Fecal cliff budget deal: Modified rapture on wind
Traditionally, PTC [Production Stimulus Credit] money is available to a wind project only once it is up and running, putting electricity on the wires. That’s why so many wind projects raced to finish in 2012, when it looked like the PTC would expire. The Finance Committee bill changed the PTC so that the money would be available to any wind project that breaks ground in the calendar year. That allows projects to be built (and financed) over longer periods of time without worrying about losing the tax incentive. I’ve heard informal estimates that one year of this kind of PTC is worth two or three years of the conventional PTC.
Of course, if you deal in hydrocarbons, you get to suck on the public teat forever, and none of this "calendar year" stuff.
In the state of Maine, I have to say I'm equivocal on wind. In principle, yes, renewable energy is A Good Thing. However, after the landfill battles, I'm gradually coming to hold the view that NIMBY is not, in fact, a term of opprobium but a badge of honor: One more value that the elites have managed to invert. On the landfill, the abutters were the first to experience the stench, the spills, the lies about the volume of trash, and especially the nature of the out-of-state corporation running the landfill. The abutters were incentivized to become subject matter experts in the law and the externalities of the monstrosity in their back yards (as opposed to the weasel lawyers from Portland, who are incentivized only to be experts only in back scratching, lies, and obfuscation, or the operators themselves, who are experts only in gaming the system to extract as much money as possible from the state).
So on the one hand, we've got corporate Big Wind trying to take over mountaintops all over the state, and (gossip from the coffee shop via the NIMBIES) put up wind turbines that are timed to deteriorate when the tax advantages end, at which point the corporations will sell them to the municipalities for a dollar and leave the state, laughing all the way to the bank (an old story for Maine_). On the other hand, we've got the coast, where we could have lots and lots of locally owned and operated, but smaller, wind farms that would make the whole coastal area, which is very poor, sustainable, and keep the money in Maine, instead of sending it out of state like the landfill does.
NOTE And I know we've got a wind expert on site. All I can say is that's my picture of the State of Maine, and I'd welcome amelioration. We get the real bottom feeders up here because there is so little margin to be had on anything.