glimmer has been lost from industrial wind. The "Green" promises of an alternative energy hits a brick wall when
applied to this industry. By an objective analysis standard, wind projects make no economic sense. Just look at some of the
provisions that subsidized this botched industry.
American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) allows taxpayers eligible for the federal renewable electricity
production tax credit (PTC) to take the federal business energy investment
tax credit (ITC) or to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of
taking the PTC for new installations. The grant is only available to systems where construction began prior to December 31,
2011. The new law also allows taxpayers eligible for the business ITC to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department
instead of taking the business ITC for new installations".
economic basis for developing wind factories rests upon government money. The recent defeat of extending the Production Tax
Credit comes at a time when the appeal of backing inefficient and undependable electric generation is sinking like a rock.
The PTC and Section 1603 extension was tacked onto the Stabenow amendment, which failed to pass in the Senate.
"Stabenow’s amendment would have continued the production credit through 2013, as well as a Treasury
Department renewable-power grant program known as 1603."
under these generous subsidies, projects continue to fail. The latest causality is the UTC subsidiary Clipper Windpower. Bloomberg reports, that United Technologies is classifying Clipper as a discontinued
operation. Forbes announces on their website, United Technologies Unloads Clipper
"UTC in January 2010 invested an initial $207m to take a 49.5% stake in Clipper following a liquidity crisis
at the wind turbine manufacturer. It gained full control in December 2010 for an additional $223m . . . Clipper was then losing
money and share in its core US market. Installations of its flagship 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbine plunged to 28 in 2010 from
242 the previous year . . . .
The company’s image had
also taken a hard hit after cracking problems surfaced in 2007 that required a $330m remediation program to replace the blades
on all its turbines. Many of its third-party customers left for other vendors."
The prospect of selling this business is remote. The company was only an assembler of components based upon their
designs. Gearbox failures continue to plague these turbines. Under a capitalistic system, businesses that sell an unreliable
produce go bankrupt. Clipper Windpower will soon be remembered as an example of a company providing defective and inept technology.
Wasting public funds on such a venture exemplifies the shortcomings of "Green" zealots.
Clipper turbines were used on several First Wind projects. The subsidy carousal extends to the developer, as seen in the
essay; First Wind swindle has just committed
another heist. Cited in the 9/1/09 Democratic and Chronicle business section, the
following article appeared – Southern Tier wind farm gets $74.6 million in grants. This amount is in addition to the
PTC. As with any federal gift, connections and strings attached usually precede the process.
"First Wind has ties to the administration
of President Barack Obama. A New York City hedge fund, D.E. Shaw & Co., is a major investor in First Wind, according to
statements issued in recent years by First Wind. Lawrence H. Summers, who now heads Obama’s National Economic Council,
was a compensated managing director at D.E. Shaw before leaving late last year."
Since Clipper Windpower is in no position to honor service warranty agreements with First Wind, just how long will
their wind farms continue to operate? Actually, First Wind is on very shaky ground and has serious financial troubles. The
Sun Journal reports,
Wind, Emera Inc. (the Nova Scotia-based parent company of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service) and Ontario-based Algonquin
Power and Utilities Corp. propose to jointly build and operate wind-energy projects in Maine and elsewhere in the Northeast.
After a failed bid to go public in 2010, which left First Wind cash-hungry, the deal is a way for the Boston-based company
to continue building wind towers across Maine and the region, as well as a way for Emera and Algonquin to reach new energy
consumers in the U.S."
After this arrangement
collapsed, First Wind sought to sell an equity interest to Algonquin. The publication Recharge states,
"Algonquin Power and Utilities has dropped a bid to purchase a 12% stake for
$83m in First Wind Holdings’ 370MW wind portfolio in the eastern US, citing delays in winning approval from regulators
First Wind, whose main investors are hedge fund operator
DE Shaw and private equity company Madison Dearborn Partners, cancelled an IPO in October 2010 after facing investor concerns
over its debt load and future profitability."
First Wind will succumb to the same fate of Clipper Windpower, a discontinued operation.
The defeat of the Production Tax Credit may not be an assured and indefinite reality, but this is an election year.
Surely, the corporate wind lobbyists will want to insert this boondoggle back into the federal budget. However, the ground
swell against industrial wind factories is growing.
secret that wind projects often are paid not to produce electricity. The power grid is incompatible with many wind projects.
Government-Subsidized Wind Farms
Told NOT to Produce Energy reports,
"Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest – built with government subsidies
and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced – are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency
charged with managing the region‘s electricity grid says there’s an oversupply of renewable power at certain times
of the year."
This is an absurd corporate
welfare system. It is long overdue to let the free market compete. Industrial Wind is really a corporate/state pet program
that operates just as unwisely as all government bureaucracies do. The money that is wasted through the Production Tax Credit
and other subsidy grants is a national disgrace. Do your part and express your opposition to your elected officials.
James Hall – March 21, 2012
Discuss or comment about this essay on the BATR Forum