Free Markets, Free People

Nevada’s epic “green energy” failure

Unfortunately these stories are all too common now:

As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to host his fifth annual  National Clean Energy Summit on Aug. 7, a Nevada Journal examination of Nevada’s renewable energy sector shows that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs.

That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.

So as the Senator from Nevada tries today to justify his profligacy in his home state at your expense via this sham “National Clean Energy Summit”, you can be assured of one thing – No one in government will be held accountable for this, at least not legally. 

The performance of many of these “sons of cronyism” is as dismal as the cost per job is outrageous.

Auditors for Nevada Geothermal Power, a federally subsidized green-energy firm in Nevada, are raising questions about whether that firm is going to fail.

As of last October, Nevada Geothermal Power had 22 employees in Nevada, and, according to the New York Times, had received $145 million in federal subsidies — composed of a loan guarantee of nearly $79 million for its Blue Mountain geothermal project and at least $66 million in grants to the company itself.

The Times called the company a “politically connected clean energy start-up that has relied heavily on an Obama administration loan guarantee,” and said it “… is now facing financial turmoil.”

Today, three quarters later, the latest company audit again questions the “company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

The firm’s survival, wrote auditors on March 31, will depend “on its available cash and its ability to continue to raise funds….”

And that’s not the only example:

The most recent “clean energy” company failure in Nevada occurred three weeks ago when Amonix, a North Las Vegas solar manufacturing plant that had received more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants, closed after only 14 months of operation.

Hailed upon its opening by Sen. Reid, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley and Gov. Brian Sandoval, the 214,000-square-foot Amonix facility had, at its height, employed some 700 individuals. In 2010, even President Barack Obama praised the Amonix plant, saying the “stimulus” tax credits it received had made an “extraordinary impact.”

Today, the company is bankrupt.

The result is something out of an Orwellian nightmare and the ultimate victim?  The people of Nevada:

In Nevada, consumer energy rates climb higher and higher. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Nevada now has the highest residential electricity rates in the Intermountain West region.

Moreover, so long as present government policies — such as the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — remain in place, rates will continue upward.

While Sen. Reid helped Salazar fast-track government-approved renewable projects in 2009, he also used his influence as Senate majority leader to delay and ultimately kill a coal power plant planned for White Pine County.

Coal-powered plants produce electricity at a much lower price than do renewable-powered plants, according to the EIA and NV Energy.

Currently, NV Energy pays 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for natural gas and coal-fueled power, 8 to 10 cents per kWh for geothermal energy and for wind energy and 11 to 13 cents per kWh for solar photovoltaic energy. Wind and solar photovoltaic energy also require backup power for “intermittency issues.”

The higher costs from renewable-energy production are passed on to Nevada ratepayers in the form of residential electricity rates that are 26 percent higher than those of other Intermountain West states and 7 percent higher than the national average, says the EIA.

Obviously cronyism isn’t just limited to Democrats.  It’s just their turn in the barrel because their cronyism has been such a spectacular disaster here lately.

What none of our elected officials who regularly indulge in cronyism seem to understand is that they call certain things economic principles or economic laws for a reason – they aren’t something you can ignore and expect, for some reason, to be successful in ignoring them.

In this case Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institute again states why what is again being attempted, and failing, is a lesson that the government seems never to learn:

These subsidies programs have failed for mundane but compelling reasons. No government has ever succeeded in trying to shape industrial policy with state subsidies, for the simple reason that it has neither the knowledge nor the incentives to pick which fields make sense to invest in or which firms in these fields have latched onto a viable technology.

No government should, of course, ban investments in solar and wind energy, but the prudent strategy is to let these investments be made by venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs who might actually know what they are doing. And currently, the smart money seems to be steering clear of renewable energy technologies.

And yet we continue to see these sorts of attempts by government to do something it is entirely unequipped (and unneeded) to do.

You know, act like it has better information than … markets.  It never has, it never will.  The results are just about as predictable as sunrise.

Failure.  In some cases epic failure.

In the case of Nevada, government intrusion, at the cost of $1.3 billion of your dollars, has created a whopping 288 jobs and managed to quadruple energy costs for the state’s residents.

And yes, I put that in the epic failure column – but then we’re talking Harry Reid here, so one should be used to epic failure when his name is mentioned.


Twitter: @McQandO

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21 Responses to Nevada’s epic “green energy” failure

    You all know the rest…

    • … managed to quadruple energy costs for the state’s residents
      This is the same outcome in Germany

      • It would be an interesting study…  Is there an inherent dis-economy to “green” (delusional) energy, and is there a constant factor for each type of stoooooooopid.

  • Is it true that Mitt Romney paid no taxes up to age 11 ?

    • “Is it true that Mitt Romney paid no taxes up to age 11 ?”
      I heard some discomforting rumors about Harry Reid though.
      And a reliable source indicates Obama went to Columbia as a foreign aid student.
      And Erb and Tad are twits – oh, wait, that’s NOT a rumor.

      • Obama went to Columbia as a foreign aid student
        Irony of ironies, Obama was born in Hawaii but claimed for years that he was from Kenya.  It seems that for Columbia, he used his Indonesian identity.  The guy created the whole “Birther” thing himself.

  • “at the cost of $1.3 billion of your dollars, has created a whopping 288 jobs and managed to quadruple energy costs for the state’s residents.”
    Oh, I’m sure some of those guys Erb and the others are always whinning about, you know, ‘the rich’, got benefit of that $1.3 billion.  And they were probably even the ‘correct’ rich too, you know, friends of the current administration.

  • Maybe someone can show up and tell us we need solar, and it’s practical, and we can go round again on energy density Solar vs NG or Coal till we’re blue in the mouth and they can be smug, clueless and environ-mental.

  • Meanwhile… in North Dakota…
    Do a compare and contrast.

  • Good grief!

  • “Auditors for Nevada Geothermal Power, a federally subsidized green-energy firm in Nevada..”

    A federally subsidized Canadian firm:
    “Based in Vancouver, BC,”

  • I think it’s important to pay special attention to your  words, “Obviously cronyism isn’t just limited to Democrats.  It’s just their turn in the barrel because their cronyism has been such a spectacular disaster here lately.”  Because typically conservative  blogs are often taken as a Left-wing/Right-wing complexion, it’s important to understand that cronyism is a bi-partisan affair.

    • Yes, because of course we’re all moron partisan supporters of any cronyism that Republicans might benefit from.  We’re not sincere in the idea there’s too much government, or excessive waste, or fraud, or corruption.   Nope, if it were Republicans screwing with the markets and picking winners and loser, we’d all be happy as clams and McQ would be writing what a sadly misunderstood successful failure Nevada Geothermal was for the environment and the world and our future….and we’d all be agreeing and lamenting and wishing hot instant fiery death on people who disagreed with us.
      There, does that make your day better?, When we pretend we’re sorta like mindless lefty drones, only on the other side?

    • Why are lefties always so friggin’ condescending? Perhaps it’s the Lake (Wobegon) effect; they think they are all above average. Somehow the left thinks they have a monopoly on the right (heh) side of the normal distribution of intelligence.