After reading Cheryl Riley’s Jan. 9 column, “Wyoming has chance to grow wind industry,” I looked up the Wyoming Power Producers Coalition. The annual dues are $10,000 for full membership. One can’t charge dues of that amount if they can’t produce money for members by bringing in wind power plants. I’m sure she wants many, many turbines.
Ms. Riley states in her article “hundreds of good jobs from wind” would be an outcome of increased wind power plants. I have found predictions all over the internet concerning how many jobs wind creates. I could not find an actual number for existing jobs in wind in Wyoming. When the Glenrock wind power plants were constructed, only half the license plates I saw were from in state. I am sure the motels and restaurants benefited, but only for the six or so months of construction. Actual employment after construction is a manager and a few maintenance personnel, so far as I can find.
Wind provides less than 2 percent of our energy yet requires huge subsidies from the federal government. Lower state taxation might bring in more wind, but more wind turbines would require more federal subsidies. The stimulus package gave $550 million to wind energy last year. It seems unlikely the government can keep putting these costs on its credit card. More tax money will be needed. Somewhere the cost/benefit ratio has to be addressed before more money is appropriated for these projects. Who is actually benefitting?
Ms. Riley says the companies know they need to pay their own way, yet checking statistics, every time subsidies are cut, turbine installation drops off. This is a worldwide phenomenon. It appears that a huge infusion of tax money is needed everywhere wind is installed. That is not “paying their own way.”
I have noticed that ranchers that receive free money taken in part from the taxpayers, wind companies getting millions in subsidies and companies that lobby for wind are the biggest supporters of wind. Human behavior being what it is, I suppose it’s natural that those who get “free” money would indeed support whatever source it came from. However, American energy policy should not be based on what group can grab the most tax money. Not unless you want to end up sitting in the cold and dark.
SHERI KIMBROUGH, Evansville
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