Taxpayers, beware – of Big Wind's latest deceitful ad campaign
By Mary Kay Barton
If you watch much mainstream TV, you've probably seen Siemens' new multi-million-dollar advertising blitz to sell the American public on industrial wind. Why the sudden ad onslaught?
The wind business abroad has taken a huge hit of late. European countries have begun slashing renewable mandates, due to the ever-broadening realization that renewables cost far more than industrial wind proponents have led people to believe: economically, environmentally, technically, and civilly.
Siemens' energy business took a €48m hit in the second quarter due to a bearings issue with onshore turbines, and a €23m charge due to ongoing offshore grid issues in Germany – on top of subsidy and feed-in tariff cutbacks, recent articles have pointed out.
As Siemens' tax-sheltering market dries up in Europe, its U.S. marketing efforts are clearly geared toward increasing its income and profits via wind's tax sheltering schemes in the United States. The company stands to make millions, so Siemens ad campaign is obviously part of an overall pitch to persuade Congress to extend the hefty wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), more accurately called "Pork-To-Cronies." As Warren Buffett recently admitted, "We get tax credits if we build lots of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."
Taxpayers and ratepayers, beware!
President Obama often says he intends to "close corporate loopholes," but his PTC and other policies continue funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to his wealthy corporate insiders and campaign contributors – while we continue to rack up unconscionable debt for our children and grandchildren.
Increasing public awareness of the wind energy scam has led to increased opposition to extending any more corporate welfare to Big Wind via the PTC and energy investment tax credit (ITC). Enter another bureaucratic end-run around once clear statutory language by this Administration.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the increasingly politicized IRS recently relaxed the definition of "commence construction" to the point where the definition bears no resemblance to the actual words. During a hearing by the House Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements subcommittee last October, Curtis G. Wilson of the IRS admitted that developers can now game the system to the point where projects built years in the future could still meet the eligibility requirement for "commence" now.
U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers are doomed when, instead of allowing the markets to work, crony-corruptocrats are picking the winners and losers in the energy marketplace, using such nefarious tactics.
Sadly, most people don't even know the difference between energy and power. This reality has built the framework for the biggest swindleever perpetrated on citizens worldwide. Many have bought into the alarmist argument that "we have to do something" to stop "dangerous manmade global warming." Enter the wind industry sales department, primed to capitalize on public fears and alarmist hype.
Siemens also needs to convince the 80% of U.S. citizens who live in suburbia that industrial wind factories are "environment-friendly," and everyone loves them. Thus, as usual for these disingenuous ad campaigns, a sprawling wind facility is pictured among green fields, with no homes anywhere to be seen, no birds are being slaughtered, while a happy Iowa leaseholder smiles and says she loves wind.
A drive out Route 20A in Wyoming County, western New York State, however, tells a far different story. The western side of Wyoming County – which used to be some of the most beautiful countryside in New York State, has been industrialized with 308 giant, 430-foot-tall towers, and their 11-ton, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead, only hundreds of feet from peoples' homes and roadways. There's no doubt that Siemens won't be showing you this reality in any of their TV ads!
Unfortunately for the residents of Orangeville in Wyoming County, greed at the top in Washington, DC determined their fate. The sole reason Invenergy went ahead with its plan to build its 58-turbine project was that, in the early morning hours of January 1, 2013, the PTC was added as pork for companies sucking at the wind welfare teat.
Ever appreciative of the handouts, Invenergy owner Ukrainian Michael Polsky rewarded President Obama by holding a $35,000 a plate fundraiser at his Chicago mansion. Mr. Obama is so committed to Big Wind that he's even legalized 30-year eagle kill permits just for the wind industry. Anyone else harming an eagle, or even possessing a single bald eagle feather, is penalized with an iron fist.
There you have it – corporate cronyism in all its glory, with bird murder as its crowning achievement.
Word of impending lawsuits lingers in Orangeville. It remains to be seen if disenchanted leaseholders will end up suing Big Wind, as others have. In the meantime, we're hoping we don't have any 11-ton blade breaks that throw shrapnel for thousands of feet, or any airplanes crashing into wind turbines during fog, as occurred in South Dakota earlier this year, killing all four on board. (I'll bet you won't be seeing any of these facts in Siemens' ads, either.)
Our elected officials need energy literacy. Even a small dose would help.
What's most frustrating, when attempting any kind of correspondence regarding these energy issues with many elected officials, is the kind of response I received from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) when I wrote him a letter about ending the Wind PTC. Senator Schumer never even mentioned the PTC in his response. Instead, he rambled on about the need to "reduce foreign oil imports," and increase "efficiency" – neither of which has a thing to do with wind-generated electricity.
Mr. Schumer recently feigned alarm following complaints by citizens about soaring electric rates – demanding answers about it, while simultaneously supporting yet another Wind PTC extension (plus other rate-increasing "renewable" projects). Senator Schumer's hypocrisy is outrageous, and unacceptable.
Perhaps it's time for U.S. ratepayers and taxpayers to demand that their elected officials first pass an energy literacy exam, before they pass such cost-exorbitant, "green" boondoggles on to consumers.
Congress is on vacation through Labor Day, which makes this the perfect time to approach your senators and representatives while they're home. Attend town hall meetings and in-district fundraisers. Remind your representatives that we put them in office, and that we can also vote them out!
Since energy plays a pivotal role in our national economy – impacting the cost of absolutely everything else – candidates should have "energy" listed on their "issues" webpage.
Good candidates will support an "All of the Sensible" energy policy, as opposed to the "All of the Above" energy policy which President Obama has been pushing on behalf of the "green" movement. "Sensible" alternative energy options are those that are backed up by scientific and economic proof that they provide net societal benefits. Industrial wind fails this test miserably!
For more information, refer friends and elected officials to Robert Bryce's excellent book, Power Hungry: The myths of "green" energy and the real fuels of the future.
Continue to call and write their offices, and encourage them to oppose any extension of the PTC and ITC! Write letters to your local newspapers, copy their district offices, and post information on their social media pages (e.g., Face Book & Twitter).
We must demand accountability from elected officials, or vote them out! Reliable, affordable energy is what has made America great. We need to keep it that way.
Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, New York State small business owner, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans.