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Mar 08 2012

Government Pays Subsidized Wind Farms Not to Generate Energy

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.

windmill-on-fire
A massive waste of money.

On tips from Bill T, TED, and Bob Roberts.

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  • James McEnanly

    Who else but the government would spend our hard-earned dollars not to receive goods and services?

  • Winston Smith

    Hyrodelectic dams are similar but they arent receiving massive green subsidies when they have to shut down some of their capacity.

  • F.D.R. in Hell

    I subsidized farmers in the 1930s to maintain higher prices, but there’s no need for price support in wind energy.

    Don’t forget, my Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) also paid farmers to kill off livestock to keep meat prices high.

    As Bugs Bunny used to say, “Ain’t I a stinker?”? :-)

  • KHarn

    Wind and solar power does work, but they seem most successful on a small scale as back-up or running certain machinery. I am thinking about getting a solar panel for use after a hurricane, what with the gas prices skyrocketing. It would be adequit for charging those battery packs made for computers; I’ll then plug my refrigerator to the pack while a second one charges.

  • notPropertyOfTheState

    What the wind farm should have is the standard ‘water tank on the hill’ where the excess wind power is used to fill a tank/reservoir. Not as efficient as just using the power but less goes to waste when there is too much power already available.

    Anyone with even a semester of engineering would be able to figure this out, says volumes about the types of people in charge….

  • TED
  • TED
  • bobdog

    It’s just a matter of time before we find out which politicians got filthy rich off this scheme.

    Nothing this big happens in America that some politician doesn’t make a fortune from it. I’ve been around long enough to know this as one of life’s little lessons.

    There was a tollway extension in northern Illinois a few years ago, back when Denny Hastert was about to retire. Guess who quietly bought up all the land?

    Back when the Olympics were “sure” to come to Chicago, an enormous amount of money was spent buying land on the lakefront for Olympic venues on the site of the old Cook County Hospital. Guess who bought the hospital and let out no-bid contracts for demolition?

    There are thousands of stories like this in the Naked City. These are two of them.

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