Personal wind turbines cost the taxpayers a bundle in subsidies.

APOV: PC power not sustainable

Submitted to JLL By Mary Kay Barton

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 12:00 pm in The Daily News, Batavia, NY.

Tom Rivers’ recent report on the costs associated with installing home-use-size wind turbines was quite enlightening (“Partridge adds third Batavia windmill,” story, March 13: http://thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_26b38570-6ccc-11e1-b9a2-0019bb2963f4.html)

As cited in the article, “State and federal incentives are covering almost the entire $75,000 cost for the new windmill.” It was also reported that “grants” paid half of the cost for the first two ($55,000 each). That adds up to $130,000 that the rest of us paid to cover the cost of one residence’s electricity — and they will still have to rely on our reliable sources when the wind isn’t blowing.

Add one final part - taxpayer's dollars.
While such set-ups are certainly nice for those on the receiving end, let’s take a deeper look to see just how “sustainable” such a solution really is.

Reportedly, the cost of installing the unit would be covered in 12 years — information that presumably comes from the company selling the units. The article made no mention of maintenance costs, which are typically ongoing with these things due to all the moving parts. The average life of the units was not mentioned either — which, if the same as their larger counterparts, is only 13-15 years.

Since Americans’ average annual income was recently reported to be $32,400 per year (while those living off government entitlements is higher, at $32,700), the $130,000 that we (all ratepayers and taxpayers) paid to cover the cost for one residence to get the “politically-correct (PC) electricity du jour (of the day)” would be over four years salary for today’s average wage earner. (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/02/2012-index-of-dependence-on-government)

Let’s say 100 lucky residences across New York state are able to get the same deal, and have one to three home-use-size turbines installed. Those 100 residences would get their “PC electricity du jour” at a cost to the rest of us of  $7,500,000 to $22,500,000. Yes — it is our ratepayer and taxpayer dollars that cover the cost of these things.

New York state was already ranked as one of the worst states in the country to do business for many reasons, including our already-high electricity rates. (www.northnet.org/brvmug/NYSDirtyDozen.pdf)

A recent report by The Manhattan Institute cited that states (like New York) that have mandated the use of “renewables” (i.e., wind) have seen their electricity rates soar even higher — increasing from 30 percent to 50 percent. (www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/eper_10.pdf)

So while a few folks may be the lucky recipients of “PC electricity du juor” installed at their homes, the rest of us will assume these costs through increased utility bills, the economy worsening as businesses and industry avoid or leave New York state, and “average” wage earners who are already struggling to make ends meet see their situation become even more dire. And this is what they call “sustainable”?

Just as it is for the federal incentives offered to those who buy the “Volt,” the fact is, only those who are financially well off enough can afford to buy one — be it a Volt, or a turbine — while the rest of us pay for it.   Will it really be any surprise when today’s “average” wage earners simply decide it isn’t worth the struggle anymore, and join the ranks of those living on the government dole?

Sadly, I see this as the ulterior motive of an administration focused on achieving total government control.  Their means to this end is already working extremely well, and unfortunately, is being helped along by well-intended people who fail to consider long-term ramifications as they exploit these kinds of “grants” and incentivized programs. At some point, we — or our children — are going to have pay the fiddler.

I don’t know anyone who is opposed to “green” energy per se, as long as those who want it, pay for it themselves. Entitlement debt is destroying our great nation. These kinds of taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded give-away programs in the name of being “green” are not at all “sustainable” — especially if we want our children and grandchildren to live free and prosper.

Mary Kay Barton lives in Silver Lake, NY


Anonymous said...

Mary Kay Barton is an extremist. STAR is a subsidy. There are a number of farm subsidies.HEAP is a subsidy. Rural development grants for waterlines and other projects are subsidies. The more extreme you allow your arguments to be, the more extreme your sheep, I mean followers become. If there is a legal subsidy in place, so what?

Anonymous said...

Certainly, you can disagree with subsidies such as this. But at least this kind of aid goes directly to a person or a family and stays within our country. The problem with the industrial wind PCT, state benefits and PILOT at local level is that the proceeds go mostly to foreign corporations and foreign turbine manufacturers and the jobs produced cost millions per.
Another problem, of course, is the same people who I know that live off farm subsidies and subsidies such as this bitch like hell if a single mother or a desperate family receives welfare.
But you have to agree that the economics of these little turbines is skewed and they are nearing a dead end in technological improvements.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:18

Pointing out the economics and subsidy for personal wind turbines is certainly not being extremist. In fact, Marcy Kay held back a lot in her analysis. She failed to mention the monstrous subsidies that the foreign producers of the turbines get before the customer gets their grant. She also was most likely lowballing the amounts of such grants given across the state. A huge about of money has been poured into small companies who go around getting people interested in grants and even erecting met towers for exploratory small community projects that have never gotten off the ground. I believe one such project with a grant happen in the town this blog originates from.

Anonymous said...

651 is evidently anti-exploring all the options. I don't remember MKB attending any of the public meetings. And I am tired of being lectured to by you high-and-mighty types.

RWiley said...


Yes, a grant was obtained by a Cape citizen for the study of the feasibility of a community wind development for the purpose of generating electricity for the use by the town citizens. Many meetings were held and those meetings resulted in a very good public education about the viability of wind power.

The grant led to the erection of a met tower that provides information for public use.

This information is very important since the information collected from the Acciona and Bp met towers is not shared with the public. And, even if they did share, because of their poor record presenting other information such as their sound studies, many would not trust what they shared.

The information from the Cape met tower erected with the grant is being shared. I was told just last night that the public met tower information is being used by a college teacher and is being applied to a feasibility study by students.

Been there, done that. said...

I have no objections to the personal wind turbines. Except, that unless a family is very dedicated to their "hobby wind" they are a pain in the ass. I know. I have done it. Trying to match the grid, like the constant tending of a wood fire, wears you down. Twelve years and even with subsidy there is still a net loss. After it wore out even with a grant the replacement cost was double. The company that makes them reaps the reward of the grant since they way overcharge for their junk. Trying to do it with a wind turbine and thousands of dollars worth of connecting equipment gives one a fond appreciation for the folks at Rochester Gas and Electric.

Anonymous said...

Mary Kay an extremist?

On the other hand, anyone who would invest 50 thou for 25 thou of electricity might be called extremist, too.

Anonymous said...


Use common sense.

Personal wind turbines and farm wind mills have been around for hundreds of years. It is not a new technology and there is a vey good reason why you don't see one on every home. An ancient technology that can't keep up with the economics of others.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:18 " Mary Kay Barton is an extremist"
Are you Peter Gross's brother? Your arrogance towards any discussion that paints wind development in a bad light is reprehensible. Who are the real sheep here? you demean anyone who refuses to step in line with the wind power propaganda. It leaves me to seriously question your objectiveness. Maybe you're just and obnoxious elitist, used to stepping on people.Maybe you have large investments in industrial wind companies, and can see the writing on the wall.

Like it or not Mary Kay Barton makes sound arguments based on research and just some good old common sense. Maybe thats why you refuse to ackowledge her logic.Whats wrong with questioning the wisdom of continuing the subsidy/incentive program,especially if the target of the subsidy is not productive.

Get off your high horse!!

Anonymous said...

6:18 You must be a wind leaseholder or work for a wind developer. Why else would you be so afraid of Mary Kay Barton's "sheep" becoming so extremist?

Thank you Mary Kay for being a real leader? Baaaaa!

Anonymous said...

I bought an electric car. It is a dog. But I have a more functional one for reliability.
I wanted to do my part, was curious but soon realized that the tax benefit I go was really going to the manufacturer since I still paid more than I should have.
Live and Learn.

Anonymous said...

". STAR is a subsidy."

Warning...if you don't vote the way the CV dem chair wants he will write a letter and try to get some asshole democratic assessor friend of his to take it away. If that happens challenge it. Everyone has a right to a star and it is up to them to determine which home gets it not some asshole political friend of King or Wiley.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


If you read the comment closely you will se that it not only explored the government welfare approach to solutions, it aded more reasons for home turbines not to be heavily subsidized. I have no problem with someone doing personal wind on their dime even if it a proves waste of money.
But for me to cough up more welfare to support their hobby electricity, no thanks. At some point these welfare queens must be cut off. How about using that money to help our schools.

Anonymous said...

"And I am tired of being lectured to by you high-and-mighty types."

And this is why one would spend more money for a system than it produces?

That puts personal wind turbines in the same class as snowmobiles and four wheelers. Which is your choice. But, I don' ask you to subsidized my Polaris

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is always, "If I spend all this money, how long before I recoup my investment?" Frankly, a long time. Some companies will tell you six years, but 15 to 20 is more likely. How is that worth it? Recouping your expenses, while important, may not be the only criterion for deciding to move forward with a residential wind turbine.
Now, that is with no maintenance. Ironically in high wind areas where they produce more and ae working most of the time and, produce wasted power, the kicker is that the life is shortened dramatically.
But, what some of you call welfare, I call "found money".

Small Pleasures said...

The most satisfying part of owning a personal wind turbine is standing around the yard leaning on a pickup and bull shiting about what a great deed ya done. It is even more fun if you think you have pulled a fast on on the town and your neighbors and conned the little woman a bit into thinking we are saving lots of money.

Anonymous said...

Why not subsidize us for using less electricity? If we all convert from incandescent illumination to LEDs, at government expense (subsidy), we conserve the equivalent of what wind would produce with New York's renewable goals and we get to make jobs at someone's LED light factory. Notice I didn't suggest CFLs. LED lights are more efficient than CFSs and safer, too. How about GE opening an LED light factory in Schenectady instead of making wind turbine parts. Screw subsidizing part-time foreign energy producers; let's support full time, local conservation.

Anonymous said...

Funny that this woman is the new Voice of the Antis. Where were you all when Bert did all this research for the past 6 or 10 years? Were you deaf then?

Anonymous said...

anon 8:07 Were you deaf then?

You need to check your facts before you make an ass of yourself. Mary Kay Barton has been fighting industrial wind development for years at many levels-local and state. She has been committed to the battle for some time. Just because "you" haven't been aware of here efforts does not diminish her contribution.

I don't understand your complaint. do you not approve of her message or are you just being bitchy?

Anonymous said...

The Roxy's grant was a million five. Googling CV grants gets a lot of hits. My issue is where do you draw the line at who gets a grant. Why aren't solar grants a problem. Why does another out-of-towner get to tell us what to do and what not to do. What's the difference between a public and a private grant. Just because somebody doesn't like the technology?

Anonymous said...

vilyoHey Ricky aren't those turbines on Wolfe Island beautiful?