Perpetual Infants: $100 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies and US Wind & Solar ‘Industries’ Still Want More

Three decades ago, wind and solar were treated as industrial ‘infants’, deserving of subsidies and support, on the premise that they’d be on their feet, in no time.

Well, after 30 years and plenty of talk about being ‘competitive’ with coal, gas and nuclear, they’re still being treated like untamable toddlers. And, just like bawling brats, they’re quick to spit the dummy when the notion of slashing their subsidies is seriously entertained.

Stephen Moore has more than just a little fun poking at the internal inconsistency between wind and solar industry claims of being competitive with serious power generation sources and their efforts to ensure that the massive subsidies they crave last until kingdom come.

Washington subsidies not helping the wind industry
Washington Times
Stephen Moore
18 October 2019

Last week the lobbying arm of the wind energy industry made an unsurprising, though somewhat embarrassing, announcement. It wants a longer lifeline with federal subsidies. So much for wind being the low-cost energy source of the future.

Less than a year ago, the American Wind Energy Association had with great fanfare issued a press statement that as Bloomberg reported: “America’s wind farms are ready to go it alone.” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican who has strongly supported the wind industry since the days of federal support began in 1992, boasted that the wind industry has finally “matured” and that wind farms were “ready to compete.”

Never mind.

Big Wind’s change of heart was predictable because when this tax giveaway — which basically requires taxpayers to underwrite 30 percent of the cost of wind energy production — was first enacted, the renewable energy lobby promised that it would lift itself out of the federal wheelchair and walk on its own within five years. But like clockwork, every five years they have come back to Congress pleading for an extension — much like Oliver with his porridge bowl asking: “Please, sir, could I have some more.”

What was especially interesting was why Big Wind thinks it is deserving of “more.” The industry execs mentioned the tough competition from natural gas — which isn’t going away. Natural gas is today by far the most cost-efficient source of electric power generation in most markets. Thanks to the shale revolution natural gas prices have fallen by about two-thirds. This means that only with very generous taxpayer assistance on top of local mandates requiring local utilities to buy wind and solar power can green energy compete.

Big Wind said that it will lobby for a continued subsidy so wind power will “have parity” with the solar industry subsidies. The solar industry sun gods have even higher subsidies than wind producers get. They are actually right. Per unit of electricity, solar gets five times as much as wind power. And wind gets some five times more than coal and natural gas. So now we have a subsidy arms race going on.

Over the last 30 or so years, the renewable energy industry has received well over $100 billion in federal, state and local handouts. Yet these are still fairly trivial contributors to America’s overall energy production — supplying somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent of the nation’s total. The rational solution would of course be to eliminate all federal energy subsidies and simply create a level playing field among coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar and wind. But given the current anti-fossil fuels hysteria and the movement to promote green energy at any cost, the idea of creating an economically-efficient market for energy is about as likely as hell freezing over — which isn’t going to happen anytime soon because of global warming.

Given the powerful green movement’s lobby on Capitol Hill, don’t be surprised if the federal aid keeps pouring in. But here again we see again the central contradiction of the green energy fad. On the one hand, we here rave reviews of how enormously cost effective green energy has become in the 21st century. We are told we can require 50 percent, 60 percent and even 100 percent renewable energy over the next decade at no cost to consumers or businesses.

If so. Why must the subsidies continue ad infinitum? If $100 billion of taxpayer handouts hasn’t worked, what will?

My hunch is that the lifelines Washington keeps tossing to the wind and solar industry have been more curse than blessing. Subsidies can be as addictive as heroin. A cold turkey cut off of taxpayer aid would force the renewable industry to adopt strategies and innovations that would make them viable competitors in energy markets.

Necessity really is the mother of invention.
Washington Times

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Jeff Walther says:

    At least as insidious as subsidies are (in the USA) state legislation that makes wind and solar “must take” on the grid. That is, if wind/solar generators are offering, the grid must take it, even if it means kicking a more desirable generator off the grid.

    This is especially hard on nuclear which has very low marginal costs, but relatively high fixed costs (just like wind and solar) but generates almost 100% of the time.

    Sure, these policies get you wind/solar and possibly a low cost 10 – 15% of the time, but they introduce inefficiencies that vastly drive up the cost of the energy that you need the other 85% of the time because of wind/solar intermittency.

  2. I’m not sure I buy the argument that because it should have matured by now it does not deserve subsidies. I could provide many comparisons but here’s one, farmers get subsidies, dairy gets subsidies, they have for many decades. They help stabilize. Since renewable is chaotic maybe this is justified. Problem is they waste energy, draw power from the grid constantly, and are sold as climate change saviors when the only cause of climate change is the sun, the frigid cooling space, and water vapor. To sell the public on subsidizing wasteful energy that trashes landscapes and night skies with flashing red aviation warning lights incessantly blinking in the case of wind turbines and with solar being that they are black they radiate more heat and we are sold these things as solving the heat in the atmosphere problem, and that they become giant reflectors of sun glare turning roofs into mirrors, I see no need for them on this grand scale except that these subsidies feed the profiteers using Other People’s Money. OPM is a cornerstone of investment schemes. Subsidizing the production of food and milk keeps a stable supply for human consumption and existence. Removing those might create and existence threat whereas removing subsidies for renewable would not. In fact removing those for renewable and directing those to solving homelessness and building new roads and bridges would save energy and create a better world.

    • The point is, that the wind industry and its promoters first claimed subsidies would only be needed to get the wind industry started. Wrong. And that wind power can compete with coal, gas and nuclear. Wrong. It only exists because of the subsidies and preferential dispatch treatment. That is not competing.

      • Jacqueline Rovensky says:

        Well said STT.
        Until Governments and the many media personalities (actors and commentators) actually stop and accept what is happening to the environment and human health as a result of this maniacal push to change the worlds climate – a natural phenomena no one has ever been able to contain/control, the money (our money) will keep rolling into the coffers of the this ‘fake’ energy industry and we the people who are fated to have a brain and ability to assesses things are going to continue to be vilified.
        Not only that but we and our children are going to have to suffer the adverse effects on our health,environment and pockets of mindless drivel espoused by Politicians and their ‘advisers’ from the fields of make believe.
        When will Australia and other countries and Politicians wake up to the fact actors and commentators are simply ‘soothsayers’ trying to garner your trust, without having to prove anything.
        When are they going to listen to everyday people who do not have a cushion of money to sit back on, who cannot just get up and move to a more suitable place where they will not suffer the harm from this nightmare industry, and will be able to keep warm in winter and cool in summer and be able to afford electricity to cook with or read a book with or do homework with. WHEN

  3. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  4. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  5. Peter Pronczak says:

    STT supporters well know we’re not the ones living in La La Land in these supposed laissez faire liberal democracies. Such guiding philosophy is spruiked only at chosen times, and as illogical RE subsidies proves, the guiding principles are as lost in the woods as are its mythical proponents. English being an ideomatic language perhaps all politicians at election times should be given lie detector tests, but it wouldn’t make much difference as they only state aims and their aim is usually crooked.

    Anyone disbelieving of conspiracy is either part of it, or an idiot. AU has done away with everything that made this ‘The Lucky Country’ replacing it with everything that conspires with destruction of that ‘luck’ that was in fact being logical in association with the times. As a nation that’s known for taking chances on a punt – the race that stops a nation just run – why such trepidation over nuclear energy? It can’t be the waste as science is beating it; besides, there are many unmarked places where surface pitchblende makes it dangerous to linger. Fear of a foreknown Chernobyl? Four of the same but modified plants are still operating. The previously mentioned science of predicting earthquakes exists yet governments refuse to implement it.
    Is it the cost and time to build nuclear plants? Surely not, we are well past the $AU70B ongoing RE subsidy now, and if wars have proven anything, things can be built at record speeds.

    The conclusion isn’t a fear of failure, it’s a predetermined desire of certain things to fail. Such as stability in social cohesion (Malthusianism & Con., for Cult., Freedom; population class control and reduction); divide and conquer on local scale (job insecurity, legalising ALL recreational drugs against the damning evidence, and destroying social security necessities); control of the international financial system through putting all control in few private hands.

    Respected historian Professor Carrol Quigley prefaced his 1966 book Tragedy & Hope with the following (full quote on page 324):

    “The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalistic fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank of International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which are themselves private corporations. Each central bank…sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence co-operative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”

    Was Quigley wrong?

    No state can have sovereignty without it’s own financial control – the ALP/NLP removed it with its 1980s economic consensus (Thatcherism).

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