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Government Power Hardware

US Firms Race Fiscal Cliff To Install Wind Turbines 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the last-chance dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that U.S. energy companies are racing to install wind turbines before a federal tax credit expires at the end of this year which could be lost as Congress struggles with new legislation to avoid the 'fiscal cliff.' 'There's a lot of rushing right now to get projects completed by the end of the year,' says Rob Gramlich, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association. 'There's a good chance we could get this extension, it is very hard to predict, but the industry is not making bets on the Congress getting it done,' Even if there is an extension there is likely to be a significant curtailment of wind installations in 2013. From 1999 to 2004, Congress allowed the wind energy production tax credit to expire three times, each time retroactively extending it several months after the expiration deadline had passed, but wind energy companies say they need longer time frames to negotiate deals to sell the power they generate. 'Even if the tax credit is extended, our new construction plans likely will be ramped back substantially in 2013 compared with the last few years,' says Paul Copleman. 'So much time has passed without certainty that a normal one-year extension would not be a game-changer for our 2013 build plans.'"
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US Firms Race Fiscal Cliff To Install Wind Turbines

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  • hot air (Score:4, Funny)

    by Moblaster (521614) on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:52AM (#42432939)
    All this hot wind about tax credits... I think it will break soon. And this whole thing will blow over.
  • Rent seeking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:02PM (#42433049)

    Rent seeking, meet regulatory capture.

    • Re:Rent seeking (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Brickwall (985910) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:27PM (#42433275)
      Absolutely! Here in Ontario, our moronic provincial gov't guaranteed 20 year contracts to the wind and solar companies at $0.80/kWh. Meanwhile, our nuclear reactors are generating power at $.03/kWh. And because they guaranteed to buy all the wind power that's produced, they end up having to sell it at a big loss. Brilliant! What's worse is the wind turbines, perhaps because Ontario is in the centre of the continent, generate most of their power during the shoulder periods of power demand. At least solar has the benefit of producing the most power on hot sunny days, when air conditioning demand is high. What's the old saying? "First, God created idiots. That was for practice. Then he created politicians."
      • Re:Rent seeking (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:03PM (#42433611) Homepage Journal

        What's worse is the wind turbines, perhaps because Ontario is in the centre of the continent, generate most of their power during the shoulder periods of power demand.

        That doesn't matter, so long as the wind generation capacity you have is less than your fossil fuel capacity. As long as that's true, you can think of it almost like having a super-efficient storage method for the wind power your generate: you "store" it as unburned fossil fuel.

        Only *after* your wind generating capability exceeds your non-renewable energy sources,does the wind power you can't sell "goes to waste". But then it was going to waste anyhow. You're still thinking of renewable energy sources like non-renewable ones. It doesn't matter if you don't capture and use every bit of a renewable energy source, because there's always more of it coming. What matters is can you make the dollars and cents work. It's quite possible for a 10% efficient solar array to be successful yet a 50% efficient one to be a financial failure. It depends on the cost of producing, siting, installing and maintaining the array vs. the value of the electricity it produces. The 90% of energy you waste with the inefficient cells doesn't matter; 100% was going to waste before you installed them.

        It may well be that your government set up a bad deal, but that's just lack of financial acumen, not a problem with the technology.

        • It may well be that your government set up a bad deal

          And of course, because they are Canadians, it is impossible that there is any corruption involved such as the politicians or their donors benefiting personally from the deal, Solyndra style. Yep, I guess they were just slightly stupid, it can happen to anyone. No harm done though, so there is no need too look for any accountability whatsoever or, God forbid, fire anyone. The taxpayers children will just have to eat a little bit less and everythin

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        seems like you don't really understand the purpose of subsidies. they are to encourage a fledgling industry and keep it up until it can stand on its own. there is considerable first-mover advantage in the energy business and even the hoops for connecting to the grid for a energy provider are high walls to new technology.

        fit contract rates are different for wind and solar, and have been decreasing over time as a result of the evaluation of the cost changes over time. microFit was 0.80 per kw*hr for solar les

      • Re:Rent seeking (Score:5, Informative)

        by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:37PM (#42433917)

        Citation needed for $0.80/kWh for wind. Even ridiculously overpriced wind farms elsewhere are at $0.20/kWh. Anholt Sea Wind Farm, widely criticized for having its proposal structured in such a way that there could only be a single bidder and therefore monopoly pricing, is at 1.05DKK/kWh or 0.19USD/kWh for the first 20TWh. 20TWh should be reached in approximately 13 years.

        $0.03/kWh is only possible for nuclear reactors which have paid off their capital investment already and are only paying for maintenance. Wind power under the same conditions can produce at lower cost than that.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Maybe they were factoring in the actual cost of nuclear, after all the subsidies and insurance the government provides. You could also look at it as an investment, like building a particle accelerator that may not necessarily generate big profits directly but will let you develop technology that does. Wind is already a big industry, and if you want in on the ground floor you better hurry.

  • when politicians seek to tax them.

  • has become the US Congress. Never have I seen so many get paid so much to do so little. They better wake up soon, otherwise a torch bearing mob may did it for them.

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Worry not for them, there's already FBI+DHS+police+banksters infiltrating that torch bearing mob.

    • by kybred (795293)

      has become the US Congress. Never have I seen so many get paid so much to do so little. They better wake up soon, otherwise a torch bearing mob may did it for them.

      We need to push them off the physical cliff!

    • by Nimey (114278)

      No, the enemy is the Republican majority in the House and their filibuster-abusing minority in the Senate.

      The Dems have their problems (and they are legion) but they're nothing like the GOP.

      • by JWW (79176)

        I can agree with you about the Republican Majority in the house being a problem, but the problem in the Senate is Harry Reid and the Senate leadership. There is no excuse for the Senate not passing budgets anymore, that blame falls at Harry's feet.

        • by Binestar (28861)
          Senate can't vote on a budget until the house gives them one. If they don't like what the house delivers is doesn't pass. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Section_7 [wikipedia.org]
          • by readin (838620)
            The Ryan budget passed the House in March. The Senate refused to vote on it for 2 months. Then when they saw in an off-cycle election that part of the plan (reforming medicare) could be successfully attacked, they decided to vote on it just so the could use it to attack the Republicans. The Democrat controlled Senate also voted down the Obama plan (97-0). The Democrats also voted down a budget offered by Toomey and passed by the House.
            http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/219093-paul-ryan-budge [thehill.com]
          • by ganjadude (952775)
            true, however the house has passed bill after bill after bill that the leaders in congress(reid - democrat) wont even bring it up for a vote.
            • by Nimey (114278)

              Because the Ryan budget is a joke. It's a thumb in the eye that won't even solve the budget shortfalls.

              • by ganjadude (952775)
                not the point, if its a joke, vote on it, at least the house TRIED and PASSED a bill, the senate (democrats) wont even vote, THAT is what is a joke
                • by Nimey (114278)

                  There's no point even voting on it, since it won't pass. That's called a "waste of time", much like the House voting to pass it thirty-odd times when they knew every time that it wouldn't pass the Senate or the White House. It's a joke, and it's on us.

                  • by ganjadude (952775)
                    the joke is on americans that we can agree on, i blame the senate who wont allow a vote on a budget however
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      I think I'd rather pay them more to do even less. Seems like most of the problems come from when they do just about anything.

    • by readin (838620)
      I think Congress has to share that title with the President. On the rare occasion that Congress begins to do something useful the President threatens to veto it.
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:34PM (#42433335)
    It's just another made-up name to mislead and / or scare the bejeezus out of people. Just like PATRIOT Act (patriot == good, cliff == bad). The world will still be here tomorrow no matter what happens.
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:45PM (#42433453) Homepage Journal

      Yes, I agree. Sequestration is the more accurate term that was used when the idea was first proposed.

      However: the 24 hour media engine needs it's narrative, both major parties need something that "went wrong" that can conveniently be blamed on the other, and the wealthy really want to keep their excessively low effective tax rates(not that we're fixing capital gains). This stupid "emergency" is a natural consequence of a bunch of people with something to gain.

      That is not to say the particulars of the "debate" are all completely OK. For example, those in congress who wish block the debt ceiling again can indeed crash the bond market, if they push it too far.

    • by na1led (1030470)
      Yea, what's funny is the way they use the term. We go off the fiscal cliff Jan. 1, but it maybe temporary if lawmakers can intervene. So what, we fall off the cliff, but we levitate only partway down?
    • by celle (906675)

      "It's just another made-up name to mislead and / or scare the bejeezus out of people. "

      All the cliff is is the resumption of normal tax rates before 2002 that the reductions of same were supposed to be very temporary to alleviate problems at the time, not go on for decades and the damage that it has caused. The spending cuts are just to make up for the overspending for two unwanted wars and contractor corruption running parallel to them without raising taxes to pay for it. Never mind t

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:45PM (#42433447)

    Everyone under the sun is racing to get deals done before the new year. It's not just one tax credit.

  • Could be a problem........

    From The Telegraph:

    "Wind farm turbines wear sooner than expected, says study

    The analysis of almost 3,000 onshore wind turbines — the biggest study of its kind —warns that they will continue to generate electricity effectively for just 12 to 15 years.
    The wind energy industry and the Government base all their calculations on turbines enjoying a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
    The study estimates that routine wear and tear will more than double the cost of electricity being pro

  • They are not struggling over anything. It's just a big Dick waving contest. With the largest Penis, Mister Speaker of the house, Boner him self, causing most of the problems.

  • than see Obama administration blow the money into the air in order to pay-off their political base by diverting the United States investment on the failed bankrupted green-energy companies such as Solyndra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra) and many others. If the energy source is non-viable economically and market can not support it -- let it die.

    • by celle (906675)

      " failed bankrupted green-energy companies such as Solyndra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra) and many others. If the energy source is non-viable economically and market can not support it"

      You do know Solyndra and many of the other failed companies were started under Bush right? Executive corruption and Chinese dumping on our markets sunk them more than any mistakes by the Obama administration. Economic viability means very little in a monopolistic market where small players get

    • People like to make a big deal of of Soklyndra but the failure rate of these government supported green companies is actually quite small: http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/22/news/economy/obama-energy-bankruptcies/index.html [cnn.com]

      Also, the reason Solyndra went belly-up is because China started their own initiative and dumped $4 billion into solar panel development, which they then dumped on the market for dirt cheap. And by dirt cheap, they went from $400/kg to $40/kg in three years time.

      In short, we're not just comp

  • The House passed the "Fiscal Cliff" bill that included, among other things, an extension on Wind and Solar Power support. So, they've got another year to pick my pockets. By the way, on a local level, wind power can work. However, the best application may not be electrical generation. Those windmills can power air compressors and compressed air can be stored indefinitely. They also produce distilled water as a byproduct. The neat thing is that it is scalable. As finances permit, tanks and windmills can be a

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