This is a “green” energy bureaucrat’s dream, and it uses your money both going and coming. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest—built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced—are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region’s electricity grid says there’s an oversupply of renewable power….
You read that right. The Bonneville Power Administration, which runs over 30 hydroelectric dams that compete with wind farms for the northwest consumer’s energy dollar, is paying the wind farms to not produce energy.
Apparently, both early snow melt and high winds last spring and summer had both systems producing at peak capacity, but that was more energy than consumers wanted. As a result, the BPA shut down the wind farms for 200 hours over a 38-day period, or 22% of that time. Because this Federal agency was so hard on a precious “green” energy program, it wants to blow a bunch of green at those poor wind farms—to the tune of $50 million for last year, and for this year, and for future years in which there’s too much energy being produced.
Guess who gets to pay those $50 million? Nope, not all of us taxpayers. Yet. So far, just the existing BPA energy customers.
There is no better racket than this: get paid to build, and then get paid not to use what was built. All with OPM. This was noticed by Todd Myers, the Director of the Center for the Environment, a section of the Washington Policy Center:
We require taxpayers to subsidize the production of renewable energy, and now we want ratepayers to pay renewable energy companies when they lose money?
That’s a ridiculous system that keeps piling more and more money into a system that’s unsustainable[.]
On the other hand, the Executive Director of the Renewable Northwest Project, Rachel Shimshak, also objects:
It sends a very poor signal to the market about doing business in the Northwest. We want the Northwest to be a good place to do business.
She’s right, though. This is a terrible signal about the market viability of these “green” projects: they aren’t viable. And the sooner this stuff is gotten out of the way of people’s pocketbooks, the better will become the Northwest as a place to do business.