US Take on the Colossal Subsidies ‘Essential’ For Wind Power Outfits to Survive
As the world wakes up to scale and scope of the great wind power fraud, the numbers men have started to put pen to paper, in an effort to get a proper bead on the size of the massive subsidies being filched from power consumers and taxpayers, and pocketed by wind power outfits – a merry band of blood-sucking leeches, if ever there was one.
One of the numbers men is Rob Nikolewski, the National Energy Correspondent for Watchdog.org. He’s based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and tallies up the damage to power consumers and taxpayers in this little piece.
Solar and wind energy pack a wallop — in federal subsidies
20 March 20 2015
Wind and solar make up but a small percentage of the U.S. energy portfolio, yet lead the pack when it comes to federal energy subsidies.
A study by the nonpartisan Energy Information Administration shows wind and solar finished in top two among all energy sectors in raking in federal subsidies. In fiscal year 2013, wind subsidies topped $5.9 billion. The solar industry received $5.3 billion.
The solar sector saw the biggest jump in federal subsidies between fiscal years 2010 and 2013 — climbing nearly five-fold, from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion — “with declining solar costs and state-level policies also supporting additional growth,” the EIA report said.
While wind energy received the most subsidies, its rate of increase was less than 10 percent between 2010 and 2013.
Here’s the chart the EIA put out March 13:
Despite the increase in solar and wind subsidies, overall federal energy subsidies decreased 23 percent, dropping from $38.0 billion to $29.3 billion.
Fossil fuel subsidies declined by 15 percent, from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion, according to the numbers by the EIA, which is an independent arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.
“The request was narrowly defined to only include subsidies with clear identifiable impacts on the U.S. Treasury and that are provisions specific to energy,” Ken Johnson, SEIA’s vice president of communications, told Watchdog.org in an email. “This restrictive definition leaves out some of the largest fossil and nuclear subsidies, which, unfortunately, results in a skewed, apples-to-oranges comparison.”
Johnson also said the EIA report did not include loan guarantees.
The American Wind Energy Association criticized the EIA report as well, calling it “incomplete and distorted.”
“Fossil fuels have benefited from permanent incentives for nearly a century, and nuclear for more than half a century, while tax incentives for less mature renewable energy technologies such as wind came only recently and have often been enacted for only short-term periods,” said Shauna Theel, AWEA deputy director of digital media, wrote in a blog post on the organization’s website.
The Institute for Energy Research, a research organization that advocates free-market solutions to energy issues, took the EIA study a step further.
The IER calculated federal subsidies and support per unit of electricity production from the EIA charts and concluded that on a per dollar basis, the solar industry is subsidized 345 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is subsidized 52 times more than more conventional fossil fuels.
“Wind and solar are vastly more subsidized than these other sources,” said Chris Warren, director of communications at the IER. “Despite this massive amount of taxpayer dollars going towards these energy sources, they still produce such a small, small potion of our electricity. So you’re not getting a lot of bang for your buck.”
According to another EIA report published last year, wind and solar combine for 4.36 percent of the nation’s total electricity generation.
But wind and solar’s supporters point out that those numbers have been increasing, and say the EIA and IER studies don’t take into account the value of clean energy to the environment.
“Wind energy creates billions of dollars in economic value by drastically reducing pollution that harms public health and the environment, but wind energy does not get paid for that even though consumers bear many of those costs,” Theel wrote.
Johnson, the solar spokeman, said breaking down the energy sources by unit of production is misleading.
“… (M)ost subsidies are front-loaded, traditional generation, such as coal, nuclear and hydro, received their government support years or decades ago, and the plants built with that support continued to exist and generate energy in 2013 — even if their support did not include substantial outlays in 2013,” Johnson said.
“The big takeaway is that no matter how many subsidies and taxpayer dollars we throw at these energy sources, they can’t meet our everyday electricity needs,” Warren said in a telephone interview. “And that’s what’s most important about energy and electricity resources. Are they going to be there on demand when we need them and are they going to be affordable? No amount of subsidies to wind or solar is going to fix that.”
The charts bring up a question that’s been debated for years in the energy industry: What constitutes a government subsidy? Does it include tax breaks? What about incentives?
“The Energy Information Administration data do not account for the uncertainty that renewable energy businesses have had to face as a result of temporary incentives that are extended for only short periods of time,” Theel said.
Johnson cited a study showing solar incentives are in line with those given to other energy industries.
“What’s more, solar is following a similar curve in development as traditional energy sources (coal, gas, oil), which received substantial subsidies during their growth period and are now still getting many of them,” Johnson said in his email.
Warren said subsidies “across the board distort the market.”
“We’re for a level playing field. That means getting rid of all these different subsidies, whether it’s for the fossil fuel industry, for nuclear, for wind and for solar,” Warren said. “We should just do away with them all and let these energy sources compete based on merit and the values they provide consumers.”