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The wind industry’s new push for a national “renewable electricity standard” 

Credit:  Glenn Schleede ~~

As most everyone who is paying attention knows, the wind industry’s Washington Lobbyists – American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) – is pushing the Senate to pass a National “Renewable Electricity Standard” (RES) after it returns to Washington on September 13.

A National RES would require that electricity generated from “renewable” energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, provide some specified percentage, perhaps 15%, of all the electricity delivered by an electric utility.

This new effort should be taken seriously by taxpayers and electric customers who will pay the higher costs resulting from such a standard if the industry’s lobbyists are successful.

AWEA advertised the new effort in an August 31, 2010, press release, [i] claiming “bipartisan support,” and sought lobbying support in widely distributed emails. Also, on August 31, Senate Majority leader Reid (D-NV) expressed interest in the industry’s proposal, indicating that it might be included in an energy bill he hopes to pass this year. [ii]

NextEra Energy (formerly The FPL Group) Chairman and CEO Lewis Hay welcomed Senator Reid’s statement. [iii] NextEra is the largest owner of wind generating capacity in the US and his long used “wind farm” tax breaks to shelter profits from corporate income tax, including profits from its subsidiary, Florida Power & Light.

Earlier, on July 26 and 27, in what appeared to be an industry lobbyist coordinated effort, long-time wind industry supporters, Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mark Udall (D-CO) issued press releases supporting a national electricity standard.” [iv] [v]

The wind industry’s well-financed lobbying efforts (not to mention its generous campaign contributions) may have received a further boost as a result of the nearly $5 billion (actually $4,495,535,117) in “stimulus” cash grants distributed to wind energy project developers and owners by the US Treasury Department during the period from September 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010. [vi]

These cash grants, funded from current tax dollars and the growing federal debt that will be borne by our children and grandchildren for decades, were authorized by the infamous “stimulus” legislation, [vii] passed by the Senate and House on February 13, 2009, [viii] and signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009.

The new wind industry push for a costly “Renewable Electricity Standard” probably reflects two key factors:

  • First, the industry has, in effect, conceded that wind will never provide a commercially viable source of electricity by its continuing efforts to extend and expand existing federal and state tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy. [ix]
  • Second, the industry probably assumes that it will be difficult – recognizing the massive federal deficits and national debt that has finally gotten the public (and voters) attention – to get Congress and possibly state legislatures to extend the extremely generous tax breaks now enjoyed by “wind farm” owners and their “tax equity” partners in the financial industry.

Many Senators have expressed doubts about the potential for passing any “energy” legislation during the remainder of the current Congress. However, it should be noted that there are a number of Republican as well as Democrat Senators who often side with wind industry lobbyists and against the interests of taxpayers and electric customers when voting on anything that can be labeled “renewable,” “green,” or “alternative” energy, regardless of the true merits – and while ignoring the huge transfer of wealth (dollars) from ordinary taxpayers and electric customers to owners of “wind farms” and other renewable energy facilities.

Glenn R. Schleede
18220 Turnberry Drive
Round Hill, VA 20141-2574

[i] http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/08-31-10_Bipartisan_Support_Sparks_Interest_for_RES.html

[ii] http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/116633-reid-put-renewables-mandate-back-in-play-eyes-lame-duck-energy-bill

[iii] http://washingtonindependent.com/96447/major-renewable-developer-promises-investment-if-an-res-passes

[iv] http://brownback.senate.gov/public/press/record.cfm?id=326696

[v] http://markudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=714

[vi] http://www.treasury.gov/recovery/docs/Web%20Posting.xls

[vii] Specifically, by Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

[viii] If you would like to know how your representatives voted on the ARRA, the 60-38 vote in the Senate is detailed at: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00064 and the 246-183 House of Representatives vote is detailed at: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll070.xml

[ix] http://www.masterresource.org/2010/07/dear-virginia-windpower/ , http://alleghenytreasures.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/glenn-schleede-challenges-virginia-leaders-to-review-federal-and-state-wind-energy-tax-breaks-and-subsidies/

Source:  Glenn Schleede

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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