John Siciliano reports for the Washington Examiner on testimony designed to expose the unintended consequences of federal policies promoting wind power.

Federal subsidies for wind energy are “glutting” the nation’s electricity markets and forcing nuclear power plants to close prematurely, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce … tell[s] the Senate Finance Committee. …

Karen Harbert, the head of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, .. testif[ied] before the Finance Committee hearing aimed at examining the nexus between tax policy and the nation’s energy mix.

Harbert … argue[s] that the wind production tax credit, or PTC, from the 1990s has been successful in ramping up the amount of electricity produced from wind turbines from a very low number to providing as much as 4.7 percent of the nation’s power mix. But it is doing it at the expense of the 20 percent of electricity that comes from the nation’s nearly 100 nuclear power plants.

“Nuclear generation provides nearly 20 percent of total U.S. generation and the nuclear fleet operates in excess of a 90 percent capacity rate, by far the highest of all sources,” Harbert said in prepared remarks obtained by the Washington Examiner. “More importantly in the context of the PTC, nuclear generation provides more than 60 percent of all emissions-free generation, making it the king of emissions-free energy.”

She said the wind credit causes a phenomenon called “negative pricing” by filling the market with more electricity than it can use. That causes nuclear reactors to generate electricity at a sizable loss, while the PTC keeps wind power in business.

“In these cases of negative pricing, wind generators are often able to pay the grid operator to take wind-generated electricity,” Harbert argued. “It is not often a business can pay its customers to take its products, but wind generators are able to recoup a profit on the back-end thanks to the PTC.”

“However, in pushing prices negative, every other generator also is forced to pay the grid to take their respective electrons or power down, but they are not made whole via the PTC,” she said. “Not only does this harm other generators like coal and gas, but it specifically hurts nuclear.”