Wind Subsidies Upon Mandates Upon Subsidies
Ad Infinitum, Ad Absurdum
Perhaps coincidentally, Proposal 3, a ballot measure to impose a mandate on Michigan utilities to obtain 25 percent of the electricity they sell from “renewable” sources — read wind turbines — will come before voters just seven weeks before another taxpayer wind subsidy is set to expire.
It’s a federal “production tax credit” that gives windmill operators a $22 tax break for every megawatt hour of juice they produce.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, this is so generous that during hours of low demand wind producers actually pay grid operators to accept their power, just to get the tax break (which can be “carried forward” and used against future tax liabilities for up to 20 years).
But unless Congress votes to extend it, the credit goes “poof” on Jan. 1. That would shift even more of the cost of imposing a 25 percent wind mandate onto Michigan electricity customers. However, those customers lose either way: If the credit is extended, as U.S. taxpayers they (we) will be on the hook for a gift worth $12 billion to wind producers over the next 10 years.
It would make more sense for government and politicians to just exit this “green” corporate welfare racket and let markets sort these things out.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.