by Randall Stephens
In 1992 the federal government decided to subsidize wind turbine energy production. Apparently, unless it is subsidized it is not a very efficient source of energy. Sadly for us, the taxpayers, wind turbines are made in Germany, not the US. $billions in taxpayer subsidies have since gone to prop up and bail out German investors.
Not to worry in Vancouver, though. A lot of those turbines get shipped in through our very own port. In fact, we’ve come to depend on them. So much so that we are willing to divert $90 million of our region’s precious WSDOT funds to upgrade the I-5/Mill Plain exit so that the big German investors will not have to invest in steerable trailers for shipping those turbines to Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. Much has been said about the need for the project, but has anyone seen any type of study that documents the need? Can we really justify the need to lay waste to a core city street and interstate interchange without documentation showing the need?
A March 27, 2015 article in The Bulletin “North-Central Oregon wind farm dies” details just one example of E.ON Climate & Renewables North America withdrawing its application for the 76,000-acre Brush Canyon Wind Power Facility in central Oregon. How alarming is it to learn, then, that the federal subsidies have ended and allowed to lapse? The Germans are pulling the plug on their plans to build a big wind turbine farm in Eastern Oregon. However the City says we must do this for a dying taxpayer subsidized industry that has no future?
Perhaps the City and Port are gambling that President Obama will be successful in making the production tax credit (PTC) permanente as proposed in his 2016 Budget? With the monumental conservative shift in the House and Senate in this past election cycle it’s a heck of a risk with ninety million plus tax payer dollars.
Related articles: Daily Caller: GONE WITH THE WIND: 1 In 4 Wind Turbine Companies Went BUST In Last Two Years Institute for Energy Research: Obama Budget to Make Wind Subsidies Permanent Columbian: Inslee hears of need for Mill Plain interchange project