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Political wrangling over wind energy tax credits more for show, LCU prof says  

Credit:  By Walt Nett, AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, lubbockonline.com 3 December 2010 ~~

Periodic political sparring over federal tax credits for wind and other energy sources tends to be just philosophical window dressing, a Lubbock Christian University history faculty member told the Lubbock Economics Council’s monthly luncheon Thursday.

In the end, however, the tax credits for the seemingly competing interests tend to sail though with little difficulty because politicians, regardless of party affiliation, can’t afford to be seen as opposing alternatives such as wind, said Kregg Fehr, an associate professor at LCU.

“Republicans are seen as pro-nuclear, clean coal and petroleum, and against solar and wind. Democrats are seen as pro-solar and wind and against the rest,” Fehr said, adding congressional wrangling on the issue is usually predictable, with each side initially seeking to protect one side while reducing credits to the other sources.

In the end, however, the vote usually has something for everyone.

And when it comes to wind energy, the tax credit isn’t large, but it’s a little bit more money in a potentially lucrative economic sector.

“A turbine can usually be paid off in about four years,” he said, adding that it costs about $1 million to erect a turbine, which can generate enough electricity to power about 350 homes a year, which adds up to annual power sales income of about $540,000.

At Thursday’s luncheon, the organization presented its annual James D. Eppler award to David Weaver, chief executive officer of the South Plains Food Bank.

Weaver, CEO of the food bank since 1997, has seen food distribution increase by 30 percent during his tenure, and the organization has initiated a youth jobs and life-skills training program at its farm and orchard.

He is a past chairman of the National Council for Feeding America, and is active with the Texas Food Bank Network.

“We couldn’t do what we do without a great network of volunteers,” said Weaver, who encouraged the audience of about 30 people to take action themselves, as volunteers, donors or simply “becoming a voice for the hungry.”

The award is named for longtime LEC member James Dale Eppler, who was known in retailing for serving as general merchandise manager and corporate director for Hemphill-Wells Department Store in Lubbock and opening Eppler’s Fine Cosmetics and Fashion Accessories. He held a variety of community leadership roles with the local Better Business Bureau, the Lubbock Visitors and Convention Bureau, Wayland Baptist University and Lubbock Lions Club.

Source:  By Walt Nett, AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, lubbockonline.com 3 December 2010

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

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