Incentives: the wind industry’s Happy Hour

“Happy Hour” is a marketing ploy used to draw new patrons to your bar and, obviously, to keep your loyals loyal.  One dollar beers, a few pigs in a blanket and extra special pretzels (the kind with lots of salt to make you thirsty) and you can hopefully create a demand that will benefit you in the long run if folks stick around for your premium hours.

The concept becomes a problem if, when prices go back to normal, the newbies duck out for their favorite watering hole and your left with the loyals you had in the beginning.  The loyals might have had their fill at the reduced prices and not hang around long into the night, so there is risk that overall revenue will fall.  There is also a risk that the newbies will convince your loyals that their regular bar is cooler and worth a try.

It’s a big decision whether to risk starting a Happy Hour.  If it goes well, you end up with increased business.  If, however, you only gather up moochers who have no interest in paying their fair share, you’ll lose money.  If the bar owner ends up with scenario number two, there is only one choice … shut down Happy Hour.

Of course, the moochers will threaten to take their business elsewhere and tell everyone how chintzy you are and the loyals, who will have grown to enjoy the discount rate, might see you as now chiseling them.  All in all, not a good scenario.

Anyway, you might be asking what this has to do with industrial wind?  One word – INCENTIVES … the wind developer’s version of Happy Hour.  Lay out a platter of tax credits and grants and the moochers of the energy business will be drooling at your door.

Case in point is Idaho.  According to the Idaho Reporter, the wind turbine moratorium was killed in committee.  The bill was intended to implement a 2 year moratorium  on industrial wind development.  But it seems the moratorium would be the equivalent of shutting down the Happy Hour.

Take the comment from Rep. Ken Andrus who voted to kill the bill, even though he thinks there are things wrong with the wind industry, “I cannot in good conscience shut off people who have come here and invested millions of dollars after we encouraged them to do so.”

Sounds reasonable on the surface, but what how were they encouraged?  Why, incentives, of course!  Idaho’s Happy Hour was open for business.

And now, it seems, the folks seem to want to reel in the freebies.  Rep. Andrus said, “I think the solution is to do away with the incentives and let the free market take care of itself. We’ve encouraged these people to come to Idaho offering these incentives. Getting rid of the incentives is the answer.”

Likewise, Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise said, “I’m concerned we have severely skewed the market with these incentives and subsidies,” adding, “This market is out of control, and I do think we need a pause.”

Further, according to the article a representative of Avista said his company doesn’t need any wind energy until 2018 and the flap is purely based on the incentives issue.  Neil Colwell noted that a wind project investing $60 million would receive $18 million back from the government.

Darn, that’s a lot of pretzels and pigs in a blanket, don’t you think?

Anyway, cutting off incentives for the wind industry gets the same reaction as you expect from the moochers upon hearing that the Happy Hour is being stopped:  Threats!  Yep, they’re going to take their business elsewhere.

Gary Allen, an attorney representing the wind turbine folks threatened with this:  “I don’t like to rattle my saber but I believe my clients will have a powerful regulatory takings claim.” Allen said his clients’ $250 million project would come to a “screeching halt.”

Well, Mr. Allen, I’m not a math whiz, but from the example Mr. Colwell gave, that would mean the government puts about $72 Million  back in the taxpayers pocket.  And, based on that alone, I’d be showing you and your truckload of high cost low performing tinker toys the door.

Ann Dietrich bought her dream home some years ago and is very concerned that the wind turbines will destroy her way of life.  From the comment she made, sees the fight against wind as an uphill battle.  “Gov. Otter wants Idaho to be the ‘Wind Capital of the West,” she noted.

Well, Ms. Dietrich, that’s the problem we have when elected officials have agendas driven by ego.  All reasonable logic gets in the way of their mission.  Believe me, I know!

By the way, Govenor Otter … was he once placed on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION in college?

This entry was posted in Energy Subsidies, Industrial Wind and Local Governments, Wind Energy Legislation, Wind Energy Shenanigans, Wind Power subsidies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Incentives: the wind industry’s Happy Hour

  1. Frank O'Hara says:

    Sober up! There is no such thing as free wind. Someone is paying the bill.

    Free Beer, I mean free electrical power….that the promise Big Industrial Wind Is offering.

    Drunk on tax goodies and a sobering lesson “we will take you to court if you do not let us continue our happy hour”, because it will spoil our happy hour. An appetizing happy hour of digesting long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), Production Tax Credits (PTC), 1603 grants, and state and local tax loophole goodies. Polices that reward low-value energy projects and poor energy producing behaviors.

    I can see it now, as the Idaho legislative committee is disbanding, Big Industrial Wind is yelling out, “Let’s have another drink for the road”, or “Have another drink on us.”

    Be sure to invite all the big wind industry friends to the bar, because the taxpayers and consumers are paying for it. Wind projects are not effective and efficient because Big Industrial is not reliable and not predictable therefore they are wasteful.

    How many times have you seen a drunk keep the promises they have made during Happy Hour. It ok to make promises jobs and taxes, because everyone else that joins Big Industrial Wind at their Happy Hour Project also believes the wind is green and free.

    Sober up, there is no such thing as free wind. Someone is paying the bill.

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