It is hard as hell to get rid of government handouts once the beneficiaries have sunken their teeth into politicians and the federal tax code.
Exhibit A: Despite Republican majorities on Capitol Hill and President Trump being on the cusp of enacting a landmark tax cut bill, the Swamp managed to save federal tax credits for wind energy in their final draft.
And that means more federally subsidized wind energy projects in the Old North State, in the face of stern opposition from the State’s military installations and taxpayers alike.
“Like many Southeastern states, North Carolina has not yet been part of the wind energy boom.
Nevertheless, the topic has been the topic of legislative tussles, concerns from environmentalists, concerns from those looking to protect military installations and others in recent years.
Here’s where the state stands on several facets of wind energy.
Legislation: Members of the General Assembly has shown significant skepticism — and some downright disapproval — of wind energy. Much of that doubt is, several Eastern N.C. lawmakers say, tied to how building out wind farms could affect the area’s military installations.
House Bill 589, in particular, became a touchpoint this summer after state Sen. Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, inserted an 18-month moratorium on new wind farms in the state and required a study to map areas where turbines would affect military training.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, signed the bill, but immediately addressed the controversy with an executive order.
Executive Order 11 called on the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to continue working on wind energy projects, completing necessary steps such as reviewing permits and reviewing potential sites.
The moratorium is effective until the end of 2018.
“I want wind energy facilities to come online quickly when this moratorium expires so our economy and our environment can continue to benefit,” Cooper wrote.”
Of course, the Leftist Cooper is all about wind energy – the most inconsistent and unreliable form of renewable energy out there – because it satisfies the Left’s requirements for policy. Namely, Bigger Government, handouts, and snubs to the free market.
Good for the environment? What the Left won’t tell you, and what they seem to deny to themselves, is that for every megawatt of wind energy installed, an equal amount of backup energy generation must be secured from sources that are actually reliable, like coal and natural gas. Without the backup, wind energy couldn’t maintain a reliable flow to the grid to make economic or practical sense for the utilities to use it.
Further, the idea that our economy appreciably benefits from an industry that couldn’t stand on its own feet were it not for federal subsidies is a total joke. It’s the punch line Leftists go back to again and again when arguing for subsidies of all kinds.
If the economics of wind energy are so good, then why must the government give taxpayer money to the operations?
The wind energy credit maintained in the tax bill costs federal taxpayers some $3.4 billion a year. The program was initially set to expire in 1999, but it has been perpetuated and expanded since. The House had initially planned to shrink this tax subsidy and speed up its phaseout, saving about $12.4 billion by 2027.
The Senate’s tax bill retained the credits, along with those for electric vehicles, and in conference it apparently was easier to keep the money flowing than to scale it back.
That’s how the Swamp works. And it blows.