Wind Power In Illinois

Here’s an article from today’s Tribune on wind power in Illinois. Wind power is too intermittent to be totally reliable in the absence of a better storage technology than we currently possess, but it may take strain off of the grid (especially if it’s a hot, late afternoon wind …). Wind power also receives government tax subsidies, thought to be necessary because wind (and solar) power are more costly to generate than standard fossil-fuel-generated power.

Expansion of wind power in the United States could slow in 2004 if a federal wind power tax credit is allowed to expire at the end of the year. In fact, the Crescent Ridge project likely will not move into construction without the renewal, according to Noe.

“The project won’t go forward without the tax credit,” Noe said. He said he believes, though, that the credit will be renewed as it has every few years since it was enacted. “It is a substantial part of financing.”

Here’s a thought: look at the states that have allowed some retail choice for their customers, and look at the fact that some customers are willing to pay more to buy green power from companies like Green Mountain Energy. If there are customers willing to pay more for a more costly, but cleaner, technology, then that gives you a signal of the value that customers place on cheap power vs. cleaner air.

Retail choice gives customers options, including green power, and while it may not lead to the wider proliferation of green power that many advocates would wish for, it enables those who care deeply about green power to put their money where their mouth is, without the force and coercion that renewable portfolio mandates use as a bludgeon, and without the economic distortions introduced by tax subsidies for solar and wind power.