The Corner

Wind Tax Credit Keeps on Puffing

The dubious wind-energy tax credit not only survived the fiscal cliff, but has been expanded. The 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour credit was set to expire on December 31, but wind lobbyists kept the credit going for another year, and managed to adjust it so that any project that begins construction in 2013 can claim the credit, even it doesn’t go online until 2014.

The project is a godsend for many utilities seeking to lower their tax liabilities. “Just simply, 30% of the value of a project is derived from the tax credit,” Florian Zerhusen, chief executive of WKN USA, told the Denver Business Journal. The subsidy is one of the least defensible of all alternative-energy programs, given the environmental damage wind turbines cause to birds and the fact that wind energy can’t be stored and is therefore an unreliable energy ource.

Last week, I reported on the distortionary credit for NRO. Wind-energy advocates had the advantage of high-powered lobbyists (including Quinn Gillespie, the firm founded by former Clinton-administration official Jack Quinn and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie) and friends in congressional leadership.

A major proponent of wind energy is GOP House majority whip Kevin McCarthy, whose district contains more windmills than any other in the country. McCarthy ultimately voted against the fiscal-cliff deal because, according to an aide, “there was just too much spending in it.” But apparently wind’s outrageous tax exemptions are exempted from his concern. In 2010, the congressman unveiled the WIND (“Wind Incentives for a New Decade”) Energy Act that proposed extending the wind tax credit through 2020.

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Ohio Bans ‘Nature Rights’

Finally! After voters in Toledo granted "rights" to Lake Erie -- in a special election, it should be noted, with minuscule turnout -- Ohio has outlawed the enforcement of "nature rights" in a budget bill signed by the governor. From the legislation: Sec. 2305.011...[Definitions omitted] (B) Nature or any ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Ungrateful among Us

This is the transcript from Episode 156 of The Editors. Rich: How bad were the president’s tweets? What does Ilhan Omar owe to her country? We will discuss all of this and more on this week’s edition of The Editors. I’m Rich Lowry, and I’m joined as always, or at least most of the time by the right, ... Read More