Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paging Brad DeLong

This is tailor-made for Brad DeLong. As I noted yesterday, Gregg Easterbrook made this patently false assertion in a recent Slate article:

Wind-turbine application went nowhere in the 1970s and 1980s when federally subsidized; actual use has come since the 1990s, when the government bowed out and the private sector took over.
This is an outright lie, and in fact an article in this month's Atlantic Monthly—for which Easterbrook is a contributing editor—directly contradicts his assertion. The federal government hasn't "bowed out" of wind energy in any way, shape, or form. And this morning I read this NYT Magazine piece on wind energy, which states:
[T]he explosive growth in land-based wind farms owes more than a little to state and federal subsidies for the wind industry: state renewable energy credits; accelerated depreciation credits; and, perhaps most important, federal tax credits for equity investors who help wind developers finance and construct wind farms. ... Large wind farms simply can't be financed without the [federal production tax credit], which, in effect, decreases by as much as 40 percent the financing that developers need to build a project. "That's huge," says Bruno Mejean, managing director at Nord/LB New York, a German-based bank and an active wind-energy lender. "You cannot finance these projects without this 40 percent component. That's what makes wind power viable commercially."
And yet Easterbrook claims that wind energy has gained traction because "the government bowed out and the private sector took over." There's just no way around it: Gregg Easterbrook is a dishonest hack.



A long view.

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