Wind Power

End Energy Socialism: Wind Edition


A metaphor for wasted wind subsidies

The free market oriented Manhattan Institute has just released a report by Robert Bryce analyzing wind power subsidies. The study offers these lowlights:

On a per-unit-of-energy-produced basis, the PTC [production tax credit] 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.

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

The report concludes:

No other segment of the energy sector gets as much preferential treatment as the wind-energy industry. Up until last year, the corn-ethanol industry enjoyed both a mandate and a subsidy. Congress ended the corn-ethanol subsidy, but the industry still enjoys a mandate. The wind-energy sector is lobbying hard in Congress to retain the production tax credit even though more than 220 million people live in states with mandates on renewable-electricity production. The wind industry has had 20 years of subsidies. If it cannot manage to stay in business without subsidies, it doesn't deserve to be in business.

Amen. It's been said time and again here at Reason: let's get rid of all energy subsidies, period.

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  1. It takes a lot of green to create a green job.

  2. Lets get rid of ALL subsidies, period.

    1. Lets get rid of ALL subsidies

      Because it can’t be said too much.

      1. Lets get rid of ALL subsidies.

        1. Could we subsidize the end of all subsidies?

          1. By George, I think he’s got it!

            1. Maybe that’s what the Kochs are–an anti-subsidy subsidy.

          2. It’s subsidies all the way down.

  3. a subsidy to the wind industry that is at least 12 times greater than that provided to the oil and gas sector

    What is he counting as subsidies for oil and gas? If its the accelerated depreciation that lefty/greens usually point to, that ain’t a subsidy.

    1. Yeah, this fact seems to elude the discussions of energy subsidies. Whilst Oil and Gas receive tax breaks, I don’t see where they are “subsidized” to produce more oil and gas.

      Whereas with Wind and Solar, there are direct payments as well as direct loans (HI SOLYNDRA!) to producers that get pissed away on a regular basis.

      They all, of course, should be eliminated, both the tax breaks and the subsidies. But Wind and Solar wouldn’t be anything other than a cute sideshow without direct capital infusions from taxpayers. Oil and Gas need neither to survive and profit.

      1. I could even quibble with calling accelerated depreciation a tax break (depending on how its implemented).

        Any system of taxing net income should allow for depreciation and other reductions of gross income, after all.


          That was an actual debate point from Warren last night at the Brown/Warren debate.

          She said something along the lines of “Oil companies shouldn’t get tax breaks after the record profits they are making! We should tax them MORE!!”

          Brown responded, wisely, “Raising taxes on oil companies just means that oil companies will pass the cost along to consumers”.

          The idiot Massholes in Taxachusetts cheered Warren’s answer of course.

        2. Why, you’re talking as if companies have to continually reinvest in productive capacity and capital equipment. Everyone knows labor and government regulations add all the value to corporations.

        3. I don’t see a need for businesses to be able to write off artificially defined “depreciation”. Net income should be revenue minus whatever the company spends.

          The depreciation that the government defines has little or nothing to do with the actual change in value of equipment. It just fucks around with when companies will replace equipment, either keeping shitty stuff longer or replacing good stuff because the tax approved depreciation schedule encouraged it.

    2. Wind equipment was even getting some special depreciating tax benefits that they were worried about expiring. I think it got renewed.

    3. How about capping their liability for things like the Deepwater Horizon spill and then using tax dollars to clean up their messes? Does that count as a subsidy?

    4. Maybe you should read?

      On a per-unit-of-energy-produced basis, the PTC [production tax credit] provides a subsidy

  4. This is wrong. Chony said he pays only $5 extra every month on his electric bill to have all his power produced by wind that gets no subsidies whatsoever. $5 dollars! Only a crazy libertarian would object to that.

    1. Those are Biblical dollars.

      1. You mean shekels?

        1. Cubit zirconium, actually.

        2. I was thinking like how the seven days are sometimes explained as being astronomical periods that are longer than solar days.

          1. Maybe you should start over, ProL. This time, make some sense.

            1. Please, Episiarch, I’m talking over the adults. And you, but that goes without saying.

          2. Well, how do you think that Methuselah lived 900 years, duh! He had some solar day subsidies going on. Yep, even God was a crony, dishing out favors to his team.

            1. Could there have been aging credits back then?

  5. My lunchtime revery today was disturbed by a group of about six gray-haired hippies marching up the sidewalk chanting “hey, hey; ho, ho; fossil fuels have got to go.”

    Stupid hippies.

    1. Did you throw coal at them?

    2. “They’re like fossils, you know, man? Like out-dated and all in the ground and stuff… Where am I? Is this the locally-own raw food coffee shop co-op farmer’s stand?”

    3. Good idea, JB; unfortunately, I was fresh out.

      And as always, Sugar nails it. Fossils, indeed.

    4. “Why’d you open your bong hole, you smelly hippie? You’d sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey?”

      1. In his defense, he *had* smoked some bad granola

        1. “You can’t own property, man!”

          “I can, but that’s because I’m not a penniless hippie.”

          1. He was only penniless because the Mayor of New New York was persecuting the anti-eating movement you heartless one-percenter!

            1. “I call murder on that!”

              “Look, I’m willing to grant that it’s murder. The real issue is: Who’s gonna stop me?”

              1. You are of the opinion that the only reason we don’t eat people is because they taste lousy, aren’t you Episiarch?

                1. If they tasted like Popplers, I would go FULL CANNIBAL in a heartbeat.

                2. William Seabrook

                  He reported that he later obtained, from a hospital intern at the Sorbonne, a chunk of human meat from the body of a healthy human killed in an accident, then cooked and ate it.getting a portion of stew with rice as well as a “sizeable rump steak, also a small loin roast to cook or have cooked” however he wanted. The source, Seabrook stated, was a recently killed man, but he was not murdered.[1]

                  He reported that, “It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef. It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted. It was so nearly like good, fully developed veal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal. It was mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste such as for instance, goat, high game, and pork have. The steak was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough or stringy to be agreeably edible. The roast, from which I cut and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, texture, smell as well as taste, strengthened my certainty that of all the meats we habitually know, veal is the one meat to which this meat is accurately comparable.”[2]

                  1. All the main domesticated animals bred for meat have homogenized physical characteristics, homogenized diets, and homogenized lifestyles which makes the meat pretty consistent from animal to animal. This is what makes me not interested in consuming people, non-meat-bread domestic animals (such as dogs), or wild game animals. You never know what you’re going to get. I also prefer farmed catfish over wild catfish.

    5. did they walk there? Or take a car? (with plastic parts made out of oil)

      1. 100% Hemp Bicycle.

  6. The free market oriented Manhattan Institute has just released a report by Robert Bryce analyzing wind power subsidies.

    The Manhattan Institute is a big supporter of subsidies for “clean” coal and nuclear. How does that qualify as free market oriented? Oh right, I keep forgetting, only subsidies to Democrat aligned corporations are anti-market.

    1. Look to Cato for a true(r) free market viewpoint. The rest of them are usually aligned with an industry or a political party.

    2. I think you started out right and then went full on team retard.

      But just for the hell of it, I want to be the first here to say it:


    3. Maybe someday the wind industry will pay Bailey and friends enough to do a balanced analysis on all the subsidies to energy.

      1. JP: I did just such a balanced analysis back in 2009. Perhaps you’ll read it some day?

        1. I think the humorous point was your Exxon days don’t count. When you get GE money then you will be fair and balanced.

  7. If you look at the report, they’re also calling for the prosecution of wind farm operators for the deaths of wild birds that fly into turbines blades. Again, there interest seems more manipulating the market to benefit their chosen forms of energy rather than promoting a free market.

  8. No other segment of the energy sector gets as much preferential treatment as the wind-energy industry.

    Right, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year stationing those brigades near our windmills.

  9. I blame the Sid Meiers Civilization video games. The cost of Wind Mills in the game is way too low and the production it gives is way too high.

    Hell I even think it gives a specialist slot.

    Friggin broken game mechanic if you ask me.

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