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U.S. Senator: Extending tax credit for wind power is like replacing submarines with sailboats

Editors of Electric Light & Power/ POWERGRID International — April 3, 2014

In advance of the Senate Finance Committee meeting to consider a package of energy- and business-related tax provisions, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called on his colleagues not to renew the expired wind energy production tax credit for a ninth time “after twenty two years and billions of dollars.”

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Alexander said, “One of things we remember most about the late President Ronald Reagan, is what he said about government programs: ‘The closest you will come to eternal life on this earth is a government program.’ My nomination for the most glaring example of a government program that seems to have eternal life is the wind production tax credit, the federal taxpayers’ subsidy for what I call ‘Big Wind.’”

“The United States uses 20 to 25 percent of all the electricity in the world… Where does our electricity come from? Four percent of it comes from wind power. Of course, wind power is only available when the wind blows, usually at night, when we need it least …

Expecting the United States to operate on windmills is the energy equivalent of going to war in sailboats while nuclear power is available. It’s even worse than that. It’s the same as destroying our nuclear ships – our nuclear plants, the same way – and replacing them with sailboats,” he said.

Wind energy developers receive a tax credit of 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity that is produced by wind turbines. They receive this credit for the first 10 years of operation.

He said there are four main problems with Congress renewing the wind production tax credit for a ninth time:  Continue reading to see what the four main problems are: 


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