Penciling Out ‘Green’ Energy: Politicians Still Can’t Figure Out the Math

Posted by on Apr 25th, 2012 and filed under Federal, Government, Headline, National, Nevada, Opinion, Politics, State & Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

(Thomas Mitchell/4TH ST8) Out of the mouths of rubes.

Nobody ever does the math when it comes to stories about “green” energy projects. I remember all the glowing stories about the huge array of solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base and how they would save the Air Force $1 million a year in power bills. President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid toured the facility and sang its praises. All the stories mentioned the savings per year and the total cost: $100 million.

It took a Review-Journal letter writer to reveal the transparency of the emperor’s new clothes. The return on investment will take 100 years for solar panels that have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

So, I was not at all surprised to read the quotes in Sean Whaley’s Nevada News Bureau story about state lawmakers ponying up $46,000 to cover cost overruns for solar power at National Guard facilities.

It seems the Nevada Office of Military has a 20-year contract with Sierra Solar to purchase power at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, while today NV Energy is selling power to residences at closer to 12 cents.

The quote from state Sen. Steven Horsford, a Las Vegas Democrat, was priceless and clueless. “It’s not that the technology or the approach on renewables is the problem, it’s the fact that someone negotiated a bad deal on behalf of this department,” he said. “We can’t pay for something at a higher rate per kilowatt hour than what we can get in the market from other competing resources.”

Sorry, senator, solar power costs more.

State Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp told the Interim Finance Committee the key to a successful renewable project is obtaining both federal tax credits and rebates from NV Energy. Whaley quoted him as saying, “I do think that there is still some really good opportunities for solar, however it really has to be dialed in in order for it to pencil out.”

By dialed in, he means propped up, subsidized, aided, abetted, supported and literally paid for by taxpayers and ratepayers in order to pencil out a profit for the “green” energy provider.

The lawmakers asked the attorney general to look into whether the 20-year contract is binding.

That is about as silly as a homeowner trying to renegotiate his mortgage after the price of his home plummets to half the amount of the mortgage. Oh yeah, lawmakers are trying to break those contracts too.

The price of natural gas, now less than $2 per million Btus, has kept power prices from climbing, which is what was expected in 2010 when the contract was signed.

Another “green” energy myth goes up in flames and the politicians never saw it coming. These are the same geniuses who have mandated that the state must get 25 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. It’s only your money. What do they care.

By the way, could someone please tell Harry that less than 1 percent of electricity comes from oil.

(Click here to see Harry and Barry boasting about solar panels at Nellis AFB)

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