintenance costs are horrendous.

    Wind power is a solution in search of a problem since even the IPCC now says global warming has stopped and all of their forecasts are too warm. http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2012/12/even-ipcc-believes-global-warming-has.html

    We are far better off using natural gas and (relatively) clean coal for electricity than we are wind.

    Mike

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