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Page added on October 29, 2012

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Talk of a Wind Subsidy ‘Phaseout’

Alternative Energy

The wind industry, fighting to hold onto a generous tax credit set to expire in December, has been arguing that it does not need the support forever – just a little while longer, until it can compete with fossil fuels on its own.

The tax break subsidizes wind power by 2.2 cents a kilowatt hour to bring its cost closer to that of conventional fuels, and it has periodically been renewed by Congress with support from both parties. But like other subsidies for alternative energy, it has been tarred in some people’s eyes by the government’s investment in the failed solar company Solyndra and has become a wedge issue in the presidential contest. President Obama wants the credit extended, while Mitt Romney has urged that it expire as scheduled.

But while campaigning on Friday in Iowa, a state with a lot of wind business, Mr. Romney seemed to be opening the door to a different position — or at least allowing himself some wiggle room should a compromise be found. “We will support nuclear and renewables but phase out subsidies once an industry is on its feet,” he said, without offering more specifics.

Opponents of the tax credit say the wind industry is looking for a never-ending hand-out, but some Republicans support extending the credit as long as it includes an explicit phaseout over a set number of years. One of those Republicans is now pressuring the wind industry to propose a detailed schedule.

“It is clear to me that many of my colleagues have become increasingly skeptical of the industry’s claims that wind needs ‘just one more extension,’ to become competitive,” Representative Ann Marie Buerkle of New York wrote last week to Denise Bode, president of the industry’s main trade group, the American Wind Energy Association. “I believe that my colleagues will only support an extension if there is a timely phaseout of the credit.”

Although the association says it is discussing different ways to restructure the credit, it has avoided endorsing a phaseout, saying the industry needs a one-year extension just to stay afloat. Any wrangling over the terms of how the credit might diminish over time should be part of the more comprehensive tax reform effort Congress is to take up next year, said Peter L. Kelly, a spokesman.

“We’ve always said wind energy won’t need a tax credit forever,” he said. “We’re committed as an industry to looking at options for the future of the production tax credit next year during corporate tax reform, when all energy incentives will be on the table.”

NY Times



8 Comments on "Talk of a Wind Subsidy ‘Phaseout’"

  1. Others on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 3:10 pm 

    Of late they were making more fuel efficient wind turbines that costs lesser, so they should be ready for gradual phase out in another 2-3 years. Subsidies are giving only bad name to Renewable.

    Remember after the 45 cent tax credit removal of Ethanol, still its viable. Now, no one can question Ethanol. They have improved their process a lot.

  2. BillT on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 3:12 pm 

    Lets talk about the oil and natural gas subsidies and how they are many multiples of any subsidies for ‘renewables’.

    Let’s talk about oil companies protected from litigation by the government because the lobbyists own Congress and the courts.

    Let’s talk about how the oil companies are not nationalized although we are in many countries killing for oil at a cost of lives and trillions.

    Let’s talk about the military protection given at no charge to petroleum countries in foreign lands.

    Let’s talk about how the American public has been brainwashed to believe that you cannot live without more and more ‘stuff’ made from oil.

    Lets talk.

  3. BillT on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 3:14 pm 

    Others…ethanol or moonshine is not profitable without government subsidies and laws making it a requirement in fuels. It is also so low in EROEI that it is not worth the effort to make it without government help and never will be.

  4. SOS on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 3:45 pm 

    Subsidies to oil companies. Name one and we can talk.

    Lets talk about the extensive litiagation against oil companies and then lets see the laws protecting them.

    Lets talk about nationalized industries. Lets start with the post office and then lets talk about a free, capitalist economy where the factors of production and their output are privately owned.

    Lets talk about military protection and the politics of shortage, peak oil, and how those policies have forced America to look overseas for its oil and in fact as an unintended consequence of the politics of shortage, the middle east situation has arisen.

    Peak oil does indeed equal peak politics. Lets talk about that too.

  5. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 6:25 pm 

    Too bad Obama slimed all the alternative energy companies by doling out taxpayer money to his cronies at ripoffs and shams like Solyndra and A123.

  6. BillT on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 1:13 am 

    Ah, the oil pimps, Planet and SOS defending their lies. Blame someone for the failure of big oil to be able to rape the American people more than they already do. I’m hoping the economy goes down and takes all the fraking and subsidies with it.

    The oil company has been subsidized from day one.

    Let’s start with cars, highways for cars, bridges for cars,subsidies for car companies, low taxes on fuels for cars, etc.

    Then there are the write-offs for the industry and protection from litigation. Exxon has yet to pay the fines imposed 20+ years ago. Is the CEO of BP in prison where he should be?

    Then there is military protection all over the world in oil countries for American and other oil corporations. The list of subsidies is buried, but massive.

  7. DC on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 10:39 am 

    Current subsidies(direct) in the US of War amount to between between 50 -70 billion USD per year. This includes the so-called ‘defence’ provided by the Oil protection racket run by the US Navy. Globally, were looking at at least 600 Billion….per year.

    Remember, these subsidies on the production side flow to a very small number of very large oil corps. Some of that 600 Billion is directed towards end-users, but the majority, ends up in the pockets of the private oil companies. This goes on year over year, and has for over a century now. The only thing that changes over time is the numbers. I wouldnt be suprised if all the targeted subsidies going to renewables since day one, likely dont add up to one year of fossil-fuel subsidies. Not that I really in favor of subsidies, even for ‘clean’ energy, but the corporate welfare for oil+coal is off the charts. And none of that even takes into account the trillions spent on wars to support oil company profits and control.

  8. SOS on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 5:49 pm 

    Incorrect about highways being a subsidy. That is infrastructure. You didnt build that! Remember? Obama took credit for all of that.

    There are no write-offs to the oil industry that arent available to any other industry. They are not receiving grants and handouts in the form of guaranteed loans etc that sylndra and other failed presidential picks have received.

    Military activity in the defense of the worlds free flow of oil is an unintended, but very real, consequence of the lefts relentless politics of shortage or peak politics which of course equals peak oil. By forcing America to import rather than produce a slow build up of protection for our strategic assets started. It has developed into what we have today.

    One of the militaries most difficult problems when it comes to expediting strategy is providing fuel. Its always been over the top expensive because it has to be distributed by their own independent system no matter what the inefficiencies or costs.

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