Texas often places first on lists that rank states based on their business climate or the strength of the economy. But being #1 isn’t always such a good thing. According to a new report by the Institute for Energy Research, Texas is the nation’s largest recipient of taxpayer subsidies for wind electricity:
In a study released today assessing the distributional impacts of federal wind subsidies, analysts from the Institute for Energy Research found that 30 states and the District of Columbia are marking up net losses to fund the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and pour millions of their taxpayer dollars into the pockets of wind producers… Texas is the biggest net taker of federal wind subsidies nationwide, raking in $394.5 million more in wind subsidies than its share of the federal wind subsidy-related tax burden.
In fact, federal tax subsidies for wind power are so large, that Texas wind generators have begun to pay people to take their electricity, just so they can be eligible for the subsidy. Yet while this may be a good deal for wind generators, it poses a serious long term problem for Texas’ electrical grid. The PTC is currently set to expire at the end of this year, though there is talk of extending it yet again. Texas’ heavy dependence on federal subsidies from the PTC is contrary to the state’s fierce independence and commitment to free markets.