As I have said many times, I have nothing against solar energy. I am opposed to government medalling in the energy business.
We haven’t visited the Ivanpah solar thermal plant recently. So, how are they doing with our $2.2 billion dollar investment of our tax money? Recall that solar thermal plants do not use solar panels to directly convert sunshine to electricity. Instead, they use sunshine to boil water that then drives conventional turbines.
[Source: Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn’t Work, David Kreuzer]
Let’s see. Who owns the Ivanpah solar thermal plant? Do they really need our tax dollars to foot the bill for this approach? Ivanpah is owned by Google, NRG Energy, and Brightsource, who have a market cap in excess of $500 billion – that’s “billion” with a “B.” We guaranteed a $1.6 billion loan for people that have $500 billion in assets. But, they do not want to pay back the loans and are seeking over $500 million in grants.
We, as consumers, pay them between 4 – 5 times as much per megawatt as we pay a natural gas-fired power plant. And, let us not forget that the plant burns natural gas for 4.5 hours each morning to pre-hear the water in the turbines. But, if you really want to feel the sharp stick in our eye, we pay them two to three times as much per megawatt-hour as other solar power producers.
Let us not forget that the landscape around the Ivanpah facility is strewn with the carcasses of dead birds – including eagles. (Actually, the heat – nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit – from the mirrors literally vaporizes the poor birds, so I exaggerated about the landscape being strewn with the carcasses of dead birds.)
So, “water under the bridge,” say the environment fanatics. In spite of all this, Ivanpah has fallen woefully short of its production targets. The managers’ explanation for why production came up 32 percent below expected output is “the weather.” I thought the whole purpose of these “alternative” energy sources was to reduce “global warming.” Doesn’t “global warming” mean “more” sunshine and hotter days?
So, ask you, why do we pay them these ridiculous prices for electricity? Simple, answer, I. Ivanpah’s customers are the California power utilities. These utilities face renewable power mandates. These utilites planned on all those solar watt-hours to meet California’s already legislated mandates requiring that renewable power plants produce a large and rising fraction of California’s electricity.
Oops! We find the circular logic of the progressive/statist/altruist at work again. Our ideas are brilliant and must work. If they don’t work it is because we simply didn’t allocate enough money to make our idea work. Therefore, no matter how much money we allocated IT WASN’T ENOUGH! My friends, it is never enough. That is why we are $19 trillion in debt!