Wind Power: “Commercially Proven” In Denmark, But Still Needing Subsidies In U.S.?

Washington, D.C., March 7, 2002 — Our disappointment was so thick we could almost eat it.  In a recent interview, the NRDC Climate Center’s David Hawkins had explained Denmark’s termination of wind power subsidies by claiming that it was “commercially proven” there.  We figured if that was so, then NRDC must be opposed to continuation of wind subsidies here in the U.S.  We even issued a press release to that effect.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


Boy, wuz we wrong. In an irate letter complaining about CEI’s press release, the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that the group and Mr. Hawkins “strongly [emphasis added] support extension of tax credit incentives for wind power”, i.e. a “nice” way of saying subsidies.  In short, despite its alleged success abroad, NRDC believes that Americans still need to fork over millions of dollars for alternative energy technologies like windmills—taxpayer money that has not made the industry any more viable than when subsidies first began more than 20 years ago.


“I have to admit, I’m really confused,” said CEI Environmental Policy Analyst Paul Georgia.  “If subsidies for wind power are no longer needed, then why does the NRDC support further subsidies?  Perhaps they think subsidies are inherently good and should be protected.  If that’s the case then maybe they should change their name to the National Subsidy Defense Council.”

There’s also a dispute about whether wind power really is a commercial success in Denmark.  The minister of business and industry for Denmark, Bendt Bendtsen, told Reuters on January 25: “We are very concerned about the costs for society and for Denmark’s competitiveness if we continue to expand the use of green energy.”

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