Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Republicans against free-market wind power

Teh horror
They're getting scared:

Like many states, Wisconsin has a patchwork of differing local setback rules governing the distance wind developers need to leave between turbines and adjacent homes. To streamline the process, the Wisconsin legislature passed the 2009 Wind Siting Law instructing the Public Service Commission (PSC) to create one overarching state siting law for all wind turbines subject to local review. . . . 

In response, Republican representatives and ALEC members proposed their own legislation to make implementation of larger wind projects much more difficult and protracted.

In October 2011, State Senator Frank Lasee (R) introduced a bill (SB 263) that would declare a moratorium on construction of wind farms over 100 feet, saying larger turbines should not be allowed until the state PSC was in possession of a report that ensures turbines do not cause health problems.
That's not how the conventional wisdom would have it, is it? Supposedly the pro-business conservatives are fighting for profits and against regulations, while the environmentalists are tying up new energy projects in red tape.

Supposedly renewable energy is impractical and expensive, and all that's necessary to ensure its demise is not to subsidize it and not to charge fossil fuel burners the cost that their soot and sulfates and NO2 and CO2 impose on society. Privatized profits and socialized harms -- but still, non-intervention is supposed to be their guiding principle.

Wind is already price-competitive in places where the wind blows hard

Obviously these measures are no longer sufficient. Contrawise conservatives feel sufficiently threatened by the appeal of renewable energy on the open market to strive to strangle it with overregulation. I call that a good sign.


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