As part of COP21, the US offered* a pledge to reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The emission reduction would be at a 14% more rapid rate during the 2015 - 2025 period, than during the 2005 - 2015 period, which was made easier, because it benefitted from the reduced burning of coal and increased burning of natural gas and generous subsidies that are scheduled to decrease in future years. See below table with 2025 targets based on EPA data from Page ES-10 of URL.


* Obama did not submit the COP21 agreement to the US Congress for ratification. Thus, COP21 is not a US treaty obligation. Many other nations also have not ratified COP21, including Russia, Turkey, etc.


In the US, the more rapid emission decrease would be accomplished by more rapidly displacing low-cost coal, and natural gas, and nuclear with much more costly, mostly wind and solar, which, because of their variability and intermittency, would need massive TWh-scale storage systems, and a nationwide HVDC overlay grid (a $400 billion item), and other grid investments, to ensure reliable electricity service remains available throughout the US, 24/7/365, year after year. See URLs.


Many countries joined COP21, such as India, Turkey, etc., because they were promised energy transition funding from the newly set-up, UN-managed, Green Climate Fund, which has a goal to distribute $100 billion in 2020, and more each year thereafter, i.e., huge funding transfers from developed countries to underdeveloped and developing countries.



2005, base year







Sources - Sinks




Decrease from 2005, %




Decrease from 2015, %




Decrease, %/y




More rapid CO2 decrease, %; 1.65/1.45





Various Subsidies for Wind and Solar: Because of the various subsidies, taxpayers and rate payers are forced to pay 1) higher monthly electricity bills, 2) higher prices for goods and services, and 2) taxes to finance various subsidies for wind, solar and other RE producers. Here is a partial list:


- The federal ITC, 30% of the qualified portion of the turnkey capital cost. The federal ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The state ITC, usually a percentage of the federal ITC. The state ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The federal production tax credit, PTC, of 2.4 c/kWh for the first 10 years of operation, a subsidy of 2.4/5 = 48% of the US average wholesale price. No wonder owners are crowing about underbidding traditional generating plants. For example, in areas with good winds, low construction costs and low operation and maintenance costs (Texas, Great Plains), if an owner’s cost is 7.3 c/kWh and he deducts 2.4 c/kWh as PTC, then his bid price could be 4.9 c/kWh, which is sufficient to get the contract, in most cases, and “competitive” with traditional plants. 

- The federal and state tax savings due to rapid depreciation write-offs in about 5 to 6 years, much more rapid than normal utility equipment write-off schedules of 10 to 20 years. Having tax savings earlier, instead of later, is financially more advantageous.

- The exemption of equipment purchases from the state sales tax and from the education property tax.

- Selling wind electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 9 - 10 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors (CFs), such as New England.

- Selling solar electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 13.5 - 14.5 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors, such as New England.

- Selling renewable energy credits, RECs, which lower the utility purchased RE energy cost by up to 50%.

- Loan guarantees by the federal and state government, which lower the interest rate of the funds borrowed from private entities, because the federal and state government assume the risk of the loans.



Wind ITC and Wind PTC decrease in 2017, 2018, 2019, and expire in 2020.

Solar ITC decreases in 2020, 2021, and expires in 2022.


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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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