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Published on May 16th, 2015 | by Susan Kraemer

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Republicans To Repeal PTC For Wind

May 16th, 2015 by  


US congressional Republicans have long hobbled wind development. In April, they introduced a bill to kill it off entirely.

Republicans kill PTC

The surprisingly forthrightly named PTC Elimination Act introduced in the House by Rep. Marchant and cosponsored by 15 more Republicans, H.R. 1901, would “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phaseout and repeal the credit for electricity produced from certain renewable resources.”

“The wind lobby says it wants certainty on the wind PTC and that’s exactly what this bill accomplishes,” said American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle.

Right. Certain death.

H.R. 1901 would not just eliminate the PTC for future projects but also retroactively alter PTCs already in place, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):

  • Prevent an extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), an effective, market-based business tax incentive that reduces energy costs for Americans in all parts of the country and
  • Impose retroactive changes affecting business deals that have already been signed.

Retroactive subsidy cuts are a sure way to kill off an industry. Spain killed off its rapidly growing domestic solar industry when it retroactively cut tariffs paid for solar power. Investors fled.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) drives the US wind industry, currently paying wind energy producers 2.3 cents for each kilowatt hour produced. The fact that it pays only by actual production catapulted US wind to global leadership in production.

US wind output exceeds that of the global capacity leader since 2010; China. In 2014, the US produced 181 terawatt hours of wind from its cumulative total of 66 GW installed. China had a cumulative total of 96 GW installed by the end of 2014, but generated a relatively fewer 153 terawatt hours.

Chinese policy does not push its wind developers to have the same singleminded focus on efficiency as the PTC does in the US, and less than 2% of its turbines are allowed to be foreign made. So to some extent, China is reinventing the wheel, which takes longer.

(Also, China’s lower relative output is partly an artefact of statistics: China was adding capacity at top speed, and the faster capacity gets added, the fewer gigawatt hours will be tallied as generation in relation to installations in any one year until capacity additions stabilize.)

But in the US, an impressive 16 million homes are now entirely wind powered, and likely for the next 80 years or more, if not forever. With US results like this after a few decades — even with with inconsistent subsidies — it is likely that given a level playing field of permanent tax treatment like a permanent PTC repeatedly proposed by President Obama, wind-powered electricity could result in electricity prices that are cheaper than fossil-fired electricity is now.

For its first decade, the PTC was too insignificant (at 1.5 cents) to impact growth, but since 2005, it has driven the industry on a roller coaster ride.

At the end of almost every year, the PTC expires and must be extended another year, or what’s left of the year, or in rare renewable-friendly congresses like 2009’s, for several years. Only 13 congressional Republicans — 6 from states providing over 25% of their electricity from wind — are among the 162 congress members supporting extending the PTC.

Each failure to extend it has resulted in a crash the following year, with even major firms exiting the US, and each extension creates a mad one-year dash. “A lot of Christmases ruined,” as one former wind industry insider described it.

The last time the PTC was extended, it was already bad enough, at just a few-week extension at the end of the year, an essentially meaningless extension in a development environment where siting, permitting, financing projects take, well, duh: more than a coupla weeks. This ain’t fracking.

Four times more new wind generating capacity came online in 2014 than in 2013, when wind deployment was down 92% from 2012 levels because of policy uncertainty over what turned out to be a brief lapse, but costing 30,000 wind industry jobs before picking up again.

Despite the roller coaster of this never-ending battle over the PTC with congressional Republicans, wind power has lurched along to become our cheapest utility-scale electricity, budged forward every year or so by the PTC. And that is what has the fossil fuel industry riled up to the point of proposing to eliminate it altogether.

So far, 15 Republicans have cosponsored H.R. 1901. But the fossil energy industry appears to have put it on the front burner. Modeled on the infamous “climate pledge” required of candidates for Republican seats in congress, AEA will include co-sponsoring the PTC Elimination Act as a component of a Member’s final score in their American Energy Scorecard, a litmus test of their loyalty to the fossil energy industry.

Opposition is running at 71% at Popvox, a site offering a quick way to let your congressperson know your sentiments, and that apparently is more effective than you might imagine, according to one former congressional staffer.

After all, nobody wants to be the next Eric Cantor.






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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Renewable Search

    Correct, Keith. San Onofre $4 billion to decommission, Vermont Yankee, $1 billion. Ratepayer contributions even with interest are running less than half of what will be required. Here’s a good resource:

    https://www.callan.com/research/files/819.pdf

    Also, decommissioning is now being subsidized, at least $900 million so far. Page 3, direct from the Congressional Budget Committee:

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/03-06-FuelsandEnergy_Brief.pdf

  • Otis11

    Thanks for the link to popvox! That was greatly useful…

  • Here is letter I sent to my congressional representatives. I urge others to write similar letters.
    —-
    Dear X,

    I strongly urge you to vote against the H.R. 1901 PTC Elimination Act, because it would eliminate the subsidies for wind energy, while continuing to give fossil fuels billions of dollars of subsidies. The US needs to transition to renewable energy as fast as possible to save the planet from the worse effects of global warming.

    Humanity can only emit 886 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent between 2000 and 2050 and still have an 80% chance of limiting climate change to 2 degrees C of warming. The world has already emitted so much CO2e that to achieve that goal humanity has to lower global CO2e emissions from 40 gigatons per year today to 6 gigatons per year in 15 years. We can’t go under 6 gigatons, since that is the minimum emissions from agriculture to feed humanity.

    There is absolutely no way that humanity will meet the 2 degree C goal if we don’t immediately start giving massive subsidies to wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy and eliminate every subsidy for fossil fuels. In addition, we need to implement a fee-and-dividend for carbon, that would tax carbon at a rising rate over time, but redistribute 100% of the collected revenue by sending an equal amount to every citizen and legal resident of the US. This would give every citizen an incentive to lower his or her carbon emissions in an equitable fashion, while not raising taxes and not costing the US government a cent.

    Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown 3% per year since the year 2000 which is terrifying, because if we continue on the current path of emissions we will have 4-6 degrees C of warming by the end of the century, With long-term feedback loops over future centuries, that temperature rise will be roughly 50% greater. A study by the National Academy of Science (2011) which synthesized many previous studies predicts that agricultural yields of American corn will fall 60% per acre and American soybeans will fall 30% per acre at 4 degrees C of warming. Indiana agriculture will suffer massive losses due to climate change and probably have to switch to other crops such as wheat which require less rainfall and have less profit per acre.

    4-6 degrees of warming by the end of the century means 6-8 degrees of warming in the long term, which basically means the death of the majority of humans on the planet. If there were any justice in the world, the children of people who refuse to implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be the first casualties of the mass starvation, mass migration and wars over scarce resources which will be caused by global warming. Unfortunately, it will be the children of the poor in places like Africa who emitted the least who will be the first to die from global warming, although they were the least responsible for creating this crisis.

    We need to immediately start implementing policies to leave 80% of the oil, natural gas and coal in the ground. The world currently has 15,000 gigatons of CO2e locked up in its hydrocarbon reserves. 80% of those reserves must stay in the ground to have any chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C, but we are currently on a path to extract all of it with techniques such as tar sands extraction, fracking, Arctic drilling and deep sea drilling. We desperately need policies to prohibit all of these new forms of extraction and end all extraction of hydrocarbons on public lands.

    James Hansen et al. (2013) calculates that if the world keep emitting 3% more greenhouse gas emissions per year, the world will emit 5,000 gigatons of CO2e in 97 years and 10,000 gigatons of CO2e in 117 years. They calculate that emissions between those two ranges will raise global temperatures 16 degrees C. At that level of warming, it will be impossible to raise grain crops, meaning most human beings will starve to death. For those who don’t die of starvation, the rest will die from the increased UV radiation. With 16 degrees of warming, the atmosphere will hold so much extra water that it will destroy most of the ozone layer which protects us from the sun’s UV radiation.

    It is urgent that the US change its energy policies immediately to address global warming. To meet the 2 degrees C target, we need emissions to drop 11% per year. The US has recently had a slight drop in its emissions due to the change from coal to natural gas in recent years, but this minor change is far from what is needed. I calculate that due its population size, the US has a carbon budget of 40.00 gigatons of CO2e between 2000 and 2049, but according to the World Resources Institute the US emitted 72.64 gigatons between 2000 and 2011. In other words, in just 12 years, the US emitted 192% of its carbon budget. Even worse, I calculate that the US has a total of 607.94 gigatons of CO2e in its reserves of coal, natural gas and petroleum. This means that the US has 15 times as much greenhouse gases in its reserves than it can emit.

    If 6 gigatons CO2e per year is the bare minimum of emissions from agriculture to feed the 9.6 billion souls that the UN predicts will inhabit the planet in 2050, that means that only 628 kg CO2e can be emitted per capita by mid century and still hold climate change to reasonable levels. For the sake of humanity, the US must lower to its annual emissions from the current levels which are 19.69 tonnes per capita to 628 kg CO2e per capita by mid-century. If the US implements bold policies to address climate change, China and India will follow suit, but if the US refuses to act than the developing world will not act. The US is the linchpin holding back global policies to address climate change and our country has the moral responsibility to act first since we historically emitted more than any other country on the planet.

    With recent science showing that the collapse of the West Antarctica ice sheets are now inevitable, we are facing the eventual inundation of Miami, New York, Washington DC, and many other coastal cities. Climate change is the greatest threat that humankind has ever faced, far greater than the two World Wars and the Cold War. We need to address climate change with the same level of urgency which America engaged in World War II. In less than a year every major industry in America was transformed to produce different products during World War II, and we need to make a similar transformation today to switch to a low-carbon economy. Every cent wasted in the so-called “war on terror” would be better spent to transition the industrial base of America to producing low-carbon products. The risk of climate change for our country is far greater than a few thousand terrorists.

    Finally, I want to urge you to face reality and listen to what the scientists are telling us about the risks of global warming. How we act to address this issue will determine whether we survive as a species. All other issues pale in comparison, and it is our duty to act for the sake of future generations.

    Regards,
    Amos B. Batto

  • When I read news like this, I despair about the future of humanity. The Republicans seem determined to bring about the extinction of the human race. I recently made a graph of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent that humanity can emit and still have an 80% chance of limiting climate change to 2 degrees C of warming. To achieve that goal humanity has to lower global CO2e emissions from 40 gigatons today to 6 gigatons in 15 years. We can’t go under 6 gigatons, since that is the minimum emissions from agriculture to feed humanity. There is absolutely no way that humanity will mean that goal. Currently emissions are growing between 2% and 3% per year, which is terrifying because if we continue on that path we will have 4-6 degrees C of warming by the end of the century and with long-term feedback loops, it will be at least 50% greater. 6-8 degrees of warming in the long term basically means the death of the majority of humans on the planet. If there were any justice in the world, the children of petroleum executives and politicians who deny the science of global warming would be the first to die of starvation, mass migration and wars over scarce resources, but the sadly the poor in the most vulnerable countries who will die first. To meet the 2 degrees C target, we need emissions to drop 11% per year. The US has had a slight drop in its emissions due to the change from coal to natural gas, but it needs to drop emissions from 19.6 metric tons CO2e to 628 kg CO2e per capita in 2050 when the world has 9.6 billion souls.

    • jeffhre

      Children shouldn’t suffer, that is not justice. But the tobacco industry executives who encouraged their family members who were of age to smoke, offer an interesting example.

  • Dan Hue

    The Republican party has become corporatist much more than it is pro-business and entrepreneurship. They have gone astray, and are failing to modernize their message in light of the social and environmental challenges that a planet with perhaps as many as 12 billion people in a few decades is facing.The irony is that the more we delay action on all these fronts, the more heavy handed governmental intervention will have to be, and the less optimal the solutions will also be. Humanity will probably survive, but the planet will be irremediably damaged (e.g., less bio-diversity), and that is what saddens me the most.

  • bill_christian

    All that’s needed is a CARBON TAX. If each of us have to pay for the damage that you do when burning fuel fossil fuel (irreparable damage to the atmosphere that we and all other life have evolved to live in, forever), none of us would be using it. Couldn’t afford to. So tax carbon now. Note, however, you will pay a scary amount for a gallon of gas. And that is a very good thing. Sorry about that. Can’t have cheap oil and save the planet. Like free ice cream and health. You can’t stop oil usage by kicking Exxon-Mobil. You must stop it by making it real painful expensive. This is guaranteed to work incredibly well. Then Exxon-Mobil will have to change plans, make liquid fuel from renewables or do something else. This would be far, far better than giving $ to wind and solar and whoever else the lobbyists buy support from. We will get our energy from whoever can do it best. Level playing field, free market, and we stop the destruction of our planet.

    • Bob_Wallace

      We’ll get (are getting, have) carbon taxes/prices in some locations. China and California, for example.

      Getting a nationwide carbon tax in the US wouldn’t be likely at this point in time. The majority of voters want something done about climate change but they don’t yet want it strongly enough to drive elections.

      Our best hope is for continued price drops for wind, solar, other renewables and EV batteries. Over the next five years renewables and EVs should become clear economic winners over fossil fuels. And, hopefully, at the same time we’ll see climate change concern rise enough to support a price on carbon. If people can clearly see a cheaper replacement for fossil fuels then they should be more willing to speed their disappearance.

    • nitpicker357

      Well, and taxes on SO2, NOx, PM2.5, … I resent being poisoned, frankly.

      • bill_christian

        Makes sense. We should tax harmful but “somewhat necessary” things. We are not going to stop discharging any of these overnight but substantial taxes would start a trend in toward their elimination. One of the few non-crazy things ever said by Gov Thomson was “here in NH we tax sin”.

  • Cheerful Clips

    A New Bird-Friendly Windmill
    The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades | WIRED
    http://www.wired.com/2015/05/future-wind-turbines-no-blades/

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m not convinced that they have a competitive technology based on what they report. There’s far too little data to make a judgement, only some vague claims.

      With a 41 foot tall device they aren’t getting up into the stronger and steadier winds of a 80 meter hub height turbine.

      ” Based on field testing, the Mini ultimately captures 30 percent less than conventional wind turbines, but that shortcoming is compensated by the fact that you can put double the Vortex turbines into the same space as a propeller turbine.”

      Compared to a very small turbine mounted on a 40 foot tower or a commercial wind turbine?

      There’s no advantage in putting more units on a wind farm, in fact a disadvantage. Land leases are based on the amount of land taken out of production. These devices would use up more land.

      There’s no performance curves. No way to evaluate how much power they produce at lower wind speeds and at what wind speed they cut out.

    • sy

      They also had a prototype for another type of blade-less wind to electricity converter. It had piezo crystals stacked inside that rubbed together to produce electricity when the wind put pressure on the post.

  • Cheerful Clips

    A long time ago all of us – human being people / chimpanzees / bonobos – had a common ancestor on the tree of evolution. Bonobos became fun loving, frisky and like to share their bananas. Chimpanzees are downright mean, competitive fighters and enjoy killing one another. It’s all right there in our shared DNA / Genes. Republicans are simply human being people with all of their Chimpanzee genes active and turned way up all the time.

  • NRG4All

    I guess Obama could veto this but then the PTC would expire anyway, wouldn’t it?

    • Offgridman

      It will expire but is an established part of the legal framework, thus only needs a majority vote in the houses to be renewed.
      Unlike the proposed change being brought up here which has more stringent requirements to pass.
      The republicans want to get this changed in case they are not in the majority after the next elections which will make renewal of the PTC fairly simple and certain.
      But with so many extreme opinions in the party which they excepted to get the majority it not for sure that they can get a concensus to pass this.

  • Frank

    I always thought the Republicans were pro business, and cheap electricity is good for business, and workers getting sick and staying home from work is bad for business. Renewables are. cheap, and getting cheaper, so I think republicans should be embracing renewables because it’s good for business, and democrats should embrace it because it good for poor people and the environment.

    Remember back when wind and solar were a were well under one percent of generation, and they could be easily controlled by yanking the subsidy? Well, wind and solar are now an existential threat to FF generators, and they know it, hence the fight. Even oil’s dominance is at risk if batteries continue to improve.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I doubt Republicans are getting information about the advantages of renewable energy. They aren’t going to hear it from Fox, the Wall Street Journal, or any of the other right wing media. I doubt a significant percentage of Republicans know how many hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars we spend dealing with the external costs of coal. I expect most have no idea how inexpensive renewables have become.

      Some Republicans are starting to understand the money to be made from wind energy and a few understand how roof-top solar can save them money.
      Renewables will win out The people making decisions at most utilities are going to be overwhelmed by the cost difference. But we’re likely a long way from a time at which the Republican party works to boost renewables. For the next few years we’re likely to see Republican legislators fighting a rear guard action designed to let fossil fuel interests extract as much profit as possible from their dying industries.

    • AltairIV

      Well, there’s your mistake. The Republicans aren’t pro business generally, they’re pro BIG business. They are mostly sponsored by and guided by the entrenched large corporations and their multi-billionaire owners. And at this time that means fossil fuel interests are king.

      Only when the renewable industry finally manages to shift from being an upstart outsider to an established insider will they really be taken seriously. We can see the inroads being made as we speak, but it’s going to be a long slow process.

  • JIMMYLIMO

    Screw Big Oil, Big Coal and their Republican whores !

    • jeffhre

      I’m tired of you holding back Jimmy – say what you really mean!

  • Offgridman

    Perhaps there is a bit more concern over this proposal than there needs to be, because that is all it is a proposal.
    It hasn’t yet been in front of the correct committee and been passed for a vote.
    It hasn’t been voted on yet by the house that has many members (republican included) in favor of wind energy.
    It hasn’t been passed on to the Senate for their evaluation and approval, where there are also republican members in favor of wind energy.
    And then the final step in front of the President who can either pass or veto it, and by previous action by Obama, it is pretty certain to get a veto.
    Then it can go back and by a large enough majority of the previous that veto can be over ridden, but there is so much infighting amongst the Republican party that it is unlikely they can reach this type of accord.
    Yes we should pay attention to this bill, especially those in favor of it, and those that vote for it to make sure they are not reelected. But otherwise it is just more of the same BS headline attracting talk that the Republican party has become known for.

    • Ross

      Put amendments into it eliminating tax write-offs for FF.

    • nitpicker357

      So … we should wait until this is passed and implemented before saying “Wow! That was a spectacularly bad idea!”?

      • Offgridman

        Did you read all of my comment before deciding Nitpick?
        Because the last paragraph starts with “Yes we should pay attention to this bill”
        The facts are though that the house of Representatives introduces hundreds or thousands of bills like this during every session. At the end of the last session there were over three hundred that had actually been passed by the house and then were ignored by the Senate.
        The introduction of bills like this is mainly just for the politicians to get media attention as displayed here, and to pretend that they are actually earning their lavish payroll and benefits program that they are allowed to increase by their own votes.
        Yes we should pay attention to this bill to make sure that we don’t vote for any of the politicians supporting it again.
        But the idea that it can actually make it all the way through the house, and then the Senate, and not be vetoed by the president is pretty far fetched. Just like all of the other make work, media attention seeking bills introduced every session.

        • nitpicker357

          Fair enough.

    • JamesWimberley

      Yes. The post headline is alarmist. Obama would surely veto a bill with retroactive provisions. But the bill is a sign that the majority needed to extend the PTC may not be there.

      • Offgridman

        Since the republicans winning their majority last fall I have figured that there won’t be an extension any time soon. But at least the policy stays on the books for an easy ratification when (if) the ratios change again, though we are likely to see another slump in installs over the next couple years.
        The one hope that is held right now is that the extreme factions in the Republican party will pull off enough crazy stunts like this before the elections next year that the electorate will wake up and shift the balance in the house and Senate as well as getting us another Democrat president.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      “Perhaps there is a bit more concern over this proposal than there needs to be, because that is all it is a proposal.”
      I think it’s more than that. While some might suggest a slower phase out of the PTC (and ITC for that matter) so it is less disruptive to the industry, the republicans are making a statement that they stand apposed to wind. The best you can hope for is to kill this bill. They’ve made it clear nothing better will be offered/proposed/passed. Dirt bags.

  • vensonata

    What about Europe? As they merrily continue to improve and reduce the costs of wind won’t that light a fire under American interests? Fossil fuels can’t compete with advanced wind and soon it will be game, set, match, while Republicans wonder how they, once again, blew themselves out of office.

    • Ross

      On a Europe wide basis we’ve nothing like the reckless support for the FF industry that exists in the US Congress (led by the types of people that deny evolution and claim the world is 6,000 years old) but on a country by country basis there’s a heck of a lot of heads in the sand on dealing with the transition to renewable energy as a necessary means of limiting climate change extremes.

  • Michael G

    Kill a growing industry to maintain a dying industry. Shows where the Republicans are. I admire their honesty. No pandering to the vast majority of Americans who want green energy. This makes our choices in election time very, very clear.

    • Larmion

      When you ask people if they support RE, the vast majority say yes. If you ask them if they’d be willing to pay a little extra for it, most still say yes.

      But if you ask people to name their top priorities in a pre-election poll, energy rarely makes it into the top 10. We like RE, but few of us like it enough to make it a red line in the voting booth.

      If the Republicans can make a convincing argument on more important issues like the economy or healthcare, few if any voters will hold their energy policy against them. Sad but true.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Republicans will make hate and fear their primary campaign issues.

        Fear of change is a major tool in their campaigns. Each round they have to search around to see what they can use to get their base excited.

  • Adrian

    Even without the PTC, onshore wind is the cheapest source of new electricity in many areas. It may be time to take the training wheels off.

    • RobS

      I agree, I think the lurches in policy that arise from every PTC end date and extension are mor harmfull to the industry then no PTC at all or my preference of one further extension with a fixed phase out period. the industry needs certainty and even with no PTC there are still many economic wind farm potential projects.

    • just_jim

      I have mixed feelings on this. For FF tho have the intangible drilling expenses write off, and oil depletion allowance, more than a century after FF became mainstream, yet say that there should be no subsidies for renewable is the rankist hypocrisy.

      If wind and solar is put into the tax code next to oil and gas with an intangible renewable write off, and a wind/solar depletion allowance, then OK, otherwise we are playing on a tilted field.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I think we have to accept an unfair game. Republicans are going to do as much as they can to favor fossil fuels. Wind and solar can, and will, win based on price.

        The problem for the world is that Republicans are slowing down our transition off fossil fuels. That means that people will have to work harder and faster once these old fools die out.

        • Ross

          Unfortunately there is a renewable supply of fools.

        • John Ihle

          I disagree. Where does one draw the line on unfair games concerning energy policy or any policy? Policy is a fight, policy is always a fight and this one has been shown to benefit ratepayers in pretty substantial ways.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Fight. Nothing to lose. Perhaps fighting will keep fossil fuel industries from getting more subsidies. (Look at the nuclear industry. They are campaigning to get more subsidies from paid off reactors which are no longer financially viable.)

            That said, I’m very unoptimistic about seeing new subsidies for renewables. And with wind now the least expensive was to bring new capacity on line and solar only a year or two away from being the second cheapest it’s hard to argue for more subsidies. Yes, we should be putting a heavy thumb on the scale to speed the transition away from fossil fuels, but that thumb is unlikely to be renewable subsidies.

          • Offgridman

            With the ongoing reduction in pricing for renewable energy sources the need for subsidies can become less of a priority.
            Perhaps the renewable energy companies and we that support them should shift our efforts more towards getting some sort of agreement between all countries to start reducing the supports for fossil fuels included in the Paris Accord this December?

        • neroden

          The problem for the world is Republicans and similar dangerous lunatics.

      • eveee

        You have the right idea. Time to end all fossil fuel subsidies. Kind of makes you wonder if the Republicans would drop the whole subsidy matter if the Democrats were aggressively campaigning to drop oil subsidies.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          Some Democrats are being bought as well.

          Tipping point is here though. Backing fossil fuels over renewables can only be a short time political win now. Long term it’s a fatal position. Look at what is happening in Australia and watch what happens in 2016,

    • Dag Johansen

      Onshore wind is cheap and still viable. But this will certainly slow it down. But the real shame is offshore wind. We really need to build offshore wind since it is located right where we have huge demand (East coast and west coast cities) and it has a higher capacity factor. But offshore wind is expensive and without the PTC, it will be extremely difficult to move forward on it.

  • RobS

    I like a middle ground of a long term solution with eventual phase out. Something like a 2c/Kwh PTC which is reduced by 10% or 0.2c/Kwh every year so that after 10 years the PTC expires completely, gives you certainty and a transition to independence. Do the same for solar and ongoing cost reductions would likely outpace the subsidy reduction.

    • Ross

      That would be giving too much ground to the FF lobby. Others have posted suggestions of areas where they’d have to give.

      • RobS

        Well at this point not giving ground is causing more harm to the industry than giving ground would, it is the policy uncertainty that is so toxic and certainty either way would allow long term planning and implementation to resume.

  • Dag Johansen

    How dare us people want electricity that isn’t created by spewing toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases into the air we breathe.

    • Ross

      I’d also like to walk down the street in my town without having to breath in fumes from ICE vehicles.

    • jeffhre

      And polls show most want more – what are they thinking?

  • wattleberry

    I reckon the mantra ‘If it sounds too good to be true it probably is’ has a lot to answer for. It gives the reactionaries a bogus justification.
    If only it had said ‘If it sounds too good to be true it should be carefully evaluated’.

  • JamesWimberley

    Chinese wind faces the additional disadvantage of geography. The best wind area in the US is the Great Plains, smack in the middle of a well-gridded country. In China, the best wind area is Inner Mongolia, practically an uninhabited desert. Capacity factors for the US wouldn’t look so great if the farms were in Alaska.

    • Dag Johansen

      Well . . . all that wind out in the middle of the great plains is kinda stranded as well. Without additional transmission infrastructure, you can’t get it where it is needed.

      • eveee

        Here is your prescription, sir.

        http://www.cleanlineenergy.com

      • Jim Smith

        stranded right in the red bible belt

        • Dag Johansen

          The politics don’t matter (if fact Texas has been great with wind until quite recently), the problem is the low population density of the great plains wind region. Other than Chicago, some smaller mid-west cities, and some Texas cities; the population density in the great wind corridor is pretty low. So as eveee points out, we need transmission lines to get that wind electricity to Ohio, Penn, Indiana, the East coast, etc. It is a great infrastructure project that our government should help with to create jobs and advance this clean energy . . . but the current Congress pass a jobs bill? LOL.

  • eveee
  • eveee

    Eliminate congressmen that don’t get energy independence and are cronies of the oil lobby.
    We need more wind, not less, in the fields. And less wind, not more, from Oil Lobby congressmen.

    • Mint

      I really don’t think the Oil Lobbies care about wind. Oil consumption is completely independent of wind energy production. Even frackers are embracing a world where wind+NG replaces coal and nuclear.

      This is just plain old Republican myopia.

  • Mike Dill

    They just need an amendment to remove the word ‘renewable’ from the bill and cut out all the other subsidies to coal, gas, and nuclear. That would put everyone on an equal footing.

    • TCFlood

      Then they simply lie and repeat the usual line that there are no fossil fuel subsidies or externalities. (Truth and facts are simply irrelevant to today’s post-reality Republican party.) The media then treats this assertion as a serious point of view … and so on.

      Does anyone seriously wonder why US society is so polarized these days?

      • StefanoR99

        “today’s Post Reality Republican party” – made me chuckle that one but sadly true as democracy can’t function properly with only one party.

      • Steve N

        That is the quote of the week – “post-reality republican party”.

    • Larmion

      That’d be harder than it looks. The vast majority of those subsidies aren’t direct. That the government acts as an implicit insurer to nuclear plants or pays for the respiratory ailments caused by coal plants is a form of subsidy, but not one that appears in the books.

      • neroden

        A start would be:
        — repeal percentage depletion
        — specify that the domestic production activities credit does not apply to oil, gas, or mineral extraction activities
        — raise the royalty rates on federal oil & gas leases to commercial rates at the next lease expiration/renewal (they are currently set at 1920s rates)
        While we’re at it,
        — repeal the 1872 mining act

    • Matt

      Many are hidden in the “general” rules that help only FF companies. Also since we allow massive external (Heath cost alone $.3-$.5T/year) we have a long way to go to equal footing. But while GOP calls the PTC a tax break, removing special treatment to their friends in FF is a raising taxes. Oh what a tangled web we ……

    • Otis11

      That, I could get behind…

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