Electricity Prices Soaring In Top Wind Power States

James Taylor Contributor for

Forbes

Electricity prices are soaring in states generating the most wind power, U.S. Energy Information Administration data show. Although U.S. electricity prices rose less than 3 percent from 2008-2013, the 10 states with the highest percentage of wind power generation experienced average electricity price increases of more than 20 percent.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the 10 states in which wind power accounts for the highest percentage of the state’s electricity generation are:

Iowa – 27%

South Dakota – 26

Kansas – 19

Idaho – 16

Minnesota – 16

North Dakota – 16

Oklahoma – 15

Colorado – 14

Oregon – 12

Wyoming – 8

The wind power industry claims switching from conventional power to wind power will save consumers money and spur the economy. However, data from the top 10 wind power states show just the opposite. From 2008-2013 electricity prices rose an average of 20.7 percent in the top 10 wind power states, which is seven-fold higher than the national electricity price increase of merely 2.8 percent.

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The 2008-2013 price increases in the top 10 wind power states were:

Iowa – 16%
South Dakota – 25

Kansas – 26

Idaho – 34

Minnesota – 22

North Dakota – 23

Oklahoma – -2

Colorado – 14

Oregon – 16

Wyoming – 33

With the sole exception of Oklahoma, every one of the top 10 wind power states saw its electricity prices rise at least 14 percent. For each of these states, electricity prices rose at least five times faster than the national average.

The electricity price increases in states producing the most wind power don’t tell the whole story. Federal and state taxpayer subsidies to wind power producers hide additional costs of wind power. The federal wind power Production Tax Credit (PTC), for example, gave wind power producers 2.3 cents for every kilowatt hour of wind power production last year. With U.S. retail electricity prices at 10.08 cents per kilowatt hour, the PTC allowed wind power producers to hide over 20 percent of wind power costs. This allowed the wind power industry to charge the American people still more money in backdoor tax bills, in addition to the higher retail electricity prices documented above.

Higher electricity prices in states producing the most wind power are taking a devastating toll on disposable incomes and the overall economy.

In Colorado, for example, electricity consumers spent $5.3 billion on electricity in 2013. Had Colorado electricity prices risen at merely the national average from 2008-2013, however, Colorado electricity consumers would have spent only $4.8 billion on electricity. That’s $500 million in excess electricity costs in 2013. If we divide that up among Colorado’s 2 million households, the extra electricity costs drained $250 from the average Colorado household in 2013.

In Minnesota, electricity consumers spent $6.4 billion on electricity in 2013. Had Minnesota electricity prices risen at merely the national average from 2008-2013, however, Minnesota electricity consumers would have spent only $5.4 billion on electricity. That’s $1 billion in excess electricity costs in 2013. If we divide that up among Minnesota’s 2.1 million households, the extra electricity costs drained $476 from the average Minnesota household in 2013.

In Kansas, electricity consumers spent $3.8 billion on electricity in 2013. Had Kansas electricity prices risen at merely the national average from 2008-2013, however, Kansas electricity consumers would have spent only $3.1 billion on electricity. That’s $700 million in excess electricity costs in 2013. If we divide that up among Kansas’ 1.1 million households, the extra electricity costs drained $636 from the average Kansas household in 2013.

The wind power industry’s fallback position is wind power benefits state economies, despite rapidly rising electricity costs, because the switch from conventional power to wind power generates jobs within the wind power industry. This argument, however, amounts to nothing more than a misleading head-fake. Shifting electricity production from conventional power to wind power does not create any net new jobs – it merely shifts jobs from one sector (conventional power) to another sector (wind power). Jobs created in the wind power industry come at the price of eliminating jobs in the conventional power industry.

Iberdrola, EverPower, NextEra, Apex, WindLab…they are all talking to your Representatives…Are You?