6-6-14 – Thwarting Big Wind

by John McClaughry

In a VTdigger.org commentary (May 30,2014) Vanessa Mills Holmquist of Pittsford opposes industrial-scale wind projects and points out that they are dependent on cheap natural gas for backup for the hours they aren’t spinning.

If environmentally concerned people like her would only mobilize to kill off the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) of 2.3 c/kwhr for Big Wind, Big Wind would never build another wind tower in Vermont (maybe in high cost Alaska and Hawaii, but not in northern New England).

But Sens. Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Welch are ardent supporters of extending the PTC. As an editorial in the Caledonian Record (May 13, 2014) pointed out:

“Back in December senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders signed a letter to the Senate Finance Committee urging extension of the now expired credits — particularly the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which subsidizes Big Wind to the tune of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. This is projected to cost around $13 billion over 10 years.

“On March 21 Rep. Peter Welch signed a similar letter to House Speaker John Boehner, urging extension of the PTC and an associated Investment Tax Credit for Big Wind… while a growing number of Vermonters distress at the proliferation of enormous wind turbines, our delegation in Congress is actively working to keep Big Wind in business…”

“Voters in Vermont should start telling Leahy, Sanders and Welch to abandon the subsidy-sucking renewable-industrial complex.”

Why aren’t green-minded people beating on their doors to stop this costly handout to corporate interests?

John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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