Members of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind industry’s Washington Lobbyists, are getting a great return on its “investment” in lobbying. According to the AP story quoted below, AWEA spent only $384,000 lobbying Congress during the first half of 2007.
In return for that paltry amount, the Congress has lavished hundreds of millions in tax breaks and subsidies on the wind industry – reinforcing a set of Federal wind energy policies that:
a. Transfer millions of dollars annually from the pockets of ordinary taxpayers and electric customers to the pockets of “wind farm” owners (who enjoy sharply reduced income taxes), and wind turbine manufacturers.
b. Encourage the flow of billions of capital investment dollars to ineffective energy projects (“wind farms”) that produce very little electricity – which electricity is intermittent, volatile unreliable and low in value because it is most likely to be produced at night and in cold months, not on hot weekday late afternoons in summer when electricity demand is high.
c. Overlook the huge externality costs (environmental, ecological, economic) resulting from “wind farms” – long ignored by the wind industry and government officials, including but not limited to destruction of scenic vistas and disrupting the lives and destroying the property values of homeowners who find that aggressive “wind farm” developers can plant 400+ ft. (40+ story) machines in their neighborhood.
The responsiveness to wind industry lobbyists by federal and state legislators, regulators and other government officials demonstrates again that:
a. They are either unaware or simply choose to ignore the fact that, for more than a decade, the wind industry and other wind energy advocates (including the US DOE and the National Renewable Energy “Laboratory” – NREL) – have distributed false and misleading claims about wind energy – greatly overstating the environmental and energy benefits and understating the adverse environmental, economic, scenic and property value impacts.
b. They are uninformed about the facts about the true costs and benefits of wind energy that have been uncovered during the past 2 -3 years – or have chosen to ignore these facts.
Clearly, special interests lobbyists are in control in Washington DC and state capitols – and even in some local governments.
Unfortunately, ordinary citizens, consumers and taxpayers can’t compete with the lobbying expenditures or campaign contributions from lobbying organizations like the AWEA – or the big companies that are able to escape their fair share of tax burden and taking advantage of numerous other federal and state subsidies by building “wind farms” (e. g., companies such as FPL Group, J.P. Morgan Partners-Noble, Iberdola-Horizon, Gamesa, BP, Shell, AES, John Deere, UPC, PPM, Invenergy, Mission Energy).
BUT, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up. Instead, it means that it’s time to fight harder for the public interest and tell your federal, state and local “representatives” much more often that you do not like what they are doing. Recognize that you will not get meaningful responses from your representatives, but don’t let that stop you from telling them again and again that it’s time to put the public interest ahead of special interests and campaign contributions.