Renewables advocates constantly imply that wind and solar are becoming “competitive” but they fail to include the cornucopia of subsidies, which add up to much more than the value of the electricity produced. When challenged they talk about the “social cost” of fossil fuels, as if fossil fuels provide no benefit to society, and imply that these social costs justify the high cost, human suffering, visual blight, habitat destruction, environmental degradation, loss of local control, etc., so that wind developers and investors can back their trucks up to the US Treasury and say “fill her up”.
A clue to the wind power scam is the appearance of "negative pricing" in the ISO-NE wholesale market. When the wind is blowing and there is little demand, wind developers actually bid less than $0, or in other words, pay the grid to take their electricity. In order to get paid for its RECs, worth about $40/MW, and take advantage of the $27/MW PTC it has to sell its electricity to someone. Assuming a percentage of its electrons are sold under a PPA at $80/MW (some PPAs are higher and some are lower), and the rest could be bid into the real time market, the real value of its electrons would be $40+$27+$80 = $147/MW, so the wind developer could bid negative -$100/MW and still make $47. See the chart below from the ISO-NE system monitor on 3/13/16.
Another good indicator of the negative impact of renewables on consumer prices is the rapid increase in ISO-NE capacity payments relative to energy payments. Capacity payments are made to generators for just being there, whether or not they are producing power. Baseload and other dispatchable generators that have the ability to ramp up and down with demand are essential for grid reliability. Wind and solar receive minimal capacity payments because they are not dispatchable and do not add to grid reliability. As more intermittent sources come online we are seeing that capacity payments are skyrocketing and may soon eclipse energy payments. Capacity payments have gone from $1 billion to $4 billion in the past 5 years, while demand has been stagnant and wholesale prices have fallen. In the same 5 years wind turbines have spread over 100 miles of Maine's scenic mountain ridges, with no end in sight - unless the legislature acts.