Thousands of Monuments to the Fiscal Non-Feasibility of Wind Power (Even Offshore)
In an American Thinker article in February, Andrew Walden points to a startling and very unpublicized fact about wind power.
In the best wind spots on earth, over 14,000 turbines were simply abandoned. Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills.
Now, some of the older ones would have been discarded for newer technology. But many were abandoned because the tax credits had run out and, along with then, the wherewithal to pay for maintenance. See, if wind power were truly profitable and fiscally self-sustaining, those windmills could be maintained and continue to operate from the revenue that they generated. But when the revenue is limited to tax credits or other government mandate, the project is going to last exactly as long as the artificial subsidies.
That hasn’t stopped wind farm developers, however. Far from it.
… a new batch of colonists, having looted the taxpayers of Spain, Portugal, and Greece, seeks to expand upon their multi-billion-dollar foothold half a world away on the shores of the distant Potomac River. European wind developers are fleeing the EU’s expiring wind subsidies, shuttering factories, laying off workers, and leaving billions of Euros of sovereign debt and a continent-wide financial crisis in their wake. But their game is not over. Already they are tapping a new vein of lucre from the taxpayers and ratepayers of the United States.
And Rhode Island. In fact, the names of the developers may have changed but the actual selling points have moved seamlessly across the Atlantic and up Narragansett Bay. As I researched this topic, the arguments being made to sell offshore wind farms in Europe – local jobs and an industry based upon clean, indigenous energy which would “establish Europe as world leader in offshore wind power technology” – sounded strangely familiar to those which have been made here in Rhode Island in recent weeks.
Proponents of offshore wind generation are attempting to distinguish it from ordinary on-land sites on the basis that the wind offshore is stronger and relatively more reliable. Unfortunately, offshore wind power suffers from exactly the same flaw as onshore: it simply doesn’t work without either tax credits (i.e., a taxpayer funded handout) or a government mandate that compels consumers to pay an artificially high rate for the electricity generated.
Here’s the bottom line on this issue: we’re allowed to say “no!’ to an energy source because of its high price. If the bill pending on Smith Hill passes, Rhode Islanders would be locked into paying unnecessarily higher electric prices and, worse, Rhode Island would exacerbate its already abysmal business climate by needlessly adding to the cost of doing business – especially for what is left of a manufacturing industry – in the state, all for some non-substantiated, feel-good reasons. (Want to bolster the state’s economy? Create the business climate to draw industries that do not require tax subsidies or government mandates to survive. Want energy independence from foreign baddies? Drill near-shore and on land within the United States. Want to talk about global warming? Wake me when they’ve made a case that doesn’t involve manipulated data, flawed computer models and a spokesman that has just purchased yet another property near an allegedly rising ocean.)
Walden’s conclusion is pertinent both to Congress and to the RI General Assembly:
… the wind-subsidy proposals being floated in Congress suggest that American political leaders have yet to understand that “green power” means generating electricity by burning dollars.
Photo by Gary Arndt at Everything Everywhere.