Crony Capitalism: Blowing in the Wind

By Gary P Jackson

One of the biggest scams out there is wind power. It works, but is not very efficient, and there is no way to store energy created in for use in peak times which, BTW, are the times when winds are likely to be the lightest.

Chriss W. Street at Brietbart’s Big Government exposes the amount of corruption and cronyism involved with Big Wind. General Electric, a huge Obama backer, is doing quite well thanks to the regime’s policies that favor wind power.

With the recent revelation that the ultimate Washington insider, Jon Corzine, appears to have ordered the looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from customers at commodity broker, MF Global, you would think crony capitalists would try to keep a low profile. But after only a weekend of contrived outrage, our elected leader seem to have returned to business as usual with a bipartisan group of Senators, including Mark Udall (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Scott Brown (R-MA) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) introducing legislation to extend for another two years the subsidies for wind power, labeled deceptively as “The American Energy and Job Promotion Act.”

The real message coming from the U.S. Congress to taxpayers is: “we need either less corruption or more chances to participate in it.

Windmills have been around for hundreds of years to lift well water and grind grain, but the father of the recent renewable energy scam is none other than Kenneth Lay, the infamous former CEO of Enron. In January 1997, Enron acquired Zond Corporation of California, the largest developer of wind-powered electricity at the time.

Enron then lobbied the State of Texas to enact a broad electricity restructuring bill with a “renewable portfolio standard” that mandated private electric utilities buy a minimum 2,000 mega-watts qualifying renewable energy by 2009 and 10,000 mega-watts by 2025. Enron also lobbied Congress to successfully amend Title XXII of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to direct the federal government to authorize tax incentives for renewable wind energy technologies.

Mr. Lay’s wheeling and dealing eventually drove the Enron leveraged empire into bankruptcy court four years later. His scams cost investors $10 billion dollars and over 20,000 employees lost their jobs and retirement benefits in the largest bankruptcy in American history.

Mr. Lay died prior to facing a possible life sentence for his crimes, but Enron’s crony tax credits, mandates, and regulations did not die with him. In May of 2002, General Electric acquired Enron Wind Systems and renamed it GE Wind Energy.

GE’s corporate motto is “Imagination”, but it was lobbying muscle that drove wind power. GE’s $23 million lobbying in 2005 was rewarded with Congressional passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that provided new tax incentives and loan guarantees for renewable energy.

As GE lobbying rose to $26 million in 2009, Congress amended Section 406, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes loan guarantees to wind power as an “innovative technology that avoid greenhouse gases.

In 2010, GE lobbying soared to $39 million as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 spiked Congressional funding to $27.2 billion in grants for renewable energy.

Wind power has so much in the way of a accelerated depreciation tax break, production tax credits, and renewable energy credits that GE has been able to recoup its capital investments within a few years.

The concept of actually selling power is far down the list of priorities for wind power. Electricity usage peaks in the cold winter and the hot summer, yet wind tends to blow the hardest in the low usage spring and fall. Consequently, electric utilities must traditionally have fuel power plants ready at all times to cover 100% of electricity demand. But under law, if wind turbines do begin spinning the utilities are required to pay approximately twice the going rate for any wind power that is transmitted to their power grid.

A good example of the economic silliness of “wind farming” takes place along the Columbia River Gorge where there are a high number of wind turbines.

The local electrical operator is Bonneville Power Authority (BPA). Last year, BPA had to shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days. By law, Bonneville is required to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. This year’s rebate bill could reach up to $50 million a year.

The extension of the crony renewable energy subsidies were originally buried deep in the legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, but the Senate rejected the measure on a largely party-line vote.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency statistics, wind energy subsidies exceeded the subsidies of all other conventional sources of electricity, combined.

The Keystone XL pipeline bill failed because it would have brought cheap and abundant power to most Americans. The American Energy and Job Promotion Act seems to be headed for easy passage, because it brings abundant amounts of subsidies to GE and other huge multi-national insiders.

This is insanity personified. Not only is wind power unreliable, it’s just too expensive to be practical. And with laws forcing utilities to pay these wind farms when they are NOT producing energy, it makes no sense to anyone but those who are running the scam.

America needs to reign in this craziness, and voters must demand ethics reforms that have real teeth. Too much money is being shoved at unscrupulous lawmakers who, in turn, write laws that favor these scam artists. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what these people are.

We need laws that will hold lawmakers responsible for this generational theft. They must not be allowed to use their position to enrich themselves, and their cronies, on the backs of the tax payer. In the case of these “green” energy boondoggles, everyone pays, as not only are billions stolen from the tax payers, but energy prices are also higher. A double whammy.

It’s time to contact your Senators and Congressmen, and demand action. Oh and remind them there’s nothing like a good old fashioned election to clean house, if that’s what it takes.

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16 Comments

Filed under In The News, Politics

16 responses to “Crony Capitalism: Blowing in the Wind

  1. As an environmentalist, I HATE wind power. I think America would be much better off investing in nuclear power, which is not only clean energy, but also a very efficient power source. I wrote about nuclear power here: http://secularjustice.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/americas-energy-future-must-be-nuclear-and-its-clean-too/

    • Gary P Jackson

      Spot on Ethan! France gets something like 70% of it’s electricity from nuclear powered plants. FRANCE! If they can do it, so can we. Nuclear is a solid, proven solution that we are definitely ignoring.

      I’m also a big proponent of natural gas. I’d like to see us get away from pie in the sky nonsense like ethanol and electric motors, and see a switch to compressed natural gas (CNG) as a major motorfuel. It’s also clean, and green. Very close to zero emissions, and we have plenty of it.

      Sadly, it’s all about money. Corrupt politicians, from Obama right on down through Congress, are getting rich, and making political points with their cronies by pushing nonsense like wind and solar, over proven technologies that will actually give us clean, cheap sources of power.

      Thanks for sharing your blog!

      • Thank you for commenting!

        I understand the fear factor present in America, but it is very misguided. Perhaps if our education system wasn’t ranked 39th in the World, politicians wouldn’t be scared to run on this issue. I REALLY hope the right can give up their “windmills suck (which is sorta true..) oil is the only option” policy and that the left will give up its “oil will destroy the world, solar and wind is the best” policy and meet halfway.

        Bi-partisanship may be setting the bar a little to high for the United States government, but I am young, I can have my dreams!

      • Gary P Jackson

        No problem. You are right on nuclear.

        The problem with all of these “alternatives” is they aren’t commercially viable. They simply don’t work, unless billions upon billions of tax payer dollars are thrown at them.

        Thing is, we have at least 300 years worth of recoverable oil, and a like amount of natural gas. There are 1.67 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic alone. We have a couple of hundred years worth of coal as well.

        There is no excuse for the United States not being 100% energy independent. None. We have more recoverable energy than any other nation on the planet.

        The problem, BTW, isn’t education, it’s the lack of common sense, that is killing us. We are $15 trillion in debt. That doesn’t include all of the unfunded mandates like Social Security, Medicare, and so on. Our annual GDP is only $14 Trillion. In other words, we are beyond broke.

        We simply can’t afford all of these so-called alternatives, none of which are commercially viable. Take away the billions upon billions of tax payer dollars that keep wind, solar, ethanol (which is a crap fuel) and the rest afloat, and no one could afford them. Any technology that isn’t commercially viable, without billions upon billions of tax payer dollars, is not a serious solution, and should be abandoned.

        The fact is, we are the only nation that can responsibly explore for oil and natural gas. We have safe practices that other nations do not. We are environmentally responsible.

        It’s a real crime that we are not developing our natural resources.

        Currently, we can’t drill off our own shores. I’m talking shallow water, where it’s safe, not miles off shore in deep water, where the EPA and the Obama regime allowed BP to drill, with predictable results. The problem is, the Chinese are drilling off our coast, under Cuba’s protection. The Chinese are taking our oil, and they aren’t nearly as environmentally responsible as we are.

        Russia is trying to claim our Arctic reserves, reserves that belong to us, and the Obama regime is doing nothing about it. Again, the Russians are far less concerned with the environment.

        We need two things in this country. Common sense, and the will to do what is right.

        I remember when I was younger, America wasn’t so environmentally friendly. In places, especially up north, chemicals were being dumped into rivers, and trash was literally everywhere. People became more aware, and more angry, and things got fixed. Sadly, I think a lot of the folks that did good work back then, are now looking for something to do, when there is really nothing left for them to do. NO one wants dirty water or dirty air.

        I’m pro energy and pro-growth. Energy is the lifeblood of the economy, and we have both arms ties behind our back because of wrongheaded policies driven by so-called green initiatives and pure old fashioned greed. Many times working together.

        Again, you mentioned nuclear, which is the answer for our electrical needs, and we need to start switching our fleet over to compressed natural gas. It is a clean of a fuel as there is net/net and we got plenty of it. It’s also mature technology. We’ve been running cars, trucks, and buses on CNG for decades. New engine management, and now direct pressurized fuel injection make it even more attractive.

        We need more folks like you who get it!

      • I’m glad I get it! Another HUGE problem is something that Thomas Paine warned against in Common Sense. He said that although totalitarian government is contrary to any sense of dignity, you can easily identify the source of problems. Now there are lobbies, bailouts, irresponsible unions, multiple wars, and two political parties ho contribute to them. Elections have turned into choosing the lesser of two evils. Looks like simplicity of government is an idea that America is unfamiliar with.

      • Gary P Jackson

        You take the words right out of my mouth!

        Corruption in government is rampant, and we need serious reform. Peter Schweizer, Sarah Palin’s top adviser, wrote a great book called Throw Them All Out, that exposes just how deep the corruption goes. If you haven’t read it, it’s very much worth your time. CBS’ 60 Minutes featured it as well.

        http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/peter-schweizer-and-cbs-60-minutes-release-report-that-shows-massive-congressional-corruption-in-both-political-parties/

        He’s also exposed the corruption involved in the “green” industry.

        http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/peter-schweizer-how-obama%e2%80%99s-alternative-energy-programs-became-green-graft/

        I firmly believe if we can reform Congress, and remove all situations that allow for this corruption, we can see some serious improvement in our country.

  2. Mike

    Glad to see France used as a model here. I’ve never understood all the animosity toward France, they seem to do pretty well and have some good lessons for us.

    Diversity in sources of energy seems the wisest decision. There have been and will continue to be huge advances in the viability of various sources of energy. Those of you who are old enough might think about what battery technology was like. Rechargeable NiCads costed lots of money, didn’t last very long, Fast forward one generation and we have NiMH batteries that are cheap and last longer than disposables. Now the cost of solar is at parity with conventional already in some regions and can only get cheaper. You can see former president Bush II bragging about energy subsidies here in his Fact Sheet: Diversifying Our Energy Supply and Confronting Climate Change:http://goo.gl/Qopzy

    Former president Bush I has installed a windmill at one of his properties: http://goo.gl/RzXbP. Certain regions are able to generate cost effective wind power too: http://goo.gl/ry9rK.

    Nuclear power requires enormous subsidies, ranging from loan guarantees to massive insurance guarantees: http://goo.gl/hvdq8. Not to say Nuclear is a bad idea for now, but the obvious answer is low risk, cost competitive, alternatives to the higher risk existing conventional power generating sources. Just like rechargeable batteries, it’s not hard to imagine when the greener option will be cheaper and better by all measures than fossil and nuclear.

    Also, I know you conservatives like to talk about terrorist threats. Can you imagine terrorists targeting solar panels or windfarms? Flying an airplane or other method into a nuclear reactor however, that I can imagine. Maybe even targeting petrochemical plants or storage facilities for that matter: http://goo.gl/QEtCV

    And while we’re talking about terrorism, where did the 11 September hijackers come from? 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the attacks were Saudis. The only reason Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US is because they’ve got lots of oil. If the world hadn’t been buying oil from Saudi Arabia for the last several generations, this dump of a country would be where it should be: poor with a small population. But we have been subsidizing their nasty society for all these years.

    You folks like to talk about how unfree “socialized” Europe is (guess France is okay now though, nice to see that concession.) If you think Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, are tyrannical dictatorships (I have yet to hear why..but anyway…) compare them to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis don’t like atheists like me (guess you don’t either, but you can’t kick me out of the country or kill me.) Saudi Arabia Stoning women to death for adultery, beheading or stoning to death for apostasy or a number of crimes: http://goo.gl/Rgk99.

    We’re subsidizing Saudi culture far more than we are windfarms or solar panels.

    • Gary P Jackson

      We have more oil, natural gas, and coal reserves than any other nation on the planet. We can be completely energy independent for the next 300 years. It’s a crime against the American people that we are not 100% energy independent.

      As for individuals, hey … if someone wants to spend their own money on windmills, solar panels, or whatever …. it’s America, they are free to do it. But that doesn’t mean it should be our national energy strategy.

      Global warming is a proven hoax, and yet another scam for corrupt politicians and their cronies to make a quick buck.

      Al Gore, Maurice Strong, Obama, and others all had a stake in the Chicago Climate Exchange, the mechanism that would have facilitated world wide carbon credit trading. That little scam would have seen around $10 trillion a year pass through it’s hands, making these crooks rich beyond anyone’s most vivid imagination.

      American must demand energy independence, and start going after politicians who stand in our way. They are all complicit in endangering our nation’s future.

      • Mike

        You seem to be a big fan of Ronald Reagan. He gave up on energy independence early on: http://goo.gl/0bRs1. When did this 300 year supply get discovered?

        You wrote: “Global warming is a proven hoax, and yet another scam for corrupt politicians and their cronies to make a quick buck.” Don’t know if that ever got up on your blog, but the last “expert” you presented was a fraud, remember I sent you the link. He may as well be on Snopes he’s such a fake. The guy who keep running around calling himself a “Lord” but the House of Lords has a cease and desist letter out telling him he can’t use that term (http://goo.gl/hGlfZ.) His background was in classic literature and journalism, but he was presenting himself as an expert on climate change.

        The other story you cited, if anybody would bother to look, the author of the study that you quoted, Zunli Lu said the news report didn’t know what they were writing about. See quote below from his university website:

        Zunli Lu:
        “It is unfortunate that my research, “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula,” recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, has been misrepresented by a number of media outlets.

        Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions. Our study does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.”

      • Gary P Jackson

        Global warming is a proven hoax. The scientists were caught cooking the books, falsifying data to show warming that did not exist.

        Also, scientists have now proven that “warming” happened in Medieval times, LONg before there was any man-made CO2.

        http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/new-study-proves-earth-heated-up-in-medieval-times-before-man-made-co2-was-an-issue/

        I read your other link on Monckton. So what. That doesn’t make him wrong. In fact, he has a quite reasonable approach. Even though everyone with a working brain, and an ounce of commons sense understands global warming is a hoax, lets suspend reality for a minute, and pretend it’s real. Guess what, there is nothing we can do about it. There’s not enough money on earth to create the mechanisms necessary to affect the climate. We’d be much better off saving our money and efforts.

        IF the climate warms, it’s actually cooling, but since we are indulging in this fairy tale, IF the climate warms, we’d be better off developing technology to adapt. Liberals also believe in evolution, so hey, we’ll just have to evolve.

        BTW, how do intelligent people understand all of this is a hoax, besides following the money?

        The same scientists that were screaming about the coming Ice Age in the 1970s, are now selling this warming bullshit. In the mid-to-late 70s, scientists were telling us the entire earth was going to be solid ice and we would all die. They were just as wrong then, as they are now.

        Oh, and Snopes is a known left wing outfit. You know it’s just a man and his wife don’t you? They are a dubious source of anything even remotely political.

        If you would actually READ our blog, instead of just posting tired left wing talking points you might learn something.

        In 2008 Kiplinger’s reported:

        … untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.

        There are 1.67 QUADRILLIAN [1,670 trillion] cubic feet of natural gas in the arctic alone.

        http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/energy-experts-to-obama-youre-not-telling-the-truth-about-americas-vast-reserves/

        Last year Whitney, a University researcher, and one of our writers, wrote more about all of this:

        http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/governor-palin-says-president-obama-is-scary-wrong-on-oil/

        Here’s more. Wise up.

        http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Why-is-Obama-Lying-About-US-Oil-Reserves.html

      • Mike

        http://goo.gl/Q73w4 you can see here that under Reagan there was a huge drop in oil imports in the beginning but they spiked a few years afterwards. Production dropped drastically into his presidency. Is there a reason that if your absolute favorite Ronald Reagan watched production go down and imports go up? Was he not privy to the 300 year secret?

      • Gary P Jackson

        Who the hell taught you how to read a chart? You are obviously a product of our failed nationalized school system.

        In fact, production INCREASED under Reagan, throughout most of his two terms. On the other hand, imports came crashing down. The real reduction of domestic production, as well as major increase in imports started under George H W Bush’s presidency, and has never stopped.

        I know this is hard for you, but we HAVE the oil, we just don’t have the will.

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