Wingnut Wind Power Wankery is Not About Free Markets

Last week at the Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg reported on an emerging right wing effort to attack the wind energy sector. ALEC, Americans For Prosperity, and a newer outfit called the American Tradition Institute (really!) have been propagandizing against wind power since the Obama administration included tax incentives for it in their 2009 stimulus bill. They are now actively organizing local teapublican attack squads to defeat wind farm initiatives.

None of this is about “free markets,” either, as the above chart indicates. It is about the “traditional” coal, oil, and gas-driven profit margins of the industrial sponsors of these organizations. It is the same reason we never stop hearing about Solyndra, even with solar power becoming just as cheap as any other electricity source. Because God forbid America should host the energy export businesses of the 21st Century, right?

Consumerism is a teapublican American value, while “sustainable” has become a curse word. Arizona’s recent legislation outlawing “Agenda 21″ urban planning initiatives has to be understood in the dim light of Michele Bachmann’s attempt to overturn federal light bulb laws and John Boehner’s reintroduction of styrofoam to the Congressional cafeteria. All of these initiatives were couched in “values” language, making “renewable” the new gay marriage.

Again, none of this has anything to do with free markets. It’s about hippie-bashing:

Congress failed to renew wind power tax credits last week. The effects on the fast-growing wind energy industry are expected to be devastating, including major layoffs and delayed or cancelled projects.  The current income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of wind power will now expire at the end of 2012. Wind power proponents tried to get an extension added to the payroll tax cut bill but failed. They could try again but another attempt probably won’t happen until after the November elections (when perhaps they hope Congress will be friendlier to renewable energy).

Meanwhile, wind energy’s critics suffer no interruption in their socialism:

The oil-and-gas and coal-mining industries spent a combined $167 million on lobbying in 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and are also active in political giving.

The new bill, which sponsors say would end $113 billion in federal support for fossil fuels over a decade, stands almost no chance of passage.

God forbid America should invent and manufacture these new technologies while there is so much oil and coal left to burn, right? And I use the word god deliberately, because this kind of regressive politics is inherently faith-based. Its proselytizers profess a faith in unlimited supplies of cheap oil and coal to maintain the civilization of a now-golden memory. A newer, greener era of renewable sustainability is their hell.

And it makes sense, because this particular brand of politics has always been financed by the fossil fuel sector. Examples could fill an entire blog post, but two — the Koch brothers and Don Blankenship — can stand for the rest. An America with burgeoning renewable power industries actually is their hell.

Adding: Karoli wrote a great rundown on the astroturfing plan last week.

About Matt Osborne

Veteran blogging the culture wars from Alabama. Video journalist, mash-up artist, aspiring novelist, and metalhead. Expect bunnies, geekery, dark humor, and snarky empirical analysis to annoy idealists of all stripes. You can follow me on Twitter, but be ready 'cause it might get loud.
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  • Anonymous

    You can add this to the list of idiocies.

    –alopecia