Wind Power Is Brought to Justice (Wall Street Journal)

Wind Power Is Brought to Justice

Duke Energy's guilty plea for killing protected birds is an ominous sign for renewable energy.

Nov. 28, 2013 4:46 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced late last week that a subsidiary of Duke EnergyDUK -0.10% has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company's wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was a long-overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.

As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.

While it is heartening to see the Obama administration finally following the law, Justice's decision might also indicate that the green bubble is about to burst.

Consider data from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry group. In 2012, when federal subsidies were flowing, wind companies installed a record 13,131 megawatts of new capacity—about 6,500 turbines. But installations have tanked this year amid uncertainty over the extension of the federal production tax credit, which offers companies a hefty 2.3 cent per kilowatt-hour subsidy. During the first three quarters of 2013, the domestic wind industry installed a mere 70.6 megawatts of new capacity. Wind-industry lobbyists are desperately trying to get the production tax credit extended again before it expires at the end of the year. The Duke case won't endear them to the public.

The renewable-energy craze may also lose its lustre as the public discovers how expensive "green jobs" are. Texas is the top wind-energy state in the nation. But in January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind-related job in the Lone Star State is costing taxpayers $1.75 million.

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Comment by Sherwin Start on December 29, 2013 at 11:29pm

WE MUST Kill The FEDERAL SUBSIDY-That Will Make Wind Poer So Expensive that NO one Will be Able to Afford it and that Will put an end to Wind Turbines!!

Comment by Martha Thacker on December 1, 2013 at 4:31pm are the best dot connector. Like the way you keep reminding too...because it is easy to forget that it was like the wild wild west in Maine during the boom days of wind farms. But fortunately , there are signatures of our legislators that passed the unconstitutional laws..maybe just maybe they will be held accountable and their bank accounts audited.City councilmen and selectmen too.... Like Debra Traske wants to happen in Lincoln going back to 2008. the missing 1.2 million..then Eaton Peabody, the go to guys for first wind are working on how  to raise taxes on everybody for the shortfall. Now there are some interesting dots to connect.

Comment by Martha Thacker on December 1, 2013 at 4:25pm

Odd how this come to Jesus moment is just coming out when the wind farm corporations are being held accountable/the banks and economy are tanked, so there is not as much money to spread around for good PR.

Comment by Penny Gray on December 1, 2013 at 1:59pm

This successful lawsuit may indicate that the administration is looking for a graceful way to dodge the renewal of the PTC and other wind subsidies which are growing every more burdensome to an already struggling economy.  Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for an energy scam founded by greed, sustained by public "greenwashing", and covered with the blood of eagles.

Comment by Whetstone_Willy on December 1, 2013 at 10:39am

Jim W. Mogg currently serves as non-executive Chairman of the Board of First Wind Holdings, Inc. and as a member of the board of directors, the compensation committee, and corporate governance committee at both Oneok, Inc. and Bill Barrett Corporation.

From 2004 -2006 he served as group Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Duke Energy Corporation and was a member of the six-person executive committee.  From 2000 – 2004, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Duke Energy Field Services.

Personal emails and other documents obtained by The Star since last year have exposed a viper's nest of cronyism and conflict of interest, leading to the inglorious exit of high-level players at both Duke and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

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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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

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