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Government Power Hardware

US Firms Race Fiscal Cliff To Install Wind Turbines 98

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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  • Rent seeking (Score:4, Insightful)

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

    Rent seeking, meet regulatory capture.

  • Re:Just Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:30PM (#42433295) Homepage

    A perfect reflection of the people that voted for them.

    Actually, it demonstrably isn't. Some reasons why:
    1. Gerrymandering. For example, the party that got the most votes won't hold the most seats in Congress come the next term.
    2. This is a lame duck session. So it's actually a reflection of the electorate from 2 years ago, not the current electorate.
    3. The "money primary", where candidates must impress potential donors to even have a chance of impressing the electorate, ensures that proposals that might hurt large donors are never even considered.

    There are many opinions widely held by the American public that are nowhere near actually getting through Congress. For instance, a majority of Americans would approve the federal legalization of marijuana, but such a proposal has never even come close to getting a floor vote in Congress.

  • by KarlIsNotMyName ( 1529477 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:36PM (#42433347)

    With their own torches that they'll use to set fire to stuff, so they'll have an excuse to arrest the lot.

  • 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.

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

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:47PM (#42434017)

    If tax credits and rebates are what make wind profitable.

    Lots of industries start with various forms of government subsidy. The mistake made in ontario was thinking that the price of wind turbines was going to remain as high as it was for a lot longer.

    The government was trying to convince the public that wind generators weren't going to destroy property values, deafen children etc. They were willing to take a loss on this up front in the hopes that by the time generation came down in price people wouldn't put up a huge protest about it. Unfortunately for the government, the price came down far faster than anyone anticipated, which is good for basically everyone else.

    Had they stayed hugely expensive the government would be basically subsidizing half a dozen wind turbines here and there to show off, which, on the scale of things costs basically nothing, and if it made it easier to convince people to install a few thousand of them 20 years from now so much the better. But the price came down much faster than they anticipated.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva