Does Wind ‘Work’ Without Subsidies?

President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the economics of wind energy, saying that wind “doesn’t work” without subsidies. Experts have differing assessments of that. 

In the U.S., subsidies have played an important role in building the wind industry, which has grown from supplying almost none of the nation’s electricity in 2000 to almost 7% in 2018. But when it comes to how reliant the industry is on subsidies today, analysts disagree.

By some metrics, wind power is already competitive with fossil fuels without extra financial help. But other measures don’t reach the same conclusion — and projections vary about what will happen to the industry when its biggest subsidy goes away.

The president’s latest comments on wind power subsidies came in a June 29 press conference in Japan during the Group of 20 summit. At the G20, the U.S. inserted language into the leaders’ declaration reiterating its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. 

The remaining 19 countries, in contrast, reaffirmed their commitment to the accord. Citing the U.S.’s unique position on the issue, a journalist asked the president why he thinks ignoring climate change would be beneficial to Americans.

Trump denied ignoring the issue, and defended his position by asserting, as he has before, that the U.S. has the “cleanest air” — as well as the cleanest air and water “we’ve ever had.”

As we’ve explained previously, the U.S. does not have the cleanest air in the world. Moreover, what’s important with respect to climate change are greenhouse gas emissions, which remain high.

After mentioning clean air and water, Trump then turned his attention to wind turbines.

Trump, June 29: It doesn’t always work with a windmill. When the wind goes off, the plant isn’t working. It doesn’t always work with solar, because solar is just not strong enough.

And a lot of them want to go to wind, which has caused a lot of problems. And, you

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from FactCheck.org

FactCheck.org3 min readTech
Viral Quote Falsely Attributed to McCarthy
Facebook posts erroneously attribute a quote to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. He didn't say that "there are no mass shootings in Japan because there are no video games there." The post Viral Quote Falsely Attributed to McCarthy appeared fir
FactCheck.org2 min readPolitics
Judge in Civil Epstein Case Died in March
Robert Sweet, a federal judge who was overseeing a civil case against Jeffrey Epstein, was not "killed," as a headline claims, nor did he die in August, as other recently published stories suggest. Sweet died of natural causes in March at age 96. The
FactCheck.org2 min readPolitics
U.S.-Japan Trade Deficit Not ‘Changing Rapidly’
In Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the trade deficit with Japan is "changing rapidly." In fact, the U.S. deficit in goods and services with Japan is up slightly under Trump. The post U.S.-Japan Trade Deficit Not ‘Changing Ra