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Archive for Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Editorial: Waning wind

September 25, 2012

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Two years ago, Siemens Energy, with much fanfare, opened a wind power plant in Hutchinson. Since that time, the German company manufactured nearly 950 of the giant 2.3-megawatt nacelles and hubs that sit atop wind-generating towers in Kansas and elsewhere.

According to the Hutchinson News, local and state entities provided Siemens more than $3.22 million in direct cash incentives, as well as free land, a new railroad spur and 10 years worth of tax breaks. It was a lot of money, but it seemed like a good investment in a growing Kansas industry.

Unfortunately, last week, Siemens announced that, because of a downturn in the wind industry triggered by uncertain federal energy policy and tax credits, it would eliminate 885 permanent and temporary contract jobs at its plants in the United States. That includes 256 workers at the Hutchinson plant, more than 60 percent of its workforce.

For a state and nation that is putting so much emphasis on job creation, this is not good news.

The Siemens news drew a mixed reaction from Kansas lawmakers. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran has been working for months to extend the federal production tax credit on wind energy that is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. He didn’t hesitate last week to point a finger at Washington, saying the unwillingness of the federal government “to craft a comprehensive domestic energy policy” had resulted in the wind industry’s decisions not to make further long-term investments. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts also has supported the extension of the tax credit.

On the other side of the issue were U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo, who favor ending all federal wind energy tax credits. Gov. Sam Brownback took a slightly more moderate approach, saying that he favored the tax credits being renewed but phased out over the next three to four years.

It’s hard to see why elected officials from Kansas wouldn’t support incentives to promote wind power. Kansas is ranked among the top states in the nation in terms of wind-power potential. The state obviously can’t depend exclusively on the wind for power generation, but the wind industry is a growing enterprise in Kansas both for the power it supplies and the jobs it provides.

The Siemens announcement is a huge blow for Hutchinson, but it also draws attention to a broader policy issue that is important to the development of alternative energy sources in Kansas and across the nation. The wind energy tax credit is important to Kansas and it deserves the support of our elected representatives.

Comments

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 6 months ago

Wind turbines are such a blight on the landscape.

Wind turbines are a blight on the landscape.

Wind turbines are a blight on the landscape. by Crazy_Larry

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LJ Whirled 1 year, 6 months ago

Obama does not understand business or the high cost of uncertainty. Major fail, Barry.

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autie 1 year, 6 months ago

The thing about wind...some say it doesn't blow all the time. But I can tell you it will always blow...after the coal is burned up and the gas is depleted the wind will still be blowing. I wonder what Hutch and Reno county would say about all that. I would imagine they enjoy the hundreds of jobs Siemens brought to them.

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headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

The moderator delete button has worked at least once today. To bad it doesn't work a few more times.

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Constitutional_Malfeasance 1 year, 6 months ago

After living in Kansas just a few months, there is no doubt there is plenty of wind here! I've never seen such persistent and strong winds. Is it always like this?

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MarcoPogo 1 year, 6 months ago

Maybe they could redirect a steady stream of the hot air that blows around the LJW boards. It's anything but intermittent.

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4getabouit 1 year, 6 months ago

You have to be either an idiot or a complete idiot to not understand the forces at work here. I suspect "drill baby drill" is the song blown in the wind.

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Kansasblowsmeaway 1 year, 6 months ago

He didn’t hesitate last week to point a finger at Washington, saying the unwillingness of the federal government “to craft a comprehensive domestic energy policy” had resulted in the wind industry’s decisions not to make further long-term investments.

This administration does not have one single comprehensive policy on anything....well except wealth confiscation....Obama has a mastery of this like no other.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 6 months ago

If it worked it would not need subsidies. Eliminate all subsidies across the board on everything.

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Armstrong 1 year, 6 months ago

Does Barry have any policies ?

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atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

Make work experiments with huge corporate welfare handouts cost a lot of money. Shovel ready is not always shovel ready. At least Solyndra cronies didn't take the money. Foreigners did.

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Les Blevins 1 year, 6 months ago

Just like all energy sources; wind energy has its pluses and minuses. Not the least among the minuses is wind's intermittency factor as it's only when the wind is blowing is there any payback for the big investment needed to pay for installation and transmission of the wind generated power. What makes more sense than subsidizing wind is to deploy technology that can use energy from dispatchable resources like municipal trash and agricultural biomass like ag byproducts and dedicated fuel crops to back up wind energy when the wind isn’t blowing and end subsidies for fossil fuels and wind energy.

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cowboy 1 year, 6 months ago

Take a wild guess who is against wind energy subsidies........ drum roll....... Koch's and Americans for Prosperity.

Mores jobs lost due to Brownbacks hysterical policies and the Koch's and AFP's interference.

Lets take back our government , throw every Kansas incumbent out every chance you get.

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grigori 1 year, 6 months ago

If only we could burn the wind.

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