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EDITORIAL: Blowing taxpayer money

White House obsession with wind energy boondoggles impoverishes nation

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Uncle Sam doesn't need to do a lot to fill the pockets of favored industries. President Obama has made it clear that he wants any company that claims to be "green" to succeed in the marketplace. So the Internal Revenue Service made a quiet adjustment to the wind production tax credit, delivering a $545 million advantage to the windmill industry.

Wind turbines are better at killing birds and bats than producing power, yet politicians have made them the focal point for financial support in the name of creating jobs. Since the early 1990s, presidents of both parties have shoveled over $24 billion in taxpayer dollars into windmills, claiming it's the wave of a renewable future. Wind power, however, only works when Mother Nature cooperates. Thanks to their inherent inefficiency, windmills suck up $52 in subsidies for every million watt-hours generated, while subsidies for generating the same amount of electricity from nuclear, hydropower and coal are substantially cheaper. In fact, generating 1 million watts of power from coal and natural gas cost about 63 cents nearly 100 times less than wind.

Unfortunately for American taxpayers, the president and his team continue to argue that America has "fallen behind" Europe and China when it comes to renewable energy and demand taxpayers must play a costly game of catch up. Looking at the results of the European experiment with wind and other power sources, it would be prudent to stop playing this game.

In Greece, subsidies for green energy cost two jobs for every job created. Wind and other renewable power subsidies raised prices in Germany by nearly 8 percent. Spain was Europe's ground zero for the green economy, in particular, wind power. The country blew hundreds of millions in an attempt to start a green energy job sector. Since 2000, Spain's taxpayers spent $743,000 to create each "green job."

Things went so badly that the Spanish government actually came to its senses and ended the wind subsidy. In turn, the Spanish company Iberdrola, turned to the United States taxpayers and received over $550 million in grants from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the economic stimulus package among the biggest handouts given to any green company, anywhere.

Taxpayers shouldn't be forced to subsidize these companies that aren't even strong enough to withstand a mild financial breeze.

The Washington Times

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