February 27, 2008
Letters, Wisconsin

Wind companies don't care about communities

Why are the “wind farms” being developed-are these companies really interested in alternative energy?

Do the Calumet County citizens realize these companies are receiving huge benefits and subsidies that eventually end up in our taxes? We as citizens cannot afford these million dollar machines-there are more efficient means of “going green.” Here is an example as citizens as to what we are up against.

MidAmerican Energy-The Omaha World Herald has reported that MidAmerican will reap roughly $300 million in tax benefits over 20 years from the project due to the federal Production Tax Credit ($175 to $195 million) and forgiveness of Iowa Property tax ($130 million). Under the federal accelerated deprecation rules applicable to wind energy, Midamerican should be able to deduct its entire $386 million capital investment from otherwise taxable income during the 2004 -2010 tax years!

The more companies you research the more examples like this you can find. There are also many examples of how smaller companies have sold over to larger companies.

Here are a few reasons why I don’t feel wind turbines should be built in Calumet County:

1. This is about tax avoidance-not environment and energy benefits. These companies are getting federal and state accelerated depreciation, production tax credits and reduced property and sales taxes.

2. Huge wind turbines-equivalent in size to one-third the Empire State Building-produce very little electricity. In the United States, there are over 15,000 wind turbines scattered across thousands of acres in about 30 states. If those wind turbines produce 27 percent capacity factor, it would equal to about 1 percent…yes, only 1 percent of the electricity produced in the United States during 2003. Do you see this 1 percent of the total electricity produced in 2003 in the total U.S.?

3. Electricity from wind turbines has less real value than electricity from reliable generating units and they detract from electric system reliability. With wind turbines, there has to be wind, it has to be at a certain speed. Because the output is intermittent and unpredictable, the electricity the wind turbines produce has less value than electricity from reliable generating units. Electricity grids must be kept in balance and back-up units must be in place to ramp up and down the balance the output from the wind turbines. Wind turbines have no capacity value-so you ultimately pay twice, once for the wind energy and again for the reliability capacity.

4. Are the true costs of electricity from wind being seen? There are costs to tax breaks and subsidies-ordinary taxpayers and electric customers get that price tag. Where do the costs of the back-up power to balance the intermittent and sometimes volatile output from wind turbines really go? Taxpayers…do we realize the full costs of transmitting the electricity from wind farms to electric customers and the extra burden on the grid management? Taxpayers, do you realize this?

5. The wind industry is benefiting from subsidies in addition to tax breaks. Among the other subsides are the DOE funding for wind energy R& D and payments to “wind farm” developers provided by state governments such as the State of Wisconsin-use funds collected from electric customers via so-called “public benefit charges.”

6. Electric customer can elect to pay premium higher prices for alternative power. However, these programs usually do not attract enough volunteers to pay the utilities’ costs to buy the green and administer the program. Guess what-the costs not recovered by customers paying the premium price are then typically spread across all the utility’s customers and hidden in your monthly bills.

The only winners are the landowners that stand to gain thousands of dollars by leasing their land.

Bottom line people-these companies stand to make millions and do not care about our communities. We need to come together to do what is right. Let’s conserve energy, let’s be proactive about our natural resources. I for one do not believe wind power is the way to start.

Judy Wagne

Tri-County News

27 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/27/wind-companies-dont-care-about-communities/