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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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  • 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.

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