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Wind power’s political payoff  

Credit:  Investor's Business Daily, www.investors.com 26 September 2011 ~~

Scandal: Our ever-campaigning president heads off to a fundraiser held by a politically connected businessman whose company took a $100 million stimulus tax credit. Solyndra didn’t stop pay-for-play the “Chicago Way.”

Tone-deaf somehow does not seem adequate to describe President Obama’s silent indifference to the Solyndra scandal of his making as he rushes off to another fundraiser, a $25,000 per person affair in Missouri on Oct. 4 organized by another beneficiary of our stimulus tax dollars.

Tom Carnahan, of the Missouri Carnahans, arguably that state’s most prominent political family, is listed on President Obama’s campaign website as a host of the St. Louis fundraising extravaganza amid widespread unemployment and tanking markets.

Coincidentally, of course, Carnahan’s energy development firm, Wind Capital Group, is the recipient of a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.

We know that people support candidates who tend to share their interests and beliefs, and that an appearance of impropriety may be only that – an appearance of one. But there’s a disturbing pattern here of an administration picking winners and losers, with an emphasis on losers who happen also to be donors.

There is also a disturbing disregard of basic economics and the national interest in the blind pursuit of leftist environmentalist ideology.

In the case of Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer, we had a firm that even the administration had to know was going bankrupt. Yet it was made the first recipient of a green stimulus subsidy that favored a major Democratic donor, George Kaiser.

In another example, LightSquared, whose wireless broadband project jeopardizes the nation’s GPS system on which the military, aviation and others increasingly depend, the scandal involved not only the rewarding of a major Democratic donor, Philip Falcone, by approving the dubious project, but the possible suborning of perjury in the congressional testimony of four-star Gen. William Shelton, head of the U.S. Space Command.

The Wind Capital Group’s Gentry County, Mo., project, dubbed the BlueGrass Ridge Wind Farm, may be a more benign version of the administration’s crony capitalism. But it remains a poster child for this administration’s misplaced energy priorities.

The project consists of 27 massive turbines reaching 252 feet in the air. Each of the three blades are 140 feet long. Each turbine is rated to generate up to 2.1 megawatts of power.

This sounds good on paper and is when the wind is blowing. But rated capacity is not actual production.

The data make this clear. After decades of subsidies, wind provides only 1% of our electricity, compared to 49% for coal, 22% for natural gas, 19% for nuclear power and 7% for hydroelectric. Wind turbines generally operate at only 20% efficiency, compared to 85% for coal, gas and nuclear power plants.

A 2008 report by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration reported that in 2007, while the average subsidy per megawatt hour for all energy sources was $1.65, the subsidy for wind and solar was about $24 per megawatt hour.

Daniel Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, told Cybercast News Service that “without government subsidies or mandates, none of these energy sources exist, they just simply won’t … these energy sources are not as efficient as the sources of energy that the marketplace has picked and the consumers have picked to run the country.”

President Obama has said we need to focus on the energy sources of the future and not those of the past that built the economic superpower that is now atrophying under his clueless leadership.

As he heads off to hear the musically soothing wind chimes of campaign contributions, we leave oil and coal in the ground and Americans standing in the unemployment line asking themselves, “Where are the jobs?”

Source:  Investor's Business Daily, www.investors.com 26 September 2011

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 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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