The pay roll tax cut package managed to escape the grasp of renewable energy stage-5-clingers as President Obama signed it into law on Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, wind farm hopefuls still remain committed to making this relationship work. Proponents of the government-funded windustry are now frantically searching for an extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC) which is set to expire at the end of the year. After twenty years of government dependency, wind energy still cannot compete without the taxpayer crutch; it’s time to throw in the towel.
Government has been playing matchmaker with its insistence that wind energy is a complete catch: it’s clean, comes from an elite family (the Renewables) and will be good for you (i.e. the environment) “in the long-term.” But from the get-go, there are several reasons why taxpayers wouldn’t want to take this industry to the prom. Modern wind turbines are very large, expensive, visually unappealing permanent structures that inhibit land use and create a loud drone when in operation. When the wind is actually blowing, the spinning wind turbines end up accumulating a massive death count of thousands of birds and bats.
Beauty isn’t everything, you say? Well, even if wind farms were a total fox, wind energy is inseparable from its inherent baggage. For instance, if you’re looking for that long-term special some-energy to see you through the good times and bad, wind energy is risky. It only can only sustain itself when there is—wait for it—wind! Consequentially, it must have the constant back-up connection with the grid, depending on generators or batteries (that use fossil fuels) to keep you satisfied. Wind turbines (produced with the aid of fossil fuels) can be quite the intermittent diva too: when the wind current isn’t strong enough, it is unpractical to operate them; if the wind is blowing too fast, it completely shuts down to avoid damage. Wind farms can only thrive in specific geographic settings, usually in remote areas that require the expensive construction of transmission lines. In the end, with its absolute dependence on alternatives, wind farms are not taxpayer-healthy to pursue at all.
The wind PTC was actually scheduled to expire at the end of 2008, but was granted another lifeline with a 5-year extension to flourish from its infancy. The Energy Information Administration states that the Renewable Energy Tax Credit has stimulated an eight-fold increase of wind energy capacity since 2001. Today, windustry ventures still cannot confirm investor confidence without these favorable tax incentives and has produced an unsustainable work force of green jobs that rely upon this government funding. The EIA further explicates that despite the windustry’s overwhelming cost, “it is expected to grow worldwide because of favorable government policies.” An industry solely reliant on government favoritism is unsuccessful until it achieves prosperity without it. By EIA’s projection, this is unattainable.