To the Editor:
Warren Buffett, third richest man in the world, builds wind farms. He said publicly the only reason to build wind farms is to get the federal tax credit which gives a legal loophole to not pay federal income tax so you and I can pay more.
SPower, a corporation we know very little about, is buying Prevailing Winds for the same reason ... to get federal tax credits. Now the governor is giving sPower $4.3 million of our money.
Do wind farms pay their fair share of taxes? No. The wind towers north of Avon cost about $3 million each. They pay $3,000 to county, $3,000 to school for a total of $6,000. If a non-ag business was built that cost $3 million the tax would be 15.304 mills (tax rate) times 3 million which would be $45,912. If the business was built in Avon, the tax would double to $92,715.
It should be noted wind farms don't support fire departments but expect them to risk their lives if there is a problem.
If the wind farm is built, Basin Electric will be forced to buy the power. They sell power to rural electric associations in the state.
When Beethoven Farm was built, NorthWestern was forced to buy the power. The end result is we are now paying for a $143 million wind farm. NorthWestern didn't need the power, but a 1978 law (PURPA) was used to force them to buy the power. SPower is using the same law to force Basin Electric to buy power from sPower if the project is built.
Farming is a business. When we buy a farm we don't get federal tax credits; we don't get money from the governor. We pay our fair share of taxes, we can't force anybody to buy our product. We also pay a tax to support our fire departments.
So why do wind farms get special treatment? Lobbyists convince legislators to give special breaks to Big Wind. In the state of Oklahoma wind companies employ more than 40 lobbyists and they have been phenomenally successful.
Ed Van Gerpen