It’s time to let wind subsidies become a thing of the past, said Phillip Moeller, a commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, speaking to a luncheon at “Reading the Tea Leaves: A Forum on the Future of America’s Installed Power Plants” hosted by Alstom, the Institute of Clean Air Companies and others.
“There are people who have been quoted saying in the future we’re not going to need any more baseload in this country. That, obviously, I think is wrong,” Moeller said.
The wind power industry in particular, he said, is sufficiently mature to no longer need federal subsidies, which he said have the deleterious effect of distorting energy markets in harmful ways. “The wind subsidies are wreaking havoc, particularly on the nuclear fleet,” Moeller said.
Wind energy is singularly harmful to nuclear power because wind blows strongest at night when electricity demand is lowest, bottoming out prices for baseload units, like nuclear plants, which are already under financial pressure due to rising costs associated with construction and regulatory compliance.
The 20-year-old subsidy to the wind power industry was scheduled to expire last year but given a one year extension through 2013 as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
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