Alexander: Spend More on Clean Energy Research Instead of Wasteful Wind Tax Credit

Posted on November 19, 2019

“Instead of subsidizing wind developers we could be using that money to double the amount we spend on research and development to make truly bold breakthroughs that will help us provide cleaner, cheaper energy, and raise family incomes.” – Senator Lamar Alexander  

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2019 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said asking the American taxpayer to pay more to extend the wind production tax credit – “the most wasteful, conspicuous taxpayer subsidy in Washington D.C.” – is unjustifiable. 

“The wind production tax credit is so generous that in some markets wind developers can actually give away their electricity and still make a profit. This wasteful subsidy has been extended 11 times and has been on the books for more than 25 years,” Alexander said today on the Senate floor. “Four years ago, we thought it was ended. Congress asked taxpayers to provide another $24 billion according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, to extend the wind production tax credit another 5 years and gradually phase out the credit. This is on top of the $9.6 billion taxpayers paid between 2008 and 2015, and the billions more taxpayers provided since the wind production credit was created in 1992. That was supposed to be the end of it.” 

Alexander continued, “The wind production tax credit undercuts reliable electricity like nuclear power. …With nuclear energy available – expecting the United States to operate on windmills is the energy equivalent of going to war in sailboats. Second, in my view, windmills destroy rather than save the environment. You could run these obtrusive, 40-story structures from Georgia to Maine to produce electricity, scarring the entire eastern landscape. Or you could produce the same amount of electricity with eight nuclear power plants. And then you would still need nuclear power plants to produce electricity when the wind is not blowing, which is most of the time.”

“Instead of subsidizing wind developers we could be using that money to double the nearly $6.6 billion the federal government spends on basic energy research to make truly bold breakthroughs that will help us provide cleaner, cheaper energy, and raise family incomes. Earlier this year, I came to the Senate floor and called for a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy, a five year project with Ten Grand Challenges that will use American research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy. Specifically, I encouraged making breakthroughs in advanced nuclear reactors, natural gas, carbon capture, better batteries, greener buildings, electric vehicles, cheaper solar, fusion, advanced computing, and doubling energy research funding. Let wind energy go where it should go, unsubsidized, into the free market,” Alexander concluded.  

Click here for Alexander’s prepared remarks.

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