No Air Miles for Arkansas with Wind Subsidies

The National Renewable Energy Lab has estimated that wind could supply up to 58 percent of Arkansas’ energy needs, but so far the state has stayed far behind its blustery neighbors like Oklahoma and Texas, with actual wind production limited to a few scattered facilities.

A study from the Institute for Energy Research, released in December, quantified this, showing that taxpayers in 30 states and the District of Columbia paid more to the federal government in 2012 to support the wind production tax credit than wind producers in those states received.

The subsidy, originally enacted in 1992, gives producers a tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from qualifying renewable energy sources — currently 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour — for the next 10 years of operation.

It’s helped Arkansas attract some manufacturers, such as Nordex and LM Wind Power, but prospective wind farms have so far blown over The Natural State.

Of those 30 net losing states, 11 states and the District of Columbia had no wind production and so received zero subsidies, but they still paid into the tax credit by way of federal taxes related to the subsidy.

Arkansas was one of those net losing states, paying out $28.3 million in 2012.

To compare, the top 10 tax credit-taking states in 2012 received 72 percent of total subsidy transfers that year.

Those top 10 states were Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, California, Colorado, Oregon and North Dakota.

Five states were net payers of more than $100 million: California ($195 million), New York ($162 million), Florida ($138 million), New Jersey ($125 million) and Ohio ($103 million).

Of the top five net takers, two were adjacent to Arkansas: Oklahoma ($150 million) and Texas ($394 million).