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Combs urges end to wind energy tax subsidies

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is urging lawmakers to end subsidies and tax breaks for alternative energy sources.

In a report titled “Texas Power Challenge: Getting the Most From Your Energy Dollars,” Combs is critical of “costly subsidies and tax breaks” that she said double burdens taxpayers and ratepayers for powersources that are “intermittent.”

“It’s time for wind to stand on its own two feet,” Combs said. “Billions of dollars of tax credits and property tax limitations on new generation helped grow the industry, but today they give it an unfair market advantage over other power sources.”

Heavy investment in Texas wind generation has produced a transmission system that is underutilized much of the time and must be backed up with natural gas generation when it fails to align with peak demand, Combs said.

It should now be the wind industry’s responsibility to develop technology to store renewable energy that can provide reserve capacity during peak demand, Combs said.

Jeff Clark, executive director of The Wind Coalition, said Combs’ report is unbalanced, misinformed and repeats the “flawed talking points pushed by the anti-renewables lobby.”

“Texas’ wind energy industry has now invested more than $26 billion in 56 counties across Texas and provides 10 percent of the state’s electricity supply cleanly, reliably, cheaply, and without using water,” Clark said.

Furthermore, he said, the wind power installed in Texas will avoid 23,103,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, the equivalent of taking 4,075,000 cars off the road.

Clark also notes that the state continues to heavily subsidize the oil and gas industry at the same time.