September 27 2012
Is Big Wind Withering?
Vicki E. Alger
The wind-power industry is losing steam, even though it has received about $1 billion worth of tax breaks each of the past several years, according to the New York Times.
At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people…About 10,000 of those jobs have disappeared since…as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. …And now, on top of the business challenges, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington: the Dec. 31 expiration of a federal tax credit that makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity.
If an industry relies on public assistance, it’s not competitive to begin with. Besides, wind-power is a “mature” 20-year-old technology. By this point it shouldn’t need the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy to attract investors. And taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to foot the $12 billion subsidy bill over the next decade.