Lisa Linowes, notably of the Industrial Wind Action Group, has a post on the now ensured extension of the Production Tax Credit for industrial wind in the United States.
The extension is, bizarrely, being reported as a compromise between those who want to export crude oil, and those who want rewards for righteous generation.
I think within a year this decision will result in the announcement that a couple of nuclear power plants in Illinois will close. The U.S. already seemed unlikely to meet its Copenhagen commitments, and I believe this announcement makes it less likely to do so.
I offer this story here as it relates to an original work I’ll be writing for my Cold Air blog.
Wind Cronyism Wins; We Lose
After all the drama in this end-of-year self-generated crisis, Congressional negotiators struck a deal on the omnibus spending and tax extender bills. In a nutshell – the democrats won, the republicans caved and the rest of us were screwed – unless, of course, you’re in big wind’s camp. In that case, you’re probably stunned at how much Congress is willing to give of taxpayer money so it can go home for the holidays.
After two weeks of bluster from both sides claiming the renewable tax credits posed the greatest obstacle to reaching agreement, we now know there was no debate at all. The wind industry secured its prized 2-year, $10 billion extension promised by the Senate Finance Committee with no questions asked. To appease the thousands of taxpayers who pleaded for the wind PTC to end, the backroom, spineless negotiators added phase-out language that would lower the credit in 20% increments after 2016.
The phase-out might sound reasonable but it’s meaningless and no different had the House agreed to the 2-year extension with no phase out. This time next year, big wind’s army of lobbyists will descend on Congress once again with a slightly modified ask i.e. to delay the phase-out reduction for a year, and another and another after that. We’ve all seen the movie before and the ending never changes…
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