by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
It is no secret that governments around the world have become obsessed with massive subsidies for wind power. Of course, the reason why it must be subsidized is because no rational utility company would choose such an inefficient source for generating its electricity. But the costs go way beyond the subsidies, which tend to be hidden in taxes that people pay and regulations. These costs also come out more overtly in the form of higher utility rates. Even the subsidies are not enough to make wind power competitive with natural gas and coal. This is why, in North Carolina, for example, the state has imposed a mandatory renewable portfolio standard, which forces utilities, and therefore customers, to purchase wind generated electricity. This amounts to a huge corporate welfare giveaway to the wind power industry, which would barely exist without the subsidies and the coerced purchases of their output.
Now there is a new study out of Great Britain which looks at how much wind subsidies and the forced use of wind power in that country will cost electricity customers annually in their electric bills alone, and it’s not chump change. The additional costs in electric bills for the typical British household due to wind power is estimated to be about 300 pounds or the equivalent of about $580 a year at current exchange rates over the next 7 to 8 years. Professor Gordon Hughes of National University concludes the following:
…by 2020 domestic electricity bills will have risen by up to 58 per cent under plans for a huge increase in the number of onshore and offshore wind turbines…family electricity bills will rise to nearly 850 pounds a year from their current 528 pounds to pay for wind power technology.