Free Markets, Free People


More green energy “winning”

It just gets better and better:

President Obama will tout investments in “renewable” energy Wednesday at the local Copper Mountain Solar 1 plant, although the plant has only five full-time employees.

The plant, owned by San Diego-based energy company Sempra, was built in late 2010 at a cost of $141 million. Funding included $42 million in federal-government tax credits and $12 million in tax-rebate commitments from the state of Nevada.

Construction of the plant involved over 300 part-time jobs, but currently only five full-time employees operate the plant, a Sempra spokeswoman confirmed. That comes out to $10.8 million in tax-dollar subsidies per employee.

Result?

Nationally, solar energy is unlikely to help the president achieve his goal of lower energy costs. Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy policy director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, the free-market think tank that publishes Nevada Journal, noted in his Solutions 2013 report that, even according to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar-PV energy will cost three and a half times more than energy from traditional sources such as coal.

“President Obama’s visit to the Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City is the perfect illustration of why the president’s economic policies are such a failure," said Andy Matthews, president of NPRI. “The government has spent over $50 million to ‘create’ five permanent jobs and build a plant producing a product — expensive solar energy — that no one would purchase without a government mandate.

“That’s not a path to a vibrant economy; it’s the road to serfdom. This mindset — of government attempting to pick winners and losers in the economy through subsidies and regulation — is a major reason why the national unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent, Nevada’s unemployment rate is 12.7 percent and the national debt is over $15.5 trillion.”

But hey, here we are “winning” the Charlie Sheen way.

Again, does anyone wonder anymore why, despite their rhetoric, Obama and Secretary Chu are just fine with gas prices going up?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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30 Responses to More green energy “winning”

  • It isn’t JUST a road to serfdom…it is the road to a new dark age under the misanthropic Collective. Why do they HATE science? (Because it makes too many people too comfortable and productive.)

    • @Ragspierre Do they hate science? Or are they just totally clueless as to what science is and are easily led astray by so-called scientists making a name and career for themselves whilst debasing the totality of human knowledge? I mean, just look at the utter nonsense our local political “science” respondent can write about real physical science and you realize you don’t need people to “hate” science so much as to just be completely clueless so long as it makes them feel good.

      • @DocD “I mean, just look at the utter nonsense our local political “science” respondent can write about real physical science and you realize you don’t need people to “hate” science so much as to just be completely clueless so long as it makes them feel good.”
        Can we discuss using sheep’s bladders to prevent earthquakes now m’lord?

    • @Ragspierre On a serious note, they hate science because scientific outcomes aren’t ‘fair’. Science is nature, and nature doesn’t give a fig for fair and equal outcomes. You can’t mandate scientific outcomes and level the playing field in real science.
      ————————————————————————————————–
      So they go to great lengths to promote energy sources that aren’t efficient, but the sources ARE warm and fuzzy and feel good, provided you don’t delve to deeply into the processes needed to get to where the source can produce energy. They are willing to pretend wind and sun produce 100% of their power and there aren’t any non warm fuzzy systems on standby to pick up the slack when the sun doesn’t shine, the wind doesn’t blow, or the batteries run low. You mustn’t ask such questions, they have an inherent faith in ‘the system’ and even though they have merely built costly overpriced, often wasteful adjuncts to the system, they BELIEVE what they’ve built IS the system.

      • @looker Nature is one cruel bitch

        • @Neo_ OR “reality bites”…but usually only if you try to ignore it. Otherwise, it can make your world a WHOLE lot more “rational” and tractable.

    • Interesting discussion! I think they DO hate science in the sense that they have embraced delusional thinking, science insists on rational thought, and, hence, science is threatening to them. It also does not take them where they want to go, per looker. Like math and sound economics. And telling the truth.

      • @Ragspierre Ahh but that is what I mean. You have a group who are real haters, ideologues who as Looker says hate that rationality does not give them the outcomes they desire, or impinges on their beliefs, or just plain doesn’t care. Then you have politicians, like Obama, who don’t care one way or the other, so long as they get power and keep it… science is a tool just like anything else. Put those two groups together and you have the push for so-called “post-normal” science, which is basically a rejection of the scientific method in favor of achieving your other goals… i.e. the normal leftist method. But this can’t work unless you have yet a third group… sheep who think they are being rational and even think they enjoy what pop-science offers. This is where Captain Erb sits, for instance he loves his musings on how quantum mechanics makes everything “connected” man, nevermind it is based on beliefs that are wrong, totally wrong, about what the science actually says. The same with “climate science”, all the sheeple who cannot read a paper and declare it to be bunk, plain old peer-reviewed bunk. And so obviously you need a small fourth group… mediocre “scientists” ready to sell themselves to gain their tenure/career/limelight, whatever turns them on. So there are true few “haters”, just the first group and the last, the ideologues and the whores. But they rely on the dim-witted and the political enablers to get their way. Do you think for a moment that science can build the LHC to find the “God particle” but cannot put proper error bounds on the last few decades of temperature? Why is that? Because there is no political mileage in particle physics and the lefties haven’t figured out how to manipulate the clearly racist quark color charge to extract more rent from the sheep.

      • They may not hate science, but they hate the scientific method. They value consensus over skepticism, that is the very opposite of the way you do science.@Ragspierre

  • Real science is hard. It requires sustained effort (work), self discipline, and a certain level of intelligence. It is not accessible to everyone. That is why the education industry invented ‘American Studies’, etc.

  • Apparently, solar voltaic now accounts for 0.04% of the US energy needs.
    What makes matters worse is regulations that generate thos $17,000 ramps to a covered garbage bin. In the case of solar plants in the Mojave, they are required to relocate some of the local wild life. In one case, the desert tortoise required not only relocation, but a special fence to keep the desert tortoise from returning that costed millions of dollars.

    • @Neo_ Like I’ve said…Snail Darters are just bait if they get in the way of “green energy”. This plant cost between two and three times what gas generation would cost, and you can put a gas plant just about anywhere.

  • I think this is much more of an engineering issue then a science issue. Solar does work, it works great on satellites and calculators. The egineering aspect of running the grid on solar is where it all falls flat.

    My mother in law was pushing solar as “the” solution, at least until I told her there was no way to store all that electrical energy (there are solar thermal plants that can overcome this objection, I think one is actually working in Spain, another being built in TX, not sure how feasable they are). She had no clue, she thought there was a way to store it, or more likely never even considered the issue and assumed that it would work because Obama said so.

    So many of the rank and file Democrats just don’t think for themselves. They rely upon the expert knowledge of Obama et al. They have a tribal worldview, where Democrats are the good guys and Republicans are the bad guys, and Obama is qualified because he was the Democratic nominee in 2008, all the proof you need to know he’s smart, qualified and a good choice . . . .

    • @Don S Granted, but I think engineering aside that the cost to produce the power WHEN you can get at it is still considerably higher. I think we were the ones that introduced the word science into it, but I also don’t think we’re assuming that’s the pure theoretical kind. We’re being progressive, ‘science’ means whatever we want it to mean, and in this case, we want it to mean the whole issue of the currently available tech that IS Solar versus the currently available tech that IS fossil fuels or Nuclear.

    • @Don S It is also a matter of low energy density. Solar cells are not worthless. They are just pretty nearly worthless as a means of generating house current. They are totally worthless as a means of powering a prime-mover. And, as a matter of economics, solar energy cannot…remotely…compete with other forms of energy EXCEPT in a few niches.

    • @Don S But it works out the same – they aren’t interested in the difficulties imposed by the tech available, they think they can literally mandate (and have done so) more miles to the gallon, more wind for turbines and more power per collector cell regardless of the technology, and demand those mandates be met by year (x) without any regard for reality, or science.

  • Howze come we never hear of “peak rare earth”…??? That is an interesting lil’ thing to ponder, is it not? With a name like “rare earth”, the answer sort of writes itself, dunnit…? COULD you build enough solar panels to generate more than a few percent of US power needs? Hmmm….

    • I think Rare Earth was a band that peaked in the early ’70′s.

      You must be a youngster.

  • “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t pull any punches in his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget, as he declared that supporters of the budget — and by extension, Ryan himself — are “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” about the need for green energy and other programs slated for cuts.”
    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/wh-ryan-aggressively-and-deliberately-ignorant/439371

    • @looker A master projectionist. Like Collectivists generally.

      • @Ragspierre My God, who could even contemplate stopping funding for successful companies like Solyndra or First Solar! Who could imagine cutting funding to subsidize a raging success like the Chevy Volt! What the hell is Ryan thinking! He’s clearly clueless and ignorant! The future WILL be GREEN! We will pass laws to make it so! Even if we have to find ways to jack the price of gas up to $12.00 a gallon! You numbnutz WILL use green energy or you can sit in the dark! Bloody right wing cave men!

        • @looker I know… WHAT were we thinking??? Without help and direction from certified smart people, the market has NEVER responded in time when we ran out of…um… What HAVE we run out of…I mean of all the predictions…???

        • @Ragspierre I think we’re running out of Freedom and common sense, is there a government plan to deal with that?

        • @looker Do. NOT. Encourage. Them.

  • In the area of energy, some of the best reporting into the scientific issues is done by Popular Mechanics. Their analysis of the specific energy densities of various energy sources/storage-devices really convinced me that the science is very very cruel. Diesel fuel rules with gasoline right close behind. These electric car storage batteries are about 2 orders of magnitude (i.e. close to 1/100th) behind gas or diesel. When you add in the energy to tote that extra battery weight around, it’s a killer.

  • On-site PV is a good idea for filling in at peak times which often coincide with peak sunshine, eg air coolers running in the summer. I have a 5.2 kW system that keeps my house out of the top pricing tiers for electricity consumption. I calculated a 10.5 yr payback and in year 5, my calculations are still on target. It would be ludicrous to replace all of my consumption with PV even if I could figure out a way to store power. There is no way that I could generate enough power to store during the winter days when the sun doesn’t shine long enough or the skies are overcast. If I had three acres of panels and hundreds of lead-acid batteries, perhaps I could do it. Or I could electrolyze water to generate H, somehow store it, and then run it through a fuel cell. This all assumes (near-)infinite money… Power density is the key, something The Dear Golfer’s accolytes consider inconvenient.

  • http://freebeacon.com/obama-on-solyndra-loan-this-was-not-our-program/ – Deny Deny Deny. The Chinese! Congress! Boris and Natasha! Everybody EXCEPT the Obama administration. Half a freaking billion, they couldn’t make a go of it with half a billion dollars in backing – what does that tell you about this energy of the future?

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