End the wind PTC and business/government cronyism!
By Mary Kay Barton
As the Batavia Daily News observed recently, Invenergy is eagerly waiting for this "Lame Duck" Congress to extend the decades-old federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for industrial wind facilities. Meanwhile, thousands of local tax- and rate-paying citizens are eagerly awaiting the expiration – the permanent expiration – of this $0.022/kWh subsidy. The PTC is nothing more than a tax-shelter-generator for wealthy, multinational, rent-seeking corporations like Invenergy.
How does a business plan dependent on massive taxpayer-funded handouts for corporate profitability make it past the drawing board in the first place?!? Good question. Any of the rest of us would have filed such a plan to its rightful place: the circular file, aka the garbage can.
With the help of political cronies in high places, on both sides of the aisle, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has attempted, and failed, to push the PTC through in various bills: not once, not twice, but five times in a little over a year. Congressmen were inundated with letters, emails and phone calls each of those previous five times, from thousands of folks across the country, telling them to say NO to the PTC – which they did. Yet, here it comes again.
No means no!
We hope our elected "public servants" finally understand that NO means NO! Especially as we face the fiscal cliff, "We the People" do not want more wasteful spending on an inefficient, unreliable, antiquated energy source that ruins peoples' lives, kills hundreds of thousands of birds a year, does nothing to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and has exorbitant costs to boot.
The sad reality is, however, that with 66 corporate lobbyists roaming the halls in Washington, DC for every elected official, Big Corporate Big Bucks are working hard to buy the legislation that best suits their bottom lines – taxpayers and sound science be damned.
With 250 industrial wind turbines already strewn across Wyoming County in Upstate New York, a number of our rural townships have been turned into industrial wind factories – devastating the quality of life and property values of many local residents. These peoples' homes have been rendered virtually worthless. Many of them can't afford to take a huge loss, so they end up stuck there – many suffering from the ill effects of ‘infrasound' known as "Wind Turbine Syndrome."
The desperation of those stuck living amid the unhealthy rural blight of industrial wind installations is evident from this email that I recently received from one of those residents:
"We are at our wit's end. My last call to Invenergy two days ago was, needless to say, useless. I told her to shut them off at night or I will cut the locks off and do it myself! My next email will be to the Sheriff – again! If I can get arrested, just maybe I will get my day in court. We have spent at least $20k so far, and are out of money. The health dept also refuses to return my calls."
It is hard to believe that treating citizens and neighbors this way is actually going on in America today. But it is. All for "the love of money – the root of so many kinds of evil."
Sadly, New York State officials have publicly acknowledged that ‘infrasound' is a problem from industrial wind factories worldwide. And yet they have done absolutely nothing to stop this corporate and political assault on their taxpaying citizens.
Governor Cuomo has remained shamefully silent, despite lawsuits by New York State citizens who are suing Iberdrola because of the noise issue, and calls to do a long overdue health study. (I wonder if Governor Cuomo would buy one of these noise-damaged homes and move his family in!?!)
No intellectual justification
The wind industry exists largely because of its claims that wind would significantly reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce alleged global warming. But after decades of giving billions of taxpayer dollars to rich multi-national corporations like GE, BP, Iberdrola, NextEra, AES, FPL, First Wind, Invenergy, etc., CO2 emissions have not been significantly reduced – anywhere!
Since none of the volatile wind production is indexed to actual reductions in fossil fuel generation or CO2 emissions (because it can't achieve those reductions), the wind PTC is useful only as a means of reducing tax obligations for outfits like Invenergy's ‘Stony Creek Wind' equity partners.
Income generation through tax avoidance is what the wind industry has been about since the days of infamous Enron, which was once the nation's leading wind producer. Massaging the tax code via phony calls for more "renewable energy" has generated little energy – but has generated a fortune over the last decade for multinational corporations like General Electric and Florida Power & Light. To top it off, they haven't paid a dime in federal income taxes for years.
To rally support for the PTC corporate welfare program, AWEA is now focusing on "jobs creation" claims – which are plain, unadulterated hogwash. As anyone who's done an ounce of research on the wind issue knows, wind is actually a net jobs loser.
As reported in the article NYS money road to nowhere, "On a per kWh basis, wind receives 80 times the public subsidies received by fossil fuels, but produces no reliable electricity capacity and very few American jobs. In fact, for every green job that wind supposedly creates, it destroys two to four regular jobs – in large part due to "skyrocketing" electricity rates."
Beyond all the "green" energy pie-in-the-sky promises that morally-bankrupt wind salesmen or crony-corruptocrats may offer in the name of The Wind Farm Scam, the incivility of erecting scores of useless machines (they would be considered lemons if they were any other sort of modern machine or appliance) is a sad testimony about how cheaply people's values can be bought, and how little many care for the welfare of their neighbors.
If people wonder why the world is in the sad shape it is in, they need look no further than the neighbors stuck living within the massive footprints of dysfunctional wind factories. Sadly however, politicians, corrupt crony-corporatists and people getting wind scam royalties are choosing to ignore their neighbors. Selling one's neighbors out for the biggest "sWINDle" ever to come down the pike is hardly what Jesus had in mind when He told us, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, a small business owner in New York State, and a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for ALL Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation "Backyard Wildlife Habitat."