Monday, June 23, 2008

Tilting at Windmills

Wind power promise a lot of hot air

It's really amazing how governments in Canada jump onto bandwagons without doing some simple research.

If they had researched the recent history of wind power in Denmark, they would have realized that the industry needs subsidies to survive, and once those subsidies go away, so does the industry.

By 2000, heavy subsidization meant Denmark had more than 6,000 working windmills and 55 per cent of all wind turbines in the world had been manufactured in Denmark.

When subsidies ended with market deregulation, the industry had come to a virtual standstill. Only five windmills were installed in Denmark that year, the lowest in 20 years. The wind turbine industry shrank and some companies were bought by European rivals.

The stage is set for a wind boondoggle here in BC as well. The wind power industry in Canada gets a federal government subsidy of $10 per megawatt hour. But B.C. consumers can expect to dig deep as well. The cost of electricity from wind power is about $71 per megawatt hour. That compares to about $48 for natural gas and $25 for electricity produced from B.C.'s heritage hydro assets.

Subsidies to wind power projects in B.C. is a wealth transfer from the middle class to the wealthy and will create a welfare-dependent industry in the province, just as they did in Denmark. Taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing industry, no matter how momentarily worthy the cause seems to be.

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