The wind production tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year, which has the industry crying out for continued subsidies.
Heritage’s Nicolas Loris has made the case that the wind energy tax credit makes as much sense as a VHS production tax credit. Can you imagine the logic: “We can’t afford to lose our VHS tape manufacturing plants. They provide valuable jobs. Americans need a variety of ways to watch recorded entertainment.”
Loris says this is what proponents of wind energy tax credits sound like.
Wasting taxpayer dollars on different but similar programs—claiming that these subsidies really are necessary to create jobs or prevent layoffs—simply creates a “subsidies for me but not for thee” mentality in Washington….Renewable energy production tax credits have received support from Democrats, Republicans, and industry groups, but that doesn’t make it good policy.
The credit is a huge handout to wind producers, allowing them to sell their electricity for less than market price. They would profit even if they offered it for free—because they would still pocket the subsidy.
The subsidy is already equivalent to 50 percent to 70 percent of the wholesale price of electricity. And that isn’t the only special-interest treatment wind producers receive, as Heritage’s David Kreutzer explains:
Though you would not know it from wailing and gnashing of teeth over the expiration of the [production tax credit, or] PTC, many states also have renewable energy standards that force ratepayers to buy wind, solar, and biomass produced electricity regardless of how much it costs. These renewable standards are separate from—and, for wind-power producers, in addition to—the PTC.
A business that cannot survive without taxpayers paying 50 percent of the costs does not help the economy. Instead, it eats up more value than it produces.