US “Wind Power States” Pull the Plug on Massive Wind Power Subsidy Schemes
This time last year, we took a look at the States in the US where $billions filched from power consumers and taxpayers have been thrown at wind power outfits, as a massive, and seemingly endless, stream of subsidies; and the skyrocketing power prices that have been the result:
In that post, James M Taylor laid out the wind power driven blowout in power prices, noting that:
Skyrocketing Costs in Wind Power States
The 11 states that AWEA identifies as deriving more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind power are Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. AWEA says these 11 states have had slightly falling electricity prices since 2008, but official U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show nine of the 11 have dramatically rising prices. Here are EIA’s data on changes in electricity prices for each of the 11 states since 2008:
Colorado – up 14%
Idaho – up 33%
Iowa – up 17%
Kansas – up 29%
Minnesota – up 22%
North Dakota – up 24%
Oklahoma – down 1%
Oregon – up 15%
South Dakota – up 26%
Texas – down 19%
Wyoming – up 33%
The objective U.S. Energy Information Administration data show nine of the 11 largest wind power states are experiencing skyrocketing electricity prices, rising more than four times the national average. Moreover, prices in eight of the 11 states are rising more than twice as fast as in the 39 states with less than 7 percent wind power generation.
James goes on to explain the two outliers, Texas and Oklahoma:
The Two Outliers Explained
Other important factors further rebut AWEA’s claims in the two heavy wind power states where electricity prices are not skyrocketing.
In Oklahoma, where electricity prices remained essentially flat, there is no renewable power mandate. To the extent wind power is produced in Oklahoma, market forces, rather than state government, determine its generation. AWEA curiously argues relatively stable electricity prices in a state without renewable power mandates justify AWEA’s call for renewable power mandates.
In Texas, economists agree, electricity prices have been falling in recent years as a result of the state’s deregulation efforts during the past decade. Texas coal power, natural gas power, nuclear power, and wind power are all experiencing declining prices due to deregulation. Yet AWEA falsely ascribes the state’s declining electricity prices to wind power.
AWEA’s self-serving formula uses Texas’ deregulation to hide the cumulatively skyrocketing electricity prices in the 10 other states that generate the most wind power.
Now, in a cry of “enough is enough”, numerous States, including Ohio, Kansas, New Mexico and West Virginia have either pulled the plug on their “Renewable Energy Mandates” (State based subsidy schemes) or are set on the path to do so. What’s spooked them into action is the fact that:
“Electricity prices in states with mandates are 40 percent higher than in non-REM states.”
Remember, as Ross McKitrick puts it: “wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies” (see our post here).
With States chopping the massive and endless subsidies on which the wind industry critically depends, the wind industry will finally be put to proof on its wild claims about about being “competitive” with conventional generators (see this nonsense from ruin-economy and our post here). As the Americans say to the foolish and/or brave: “well, good luck with that!”
Here’s the Washington Times on the beginning of the end for BIG WIND in the US.
Pulling the plug on renewable energy: States with mandates suffer exploding electricity prices
The Washington Times
29 March 2015
There is never a good time for bad public policy. For few policies is this more evident than renewable energy mandates (REM), variously known as renewable portfolio standards, alternative energy standards and renewable energy standards.
The first renewable energy mandate was adopted in 1983, but most states did not impose these mandates until the 2000s. Though the details vary from state to state, in general, renewable energy mandates require utilities to provide a certain percentage of the electric power they supply from “renewable” sources, notably wind and solar, with the required percentages rising over time.
At the height of the renewable-energy mania, 30 states and the District of Columbia had imposed REMs and another seven had established voluntary standards.
Renewable energy mandate proponents included environmental lobbyists with a hatred for capitalism and fossil fuels that make modern society possible, crony socialists who saw the mandates as way of strong-arming exorbitant payments from government and ratepayers alike, and paternalistic politicians who look down on people’s choices in the marketplace, believing they know best what sources of energy people ought to choose.
Green-energy advocates, crony socialists and government elitists have seen their fortunes wax and wane over five decades. Government subsidies for unreliable, expensive renewable fuels had risen, fallen, been scrapped and begun anew since the 1970s. The existence and amount of subsidies tended to rise in fall with various energy crises — crises often created by the same government that then proposed subsidies for renewable energy as the solution for the problems it created.
For 50 years, green-energy gurus in industry and the environmental movement have sold the snake oil that renewable power would soon be as cheap and reliable as coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas. The nation has been told the turning point has always been just around the corner, always requiring a little more public funding and tax breaks before we have abundant, cheap, clean, reliable energy materializing from thin air.
All these promises were false, and the public and more-honest politicians have seen through the sales pitch. Now, support for renewables is as unreliable as the energy it provides.
To guarantee a market for renewables, green lobbyists fought successfully for mandates ensuring green-energy producers a slice of the electricity market regardless of the price and quality of the energy they produced.
Energy prices skyrocketed, as predicted by numerous energy analysts.
Though cost is an important concern, it is not the only problem with renewable power sources.
Renewable energy is not environmentally friendly. Renewable energy mandates have turned millions of acres of wild lands and wildlife habitats into a vast wasteland of wind and solar industrial energy facilities. In the process, renewable energy facilities have condemned to death hundreds of thousands of animals, including endangered birds, bats and tortoises. Finally, the construction and maintenance of these facilities have polluted the air and water. There is nothing green about all this. Still, continuing high costs, not environmental concerns, may finally spell doom for the mandates.
Citing high costs, Ohio became the first state to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Under Ohio’s mandate, utilities would have been required to provide 25 percent of the state’s electricity from qualified renewable sources by 2025. Under a law signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich in June 2014, Ohio froze its mandate at the current level of 12.5 percent, halving the mandated level.
In January, West Virginia repealed its renewable energy mandate entirely, and the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill freezing the state’s renewable standards in March.
Kansas has also recently held hearings on repealing its renewable energy mandate, spurred on in part by a new report from Utah State University reporting Kansas ratepayers are paying $171 million more than they would without the mandate. These additional costs have resulted in a loss of $4,367 each year in household disposable income.
What’s true for Kansas is true for other states with renewable energy mandates. States with mandates experienced 10 percent greater unemployment, due to higher energy prices resulting from the REM, than states without mandates. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has found electricity prices in states with renewable energy mandates have risen twice as fast as in states with no renewable requirement. Electricity prices in states with mandates are 40 percent higher than in non-REM states.
With these facts, it is little wonder that states are doing a slow walk back from their previous support of costly, environmentally harmful renewable energy mandates. It’s a classic case of legislate in haste, repent in leisure.
H. Sterling Burnett is a research fellow on energy and the environment at the Heartland Institute.
The Washington Times
If any further proof were needed for Ross McKitrick’s “wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies” adage, this little piece from Associated Press should do the trick.
Plans pulled for 223-turbine wind farm in Central Oregon
The Associated Press
27 March 2015
BEND — Plans for a big wind farm in north-central Oregon have been scrapped, state regulators say.
The Brush Canyon Wind Power Facility would have had as many as 223 turbines in Sherman and Wasco counties, The Bend Bulletin reported Friday.
It would have been in an area of 76,000 acres, or 119 square miles.
The turbines that have spread across the windy Columbia plateau in recent decades have benefited from two government initiatives: requirements by West Coast states that utilities include alternative energy among their energy sources and a federal tax credit based on turbine production.
But in December, Congress let lapse the federal tax break enacted in 1992 to nurture the fledgling wind industry.
The Brush Canyon proposal had its origin like many in the Northwest, proposed by the North American arm of a European or Scandinavian utility company, in this case the German firm E.ON (EE’-ahn) AG.
“We don’t know why they pulled out, but it’s not unusual,” said spokesman Rachel Wray of the state Department of Energy. “We’ve had a number of projects pulled over the last couple of years. Some that had gone a ways through the process . and others that were a lot less far along. It really varies.”
Calls and messages from The Associated Press to the company’s Chicago office and German headquarters were not immediately returned.
In Central Oregon, some were happy and relieved at the decision, saying the project was far too big and disruptive.
Residents of the high-desert town Antelope were anticipating that construction traffic would increase traffic by 600 percent, Mayor John Silvertooth said.
“It’s like a doctor telling a patient he’s in remission, or waking up from brain surgery and hearing everything was a success,” he said.
Antelope’s population is now about 50. It was larger in the 1980s, and got a lot of attention, when thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh tried to establish a political power base on a commune that was eventually forced out.
The Associated Press