Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The answer, my friend, is not blowin' in the wind

So argues former Senator Phil Gramm, and we should stop wasting billions of dollars pretending it is;
Federal subsidies for new wind-power generation will end on Dec. 31 unless they are renewed by Congress. For the sake of our economy and the smooth operation of the energy market, Congress should let the subsidies lapse. They waste taxpayer money, subvert the allocation of capital, and generate a social cost many times the price tag of the subsides themselves.
Since 1992, the federal government has expended almost $24 billion to encourage investment in wind power through direct spending, tax breaks, R&D, loan guarantees and other federal support of electric power. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that a one-year extension of existing federal subsidies for wind power would cost taxpayers almost $12 billion.
As it is, wind power companies often have to pay utilities to take the power they produce.  The subsidies are so generous they can still make money;
The costs of wind subsidies are extraordinarily high—$52.48 per one million watt hours generated, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By contrast, the subsidies for generating the same amount of electricity from nuclear power are $3.10, from hydropower 84 cents, from coal 64 cents, and from natural gas 63 cents.
End the insanity  now!  We don't even have to huff and puff, just let the subsidies go over the cliff on New Year's Eve.

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