During the Great Depression, FDR helped prevent recovery by paying farmers not to grow food. Although that insane practice continues to this day, bureaucrats are keeping up with the times. They have begun to pay their cronies not to generate power with hideous bird-chopping wind farms.
Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest — built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced — are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region’s electricity grid says there’s an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.
Even infamously inefficient windmills can generate more than enough power — provided it is added atop the energy produced by more sensible hydroelectric plants.
The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.
With wind power, it’s use it or lose it.
“It’s the one system in the world where in real time, moment to moment, you have to produce as much energy as is being consumed,” BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said of the renewable energy.
This is among the primary reasons that wind power could never work as a main supplier of our energy needs. But it serves well as a bottomless pit for the government to throw our money down.
Wind companies will be handed up to $50 million per year to compensate them for half their lost revenue. That money comes out of your pocket. The other half will be made up with higher power bills. That too comes out of your pocket.
Heads, the government and those with a seat at its table win. Tails, everyone else loses.
By the way, the reason they can’t shut down the more productive hydroelectric plants instead is that environmental regulations forbid it, lest spilling excessive water over the dam result in too much oxygen in the water for the sacred salmon swimming around at the base.
On tips from Bill T, TED, and Bob Roberts.