Tax Credits for Losers Just Continue Forever and Ever

Robert Bradley, Jr.
Founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research
Principal, MasterResource: A Free-Market Energy Blog
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[Editor’s Note: Robert Bradley succinctly calls out the foolishness of government tax credits for uneconomical wind energy projects and the like.]

It does not end. What is not competitive and government dependent just continues that way. This is not only because the market picks winners and leaves the losers for politics. It is also because the market-driven, non-subsidized technology improves over time.

tax credits

Recently, the wind power federal Production Tax Credit received its 13th extension. IER reported as follows:

The U.S. Congress recently passed a massive spending bill that includes $35 billion in energy research and development programs, a two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar power, a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power, and an extension through 2025 for offshore wind tax credits.

These energy provisions are included in a $1.4 trillion federal spending and tax extension package…. Despite billions of dollars in subsidies and state mandates requiring them, wind and solar power provided less than 10 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2019.

In comparison to the puny government tax favors to oil and gas in electrical generation,

Between 2010 and 2019, the American solar industry got roughly 211 times as much in federal tax incentives as the oil and gas sector, when compared by the amount of electricity produced. And the wind sector received 48 times as much as the oil and gas sector.

Special government favors to business—crony capitalism—can turn losers into winners. And the loser lobby can claim progress and even inevitability as if they really won. This is the postmodernism of energy policy today in regard to the two politically correct renewables: wind and (on-grid) solar.

Appendix: PTC Creation & Extensions

Editor’s Note: Wind tax credits have also totally distorted our energy market, adding costs in other sectors on top of the costs of the tax credits themselves.

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