For twenty years American taxpayers have been supporting the wind energy industry through the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and twenty before that in various forms of favoritism. Each time it is scheduled to expire, the lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) fight for its extension, claiming the infant industry is almost ready to stand on its own and just needs a little more help. The PTC appeals to an emotional and ideological viewpoint as the idea of “free” energy seems attractive—but it can’t stand up when viewed through the filter of facts and science.
Now that the true costs—both in dollars and daily impacts—of inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical renewable electricity are becoming known, people are having second thoughts and public support has waned.
Like wind energy is from a different century (specifically the 18th century), the PTC comes from a different political era—a time when politicians were reelected based on the “pork” they could bring home to their constituents. Today, America is in an economic war and her citizens know it. Big spenders are being ostracized, replaced with political newbies who understand the timbre of the times. Republicans, especially, want fiscal responsibility. They see the public failure of the Obama administration’s funding of solar energy projects as crony corruption. Republicans understand that the wind energy industry, as the AWEA and wind energy manufacturers happily tout, will totally collapse without government support and there is no appetite for more government spending especially when it results in higher electricity prices and lost manufacturing jobs.
The monies spent on renewable energy subsidies—such as the PTC—will never be recouped. These industries are a net drain on the Treasury.
Mitt Romney boldly announced his opposition to the extension of the PTC—while Obama continues to emphasize his belief in emotion and ideology over fact and science.
Democrats, and a few misguided Republicans, point to “energy independence” as the rationale for more expensive renewable energy such wind and solar. Nothing could be further from the truth. Government programs throw taxpayer dollars at these industries to provide electricity, but America is already electricity independent. We do not import electricity and we have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium within our shores to provide for our growing electricity needs for centuries to come. Any electricity shortages being felt in this hot, summer season are as a result of the dearth of new power plants being built—not due to fuel shortages.
While delegates are packing, members of the platform committee were communicating; presenting various ideas as to what should be included. The Republican Party should have joined with their nominee and made opposition to the PTC an official part of the party platform. Instead, Tuesday night, it missed an opportunity to differentiate itself from the opposition and “decided to speak in generalities about an all-of-the-above energy policy”—even when “all-of-the-above” doesn’t make economic sense. What about “all that is sensible?”