December 13, 2005

A kinder gentler piracy

"Wind Energy" Promoters in the US Have NOT Resorted to the Chinese Tactic of Shooting Opponents

by Glenn Schleede, December 12, 2005

The news story of Chinese riot police shooting "wind farm" opponents demonstrates that aggressive "wind farm" promoters, developers and owners in the US are more subtle and humane.

Nevertheless, the tactics listed below that are employed by the wind industry, by federal, state and local government officials, and by other "wind energy" advocates in the US -- relying heavily on false and misleading information -- may be equally effective [and the aim is the same: to manipulate public policy to ensure unfettered personal profit and to discredit and disregard the people who stand in the way --KM], i.e.:

1. Understating adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts of "wind farms."

2. Understating the true economic costs of electricity from wind energy.

3. Overstating the environmental benefits of wind energy.

4. Overstating local economic benefits of "wind farms."

5. Ignoring the impact of the intermittent, highly volatile, largely unpredictable and unreliable electricity from wind turbines on electric systems and grids.

6. Ignoring the fact that wind turbines cannot be counted on to produce electricity when electricity demand is high (i.e., little or no "capacity" value) with the result that reliable generating capacity must be provided whether or not "wind turbines" are built.

7. Convincing government officials and regulators to shift millions in costs from "wind farm" owners and hide those costs in the tax bills and electric bills paid by ordinary taxpayers and electric customers.

8. Securing all sorts of tax breaks to shift tax burden to ordinary taxpayers, including: federal and state accelerated depreciation deductions, production tax credits, and exemptions or reductions in sales and property taxes.

9. Convincing governors, state legislators and regulators to enact or decree insidious "Renewable Portfolio Standards" and other voluntary or mandatory "green energy" programs which create artificial, high cost markets for electricity from "wind farms," [as well as a secondary even more potentially lucrative market in "renewables certificates" or "green credits," --KM] with much of the true costs hidden in monthly electric bills.

10. Convincing Federal and state executives to issue "Executive Orders" mandating that federal and state agencies buy electricity generated from "renewable" energy at above market rates, with the extra costs hidden in agency budgets -- diverting money from agencies' (e.g., military services) primary missions to the coffers of "wind farm" owners.

11. Convincing Federal and state regulators to add more subsidies by using their powers to benefit "wind farm" owners, including use of eminent domain powers to build transmission lines to serve "wind farms," and shifting to electric customers the cost associated with transmission capacity serving "wind farms," exempting "wind farms" from penalties for not meeting delivery commitments, and arbitrarily assigning unwarranted "capacity value."

12. When invading yet unexploited areas, quietly entering into contracts with local government officials to lease land for wind turbines, thus producing influential voices to support granting of necessary permits.

13. Employing aggressive negotiation techniques and aggressive contract and easement terms when securing rights from ordinary landowners to build wind turbines on private land (e.g., low rental payments, payments tied to turbine performance without assurance of maintaining performance, rigid control over land use, long options periods, minimal or no secure decommissioning funds, insisting on secrecy of contract terms).

14. Extensive lobbying of politicians and their staffs, generous campaign contributions and, apparently, willingness to ghostwrite speeches and articles for use by politicians.

15. Extensive lobbying of US Congress to provide tax dollars for the US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE), which distributes the tax dollars via contracts and grants to hundreds of organizations (profit, nonprofit, colleges and universities, state and local government agencies, industry lobbyists, DOE national "laboratories"), creating a veritable "army" of advocates to (a) prepare biased studies, reports, articles, speeches and letters to editors favorable to wind energy, and (b) lobby federal, state and local government executive, legislative and regulatory officials s to provide even more tax breaks and other subsidies and more tax dollars for DOE-EERE to dispense.

16. Providing a lucrative national wind energy "feed trough" for lawyers, financiers and lobbyists who are able to use federal, state and local tax breaks and subsidies -- at the expense of ordinary citizens, taxpayers and electric customers.

17. Providing a seemingly unlimited supply of false and misleading information to the public and to news media via press releases, speeches, free meals and trips for reporters to "wind energy" conferences and "wind farms."

[18. Dismissing and fostering contempt for citizens defending their homes and natural areas against industrial development, particularly fomenting division between natives and newer or part-time residents, between paid-off property owners and their unlucky neighbors, between environmentalists desperate for symbolic action and environmentalists who keep a clear head. --KM]

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