Texas has received federal subsidies for wind farms since 1992, providing the “green energy” sector with an artificial leg-up against other forms of energy. But with the fiscal cliff in Washington looming, this particular incident of corporate welfare could finally be coming to an end.
On Sunday, the Austin American-Statesman detailed the story of one particular wind farmer in Texas struggling to get his turbines up and operational before the end of the year, in order to ensure he gets a federal subsidy. Texas wind farmers like him have been profiting from federal intervention in the marketplace for two decades – when Congress created the tax credit on wind farms. Thanks to the credit, Texas is now home to 7 of the 10 largest wind farms in the country.
That same wind farmer is now lamenting the difficulty of competing against natural gas, which generates electricity at almost half the cost of wind. Without a continuation of the tax credit he’s been receiving, he says you can “pull the plug on the (wind) industry.”
What a travesty it would be if wind farmers like him lost the federal government’s guarantee of their survival. They’d have to compete!
Instead of allowing the free market to determine what energy sources are most viable and sustainable, we’ve allowed the federal government to determine winners and losers.
In the process, we all still end up losing by paying the costs with tax dollars.
The federal tax credit is set to expire on Dec. 31st – assuming it isn’t salvaged in a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Given the current presidential administration’s fixation on “green energy,” – and on spending in general — it wouldn’t be a surprise if this subsidy survives.
But conservatives can certainly hope that this market intrusion gets blown away by the end of the year – along with other government interventions into all sectors of the energy market.
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