Washington Kills Wind Energy Industry in U.S.A. with Little Fanfare

September 21, 2012

By now you should be accustomed to the lies that are being told by the government. This is just a small lie. So small that they hope you will not notice or if you do you will not understand. It deals with their commitment to renewable energy and their failure to take action to stay the course to support it’s viability. Both parties are complicit in destroying the Wind industry in the United States, and there is nothing that can be done about it now that they have chosen political CYA over sticking to their pledge. Yet they want you to think they are fully supporting an industry that is becoming numb to their falsehoods.

The truth seems to be that they only care about energy policy as it regards their re-election strategy. Right now they can’t tell how the electorate feels so they are doing nothing, and doing nothing is having a quiet but profound effect.

In January I wrote an article about the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit. In that article I explained that the PTC, the government’s way of leveling the playing field for wind start-up in the U.S.A. had been responsible for the rise in new wind generation. It went on to explain the dynamics of the industry and how the trending was encouraging. Finally it pointed out the need for action to capitalize on the effort.

Quietly, without much fanfare, the president and congress have been sitting on their hands with the full knowledge that inaction would destroy what the American People, with their tax dollars, have built. Both parties, both branches of government knew it was coming and they did nothing. Without a clear benefit in an election year the chances of decisive action were zero.

The PTC has cost the taxpayers in the form of subsidies for power generating companies building wind plants. The trending was positive with cost of generation trending lower and revenues holding or increasing slightly. This fragile and developing industry was almost there, almost self sustaining, almost viable. But this is an election year and nothing is more important to the politicians than their holy grail of power and influence.

The PTC was not renewed in time for generation companies to make budgetary and strategic decisions. Orders were cancelled, lease options expired, zoning requests lapsed. New additions were stopped dead in their tracks.

So much for renewable energy policy, but wait, there is more. With the demand for new wind power falling off a cliff the next domino to fall was and is jobs. Vestas, a world leader is planning cutbacks of 500 jobs in the U.S.A., TPI Composites has already reduced by 233, and the list goes on and on.

Siemens, a German Company with a large presence in Orlando has indicated that approximately 60 jobs out of a total of 615 in the U.S.A. will be cut. One of the hardest hit states is Iowa where wind equipment manufacturing has been a factor in revitalizing the state’s industrial sector.

The Obama administration claims that Romney will remove the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour credit when in fact under his administration the credit has effectively already been removed. For all the talk about “clean energy” and “jobs creation” Washington has, by their inaction sent the Wind industry in a downward spiral that may be difficult to recover from. Jobs that were created in the U.S.A. now seem to be too risky for foreign companies who have invested in the U.S.A. manufacturing base only to have the rug pulled from under them. With economies in Europe suffering as well the likelihood of those jobs coming back to America is in question.

While both parties and both presidential candidates seem to be on the wrong side of this issue several points do stand out. The most notable reality is that in a program that seemed to be having some success the lack of true concern for the country over their own personal ambitions is glaringly obvious.

In terms of the presidential candidates at least Mitt Romney is being honest in his position on the PTC. That will not stop the downsizing, but it will stop the slide by firming up policy and giving the companies in the industry the ability to plan. As for the Obama position, his constant lying and misinformation campaign point blame at others while he does nothing to counter the effect that a Romney presidency would cause is both transparent and revolting. Simply put, Romney can’t destroy an industry that his administration has let starve.

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