by Michael Giberson
Institute for Energy Research
October 18, 2013
This study examines estimates of the cost of wind power capacity produced by the U.S. government. Perhaps surprisingly given the extent of federal policy support for wind power, no systematic effort has been made to calculate the overall net benefit (or cost) of public policies supporting wind power. The Protection Tax Credit and other subsidies and purchase mandates available to wind investors and developers mean that federal taxpayers and state electric power ratepayers also share the cost of construction and operation. It is, of course, not surprising that subsidies directed to some power generators can lead to lower prices, but a bit of reflection undermines the idea that price suppression is good policy. So long as wind power remains more expensive than the alternatives, adding wind power cannot reduce the overall cost of power to the economy. The policy just shifts the costs of electricity from consumers to federal taxpayers.

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