The Daily Mail's Jan. 2 editorial "$24 billion is truly gone with the wind," contains a number of misunderstandings about wind power and the production tax credit.
An analysis by NextEra Energy Resources found the credit does not cost taxpayers a dime. With or without the credit, adding wind energy to the power system displaces output from the most expensive power plants that are currently operating, driving down electric rates for homeowners and businesses.
Because wind and other renewables have no fuel cost, they also protect consumers from volatility in the price of other fuels, much like a fixed-rate mortgage protects consumers from fluctuations in interest rates.
Also, the credit drives over $15 billion a year in private investment and more than pays for itself in local, state, and federal taxes over the life of the project. Those local taxes support rural economies and provide income for public facilities, including roads, schools, and hospitals.
Incentivizing domestic energy production simply makes economic sense, as those incentives lower consumer costs, create jobs, and help create a diverse national energy mix.
However, for a fair comparison of government incentives, one must have a historic perspective.
Over the last 90 years, federal support for the fossil fuel industry has been far greater than for renewables. In fact, according to a DBL Investors study, the federal commitment to oil and gas was five times greater than for renewables during the first 15 years of each set of incentives.
Government support totaling nearly $600 billion has been provided to bolster the production of conventional fossil energy sources - a farsighted outpouring of support that has helped those industries provide low-cost energy to power our economy.