I have been slowly working my way through the DOE’s Wind Power study targeting 20% of the projected US electrical capacity to be generated by wind power by the year 2030. It’s 248 pages long. You can view, download or print it at your pleasure. No, I haven’t read the whole thing. Based on the 40 pages I have gone through so far there are a number of really interesting things to consider.
The DOE estimates that it will require 100,000 wind turbines to be installed and connected to the grid in addition to the ones we already have running to achieve the stated goal. That’s great news for GE and Siemens who are the leaders in wind turbine manufacturing. And what about Energy Secretary Chu’s recent comment that “more than 50% of the turbine’s content is made in America” ? Maybe not so comforting for the American worker.
Large multinational corporations do not have any implied loyalty to the country that they are incorporated in. In fact, the bigger the company, the more adversarial the relationship can become. Microsoft is sure feeling it with restraint of trade problems in the US and the EU. We have watched US tax policy drive world renowned US corporations to move their assets and factories to other countries to improve their cost structure. Ultimately benefiting others instead of the workers here in the US that helped build their respective companies.
In this situation, particularly if some financial analysts don’t look favorably on GE’s current situation, surely the upcoming wave of spending on wind power will serve to bolster the giant corporation’s position. After all, we are talking about machines that sell for $2-6 Million each. Multiply that times 1000. And that’s only a fraction of what will be required to hit the DOE target. But an increase of cash flow of $2-6 Billion a year for the next twenty years sounds like a “wind fall” to me.
But that’s only a fraction of what is needed. 100,000 wind turbines over the next 23 years is 4347 units a year. And where is the money for this going to come from? A significant portion of it will be underwritten through investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation and direct subsidy. That means that several billion dollars a year in taxes eliminated from the US Government’s revenue. Revenues that will have to be made up elsewhere.
And please let’s not go into the number of barrels of imported oil thing again. Almost none of the electricity generated in this country is powered by oil, foreign or domestic.
But when did this get approved as domestic energy policy? I know I sure didn’t get to vote on this plan. Did you?
And I sure don’t remember when we made the three digit slip from millions of dollars being spent by the US Government to billions of dollars being spent by the US Government. 100,000 wind turbines at $2-6 million each is $200 to 600 billion dollars over the next 23 years.
I love clean technology. It is absolutely the way to go. But we’ve got to be smarter shoppers with tax payer money. Pebble bed nuclear power is way cheaper and unplugging existing wells in the US will stop the flow of funds to terrorists and make the US energy independent in 1 to 2 years while putting huge numbers of people back to work.
Maybe sustainable energy isn’t so sustainable financially.