The Leaflet: Significant Declines in Wind Energy

Published January 16, 2015

Significant Declines in Wind Energy

Investment in renewable energy greatly relies on government regulations, tax benefits, and various subsidies. Throughout the nation, wind energy is losing steam. Even Warren Buffett admitted wind energy was a bad investment.

In an article by Senior Fellow James Taylor of The Heartland Institute, he discusses the costs associated with Ohio’s renewable energy mandate. Taylor wrote, “Since 2008, U.S. electricity prices have risen by 3.2 percent, from 9.81 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.13 cents per kilowatt hour. In Ohio, by contrast, electricity prices have risen 8.7 percent since 2008, from 8.44 cents per kilowatt hour to 9.18 cents per kilowatt hour.”

According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, new capacity and investment in wind energy is declining. In 2012, Ohio was ranked 13th in the country for private investment in wind energy. However, after the Ohio legislature froze a requirement forcing utility companies to sell more electricity from renewable sources, the state’s ranking fell significantly.

Investment in wind energy is expected to decline further in the next two years as the legislature studies the costs and benefits associated with the state’s renewable energy mandate. Further hindering wind energy supporters, the legislature increased the distance that new wind turbines must be built from neighboring property lines.

State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) says the legislature eliminated the mandate for wind and solar because it was costly and unconstitutional. Seitz suggests the cost of compliance threatens jobs for people working in the energy industry. The senator is pursuing a non-biased study examining the costs and benefits of the mandate to combat a current study using sources from left-leaning blog Plunderbund. Seitz said, “It is a fool’s errand to examine only the benefits of the state mandates without also examining their cost.”

Without substantial subsidies from federal taxpayers, it is unlikely wind energy will become profitable for private investors.

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