Off the Editor’s Desk – 8-8-2018

The wind is still quiet in Forest?

We have not heard any news about the proposed “Highland Wind Farm” project in the Township of Forest in St. Croix County for a long time. If my memory serves me right, I think that the plan was for 41 generating wind towers that are close to 500 feet tall placed around the entire township. An electrical substation is planned for Cylon Township to service those wind generators.

The parent company of the project is Leeward Renewable Energy who, according to Leeward Renewable Energy’s website, operate 19 wind farms across nine states.

On Thursday of last week I send off an email to that firm asking for any updated information they may have about the project. If I receive any update I will be pleased to let everyone know about it.

I recently read a piece written by Richard McCarthy, who is the director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation. He discusses the cost to the taxpayers in subsidies from the federal government to the energy industry. Here is part of what he had to say about government subsidies:

“Thanks to politicians, environmentalists, and the solar industry, taxpayers and consumers are being fleeced. The federal government heavily subsidizes the solar industry, and a number of state governments have policies encouraging solar and green energy production.

“The federal government subsidizes solar energy much more generously than other sources of electricity. According to a study by the University of Texas in Austin, the coal industry received federal subsidies of $1.06 per megawatt hour in 2016; the oil and natural gas industry received $.91 per megawatt hour; the nuclear industry received $1.30 per megawatt hour; and the wind industry received federal subsidies of $12.74 per megawatt hour while the solar industry received federal subsidies of $61.31 per megawatt hour.

“Furthermore, 29 states (including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa) have enacted renewable portfolio standards, which mandate the amount of green energy that must be produced. These standards have greatly increased renewable energy production. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ‘Roughly half of the growth in U. S. renewable energy generation since 2000 can be attributed to state renewable energy requirements.’ Eight other states have set renewable portfolio goals.

“Just how important are incentives for the solar industry? Without incentives, relatively few consumers would be interested  in investing tens of thousands of dollars in solar panels when it is unclear if the panels will ever save them much money. For example, when incentives were dialed back in Nevada, the solar panel installation industry imploded.

“Because of the intermittent nature of solar energy, reserve generating capacity is needed to supply energy to the grid whenever clouds block the sun. Otherwise, grid operators must cut power to customers or risk damage to the grid. Of course, when power companies must maintain more power plants to provide backup power, consumers are stuck with the additional costs.

“Government mandates and taxpayer-funded incentives for solar and other renewable energy should be ended. After all, it is unfair to force poorer consumers and taxpayers to subsidize their wealthier neighbor’s electric bill.”

Thanks for reading! ~Carlton 

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