Your Tax Dollars: Gone with the Wind

The U.S. wind industry is doing so well — reportedly growing at a record pace in 2009 — an industry association is predicting even more growth … that is if the government steps in. According to a recent MarketWatch report, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has stated that, “Comprehensive federal policy needs to be put into place in order for the industry to continue growing.”

This begs the question: Why would a supposedly booming industry need government to step in to aid its growth? The answer: The industry can’t actually rely on consumer demand and private investors to support its product.

A leader in the AWEA was quoted in the article seemingly complaining that, “We are the only major developed country that does not have a renewable energy standard or a functional standard.” Translation: We are the only major developed country that does not yet heavily subsidize “renewable energy” — although, that is arguable given the subsidies included in last year’s stimulus.

Listed among the AWEA’s legislative goals (read: list of political favors) are the following:

  • Production Tax Credit (PTC)
  • Small Wind Investment Tax Credit
  • Renewables Electricity Standard (RES)
  • Renewable Energy Transmission Highways
  • National Climate Change Legislation
  • Federal Agency Support for Siting Wind Power Projects and Transmission Lines
  • Research and Development

It’s all part of the industry’s “Wind Energy for a New America” agenda. All of these legislative goals, naturally, involve government either subsidizing or, well, subsidizing wind energy (either through direct subsidies or tax credits). That means the key to a successful future for the wind industry is forcing taxpayers to fund it.

This, of course, is nothing new. Businesses are always more than happy to get regulatory favors from government. And they always spruce up their appeals for political favoritism with lofty sounding rhetoric that appeals to the emotions. Take for example this nice-sounding phrase taken directly from the industry’s agenda Web site: “powering a cleaner, strong America.”

In reality, what this all really amounts to is just another business trying to gain favors from politicians. And, when businesses try to gain favors from politicians, watch your wallet. All of these “green” subsidies mean more green for these businesses and less green for taxpayers.

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