Wind Energy Tax Credits Defeated in Senate

The Senate defeated the Stabenow Amendment that would have among other things, extended the Production Tax Credit for wind energy one year and revived the expired 1603 Treasury grant. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) [PDF] provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from utility-scale wind turbines. It is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows wind project developers to choose to receive a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) in place of the PTC or the equivalent cash payment from the Department of Treasury for the value of the 30 percent ITC.

The Stabenow Amendment was defeated on 49 to 49 vote and according to Senate rules needed 60 votes to pass. In an earlier letter to various senators, the free-market coalition, the American Energy Alliance succinctly explained [PDF] why the tax credit should not be extended:

It is increasingly clear that the intervention of politicians and bureaucrats in the energy sector has had devastating economic consequences and led to embarrassing scandals. Yet the Senate is considering amendments to extend disastrous subsidies for windmills and other form of politically-preferred energy sources. We urge you to oppose these amendments.

The PTC was created by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The wind industry insisted at the time that it needed short-term help from taxpayers and would soon be able to compete on its economic merits. Twenty years later, wind is still uncompetitive, unreliable, and expensive, as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Yet Congress increased subsidies for wind dramatically in recent years, to a record $5 billion in 2010 according to the EIA.

Even with lavish subsidies and renewable mandates in many states, windmills provide just 2.3 percent of America’s electricity generation and according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration, wind will only produce about 4 percent of our electricity by 2035. Worse, redundant back-up capacity is required for when the wind isn’t blowing and demand is high.

Wind has been used to generate electricity for over 100 years and can no longer be seen as an infant industry. After decades of subsides and special treatment, wind must someday stand on its own as an economically sustainable industry. Now is a great time to start....

Sounds about right. 

For background, see my 2010 column, Wind Turbines Are Beautiful

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  • HeroicMulatto||

  • Bingo||

    Hahahahah this is beautiful.

  • omnibot||

    get Brad Metzer on the case.

  • Jeffersonian||

    That's some top-shelf crazy right there.

  • Nipplemancer||

    the computer generated narration makes this video way more gooder than it should be.

  • Paul||

    The Senate defeated the Stabenow Amendment that would have among other things, extended the Production Tax Credit for wind energy one year and revived the expired 1603 Treasury grant.

    A better name would have been the "Stab'emnow Amendment".

  • Alice Bowie||

    Yea, we should just keep oil. It is abundant, creates many jobs, clean, and besides, all that environmental crap is bullshit.

    We've taken out Iraq. And as for the other oil producing nations, I say that in about 25 years, or so, the entire area will be called Israel.

  • Sevo||

    False dichotomy, followed by rant with irrelevant reference to Israel.
    I'll bet your newsletter is a big seller.

  • College Liberal||

  • College Liberal||

  • ||

    You'll be glad to know that Senate Democrats also voted en masse, with moderate Republicans, against an amendment to eliminate oil tax breaks, among others, and put the money towards a reduced corporate income tax.

    They also voted against an amendment to prevent subsidizing ROADZ with non-gas tax money.

    They also voted in favor of subsidizing natural gas (that also barely failed), and against permitting "non highway uses in rest areas," and a bunch of other things.

    Democrats will subsidize anything, whether oil, gas, wind. Just anything.

  • ||

    Admittedly, only a few Republicans took the completely free market, anti subsidy view on everything roads, including allowing rest stops to be used for anything. DeMint, Rand Paul, Portman, McCain, others.

  • ||

    This is the nat gas vote. It was 51-47 in favor, but the rules stated it required 3/5s.

    Note that both fiscal conservative and environmentalist groups opposed it. The vast majority of the opposition was Republicans and conservative Democrats; Leahy, Harkin, and the two Michiganders seem like the only exceptions.

    Democrats really don't listen to environmentalists when environmental groups want to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuels. They only listen to pro-subsidy arguments of any type.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Jooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooz!!

  • ||

    I say that in about 25 years, or so, the entire area will be called Israel.

    From your lips to God's ears, Alice.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and for a repeat:
    "The weather's getting worse for wind-power companies, which are finding it increasingly difficult to attract venture backers."

    And you have to go well below the fold before there's a bit of honesty:
    "Wind companies in the United States also face the expiration of a tax credit at the end of this year, adding to their risk. The industry is seeking a four-year extension to the credit, which helps lower the cost of wind power to make it more competitive with traditional sources of energy."

    Yep, without tax breaks, there wouldn't be a wind-power industry.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....1NFA7G.DTL

  • Realist||

    Or dumb shit electric car industry.

  • Jeffersonian||

    It's like they're going to have to figure out if they can make money selling electricity or something. Is that even possible?

  • johnl||

    Nope. Even if you gave someone windmills, the maintenance costs on them would be more than you could make selling electricity. Wind power is based completely on subsidies.

  • Tman||

    We've taken out Iraq.

    That would be news to the folks in Kurdistan right now, which by the way is fast becoming an amazing success story, all due to the intervention of the no-fly zone after GWI and the invasion from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Sometimes getting rid of fascist dictators works!

    And sometimes it doesn't.

    (I have a friend working security in Erbil and he won't shut up about how amazing it is over there and how much they love Americans. It's like the bizarro world of the Mid East.)

  • Alice Bowie||

    Forbidding Black People from sitting in the front of the bus, drink from fountains, and wait at bus stops next to White People was Good for Whites and Bad for Blacks.

    Civil Rights laws are good for Black people but bad for the white people that are now subjected to sitting next to black people on a bus.

    And as you said, yes, the Kurds won, and the other Iraqis lost.

  • Cytotoxic||

    WTF was that?

  • Sevo||

    "And as you said, yes, the Kurds won, and the other Iraqis lost."

    Care to enlarge on that, minus a race card?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Is this Tony's lesbian alter ego?

  • Nipplemancer||

    no, just a retarded troll that stops by every few months for the past few years. Every time someone responds to AB (who is a dude apparently) an angel gets it's wings.

  • ||

    True, the minority Sunni Iraqis lost out, the same way white South Africans lost out. But the majority of Iraqis, who are Shiites, don't think they lost out.

  • Cytotoxic||

    If anyone should be angry at America over foreign policy, it should really be the Kurds given all the stuff Kissinger did. That they are so peace and freedom loving puts lie to the 'blowback' theory and demonstrates the import of culture.

  • ||

    Because the Iraqi Kurds actually share pretty much the same culture -- different language -- as the general region, they are therefore pro-American but not the others who share the same culture? How does that work? And let's see -- is it the Iraqi Kurds cultural love of honor killing, which distinguishes them from the surrounding culture -- NOT! Does that peace and freedom non-difference makes them less blowbacky? Or just the warring ruling families plus honor killing? Perhaps they are less blowbacky because we've been supporting them hardcore for about a generation now?

  • Paul||

    I'm getting a Second Life ad in the sidebar. Picture of a man holding a women silhouetted by a sunset on the bow of a cruise ship. Second Life is a MMORPG for chicks, I know it.

  • Ska||

    It's definitely not for anyone interested in the game part of video gaming.

  • Sevo||

    Got the ...RPG, but what's MMO?

  • ||

    "Posted from my Commodore64."

  • Sevo||

    fried wylie|3.13.12 @ 8:09PM|#
    "Posted from my Commodore64."

    Naah. Hot-rodded MacII.

  • ||

    /impressed

  • Sevo||

    Sevo /= tech geek.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Massively Multiplayer Online

  • Sevo||

    Jeffersonian|3.13.12 @ 9:26PM|#
    "Is this Tony's lesbian alter ego?"

    Dunno, but Alice seems to have tossed a couple of rotten eggs, and then beat it when s/he was called on bullshit.
    Sort of like shithead.

  • db||

    Alice has been around for years and years. She shows up very infrequently but has been consistent. Could be a troll, but I think she predates most of the current crop of regulars.

  • Sevo||

    Could be anything, but certainly seems to be a bullshit-broadcaster.
    All hat...

  • omnibot||

    she's as special as Juanita

  • Sevo||

    And when you hope things might get better:
    "Coda electric sedan rolls off Benicia assembly line"[...]"and without the massive government loans received by Tesla or its competitor Fisker Automotive in Irvine."
    OK! How about that?!
    Ooops:
    "Coda has applied for a federal loan, Heller said, but the application is pending."
    And then:
    "Financial incentives from the federal and state governments can knock $10,000 off the price of each car."
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....1NJNS4.DTL

  • Fluffy||

    Bailey:

    The 1603 credits weren't only for wind projects, but for all renewable energy types.

    Did the Senate kill them just for wind, or across the board?

  • ||

    Entire Section 1603, which was expiring, is dead if this vote stands.

  • smartass||

    That's a great picture Ron. In your next post I expect to see a picture of the weapon that took that turbine out.

  • ||

    The "weapon" was a bald eagle.

    Or a baby seal.

  • ||

    Yeah OK man that really does make a lot of sense.

    www.World-Anon.tk

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  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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