August 15, 2012
Letters, Texas

Blowback for the wind industry

Houston Chronicle | 15 August 2012

Artificial market

The op-ed “Expiration of tax credit threatens wind industry” (Page B7, Saturday) was absolutely convincing upon two points.

First, if the wind power industry will collapse absent the federal subsidy, then wind power remains an economically uncompetitive power generation method. If it can’t compete, let’s be straightforward and admit wind-based power will cost more for the foreseeable future.

Second, cheap electricity produced by wind turbines benefits from subsidized reduced operating costs funded by tax dollars that could otherwise be used for other purposes.

Wind power companies are simply taking your money out of your tax bill pocket while telling you how much less they’re taking out of your utility bill pocket. Also lost in the green arguments over wind power is the exemptions sought by several wind turbine facilities from fines and sanctions for deaths of endangered, migrating and protected birds, waterfowl and bats by these great Cuisinarts of the sky.

Michael T. Doyle, Houston

Long overdue

Wind power is a story of federal and state subsidies, mandates by many states on its use irrespective of costs and regulatory rulings transferring its costs to others. An artificial market was created in which those favored prospered. Their gains should not be confused with how the nation as a whole has fared.

Wind power even with the Production Tax Credit (PTC) is not cost-effective. Further, due to wind power’s intermittent nature, back-up supplies are required to fill the gaps. The productivity of these back-up supplies declines, and their emissions per unit of output increase.

Thus, even carbon dioxide reduction may not be achieved with wind power.

When President George H.W. Bush signed the PTC into law in 1992, natural gas supplies were scarce and becoming scarcer. Natural gas prices were expected to climb. Yet since 1992, major technological breakthroughs have occurred; the nation now possesses 100 years of proven reserves of natural gas and the price has plummeted.

Wind power creates jobs in the wind power industry, but due to its higher costs, wind power destroys jobs in other sectors with a total effect of a large net loss in jobs to the nation.

The expiration of the Production Tax Credit is long overdue. The PTC has become crony-socialism, that is, higher taxes from and higher costs for the many with benefits just for the few.

Kathryn Kinser, Humble

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