11.17.2014 1

Time is up for wind production tax credits

Dirty Energy

By Rick Manning

“The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D,” testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittees on Energy and Commerce offered by the American Wind Energy Association and others.

A reasonable statement of belief that wind energy just needs a little help to get off the ground and become financially viable.

And it was reasonable, in 1983, when it was made.

Now, thirty one years later, the powerful Big Wind lobbyists are at the trough once again asking for another extension of tax breaks.  Wind Production Tax Credits that distort the electricity market harming the ability of their competitors to invest profitably in alternative, competing electric generation sources.

Yet, those who promote this 21st century upgrade of 15th century technology continue to claim that if Congress just gives them one more fix they will be able to compete.

In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, the lame duck Congress should just say no.

They should say no, because investment in wind energy production needs to stand on its own feet with the best technology emerging, and those that lag being left behind.  The natural selection of the marketplace needs to hone the industry so the most efficient, productive technologies can thrive and help meet our nation’s energy needs.

The lazy way is to get the government to provide the competitive difference allowing even poor performers to thrive.

Wind, and every other energy source, should compete on the level field of the marketplace without the corrosive effects of government tainting the game.

While others worry about the dangers that expanded wind energy pose to bird life as subsidized projects are being placed in some of nature’s most important flyways, and others express concern about the decimation of the bat population in some agriculture dependent areas, ultimately the question for Congress has to be – Is wind energy sustainable, or is it a permanent government dependent?

After more than 30 years living in Uncle Sam’s basement playing video games and eating Cheetos, its time for this industry to be kicked out of the nest.  It’s time for wind to fly.

Congress will be deciding whether to extend Wind Production Tax Credits in the weeks ahead, and for wind’s own sake, it is time allow them to die.  It is time for this industry to compete, for better or worse.

It’s time for Congress to mercifully end the Wind Production Tax Credit once and for all.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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