NV Energy should pay more for power from rooftop solar panels, not less

Backyard solar panel installation.

In a letter to the Las Vegas newspaper today a reader makes the argument that owners of rooftop solar panels are not selling power to NV Energy at retail rates, as the company argues, but are rather banking power for use at another time.

The letter was in reply to a Review-Journal editorial that swallowed the power company claim non-solar panel owners are subsidizing those who can afford to install solar panels.

“NV Energy is not buying my excess; rather, the relationship is more like a bank account. I deposit my excess energy with NV Energy when I have it, and withdraw it during the months I need it,” the letter writer argues.

In July, NV Energy submitted a proposal to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission that would cut the credit for power uploaded to the grid by solar panel owners from 11.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, the standard retail rate, to 5.5 cents per kWh, which is closer to what the company pays for wholesale power. The PUC staff has even suggested making the rates retroactive for existing solar panel owners.

The company argues that a customer who installs solar panels and becomes a so-called net metering customer cuts his power bill by up to $1,181 a year on average, while the utility avoids no more than $519 in purchased power costs.

What everyone seems to be overlooking is that solar panels create excess power that is available for the grid at peak-use times. Power is not publicly traded on the open market at the same price all day long. The higher the demand, the higher the price. Prices fluctuate on the half hour.

Solar panel owners should not be getting less in credits per kWh, but more. In summer months, industrial scale power customers typically pay four times as much for power delivered in the heat of day at peak-demand periods than overnight.

In fact, NV Energy has set up Time of Use (TOU) rate schedules that its customers may choose to opt into. That’s what smart meters are for. Under one payment schedule a residential customer in the summer would pay 36 cents a kWh during peak hours but only 6 cents during off-peak hours. Another schedule with different parameters would charge 50 cents a kWh during summer peak.

For those who are not home during summer peak hours and set their thermostats higher, such a schedule could save money.

Since even NV Energy concedes electricity is worth more at the very time solar panel owners are providing it, perhaps the PUC should require the company to pay more, not less. Makes perfect sense.

Time of Use residential rate schedules from NV Energy.

Time of Use residential rate schedules from NV Energy.


Do you believe in magic? Then you’ll believe green power saves money

Don’t you sometimes get the feeling all levels of government are little more than a shell game in which the pea is always in someone’s pocket. You lay down your bet, as the grifter lays down an incessant prattle, but you never pick up any winnings.

Only in this game, they won’t let you walk away, and they keep insisting you are winning.

Take the city of Las Vegas’ new deal with NV Energy in which the city claims it will be operating on 100 percent renewable energy at no additional cost. They announced the deal at a press conference recently at which there were more people doing the announcing than there were members of the press.

The mayor and other highly-paid city officials as well as the well-compensated head of NV Energy declared that a new three-year contract would free the city of ever using a single electron of fossil fuel-tainted power again. The city would be powered around-the-clock by a 100-megawatt solar photo-voltaic power plant farm near Boulder City, though the explanation for how they are going to keep the street lights on at night was shuffled away under a shell.

All this would save the planet and save the taxpayers money, the officials boasted as they shuffled to the podium.

You see that extra quarter of a million dollars a year in payments to NV Energy under this contract would be offset by savings due to energy efficiency and other green goblins such as retrofits. No one ever did say what the capital costs of those savings are or what the maintenance costs are or the return on investment over the life of the green goodies.

The city’s chief sustainability officer — yes, that is what the mayor called him, as well as the city’s green guru — bragged about getting $9 million to $10 million in rebates and millions more in grants for the city’s renewable energy scams, as though that money was picked from the magic money tree out back instead from the pockets of taxpayers and ratepayers. According to Transparent Nevada, the chief sustainability officer is paid more than a quarter of million dollars a year in pay and benefits to come up with these “savings.”

(It reminds me of all the times Harry Reid bragged about the solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base saving $1 million year, without ever mentioning the array cost $100 million and would last only 20 or 30 years, at most.)

The NV Energy guy bragged about the company paying less than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour for the solar power it would be selling to the city, without mentioning that the SunPower Corp. had to contract with a buyer before the federal investment tax credit for solar power drops from 30 percent to 10 percent. More pickings from the money tree.

They never did say what the city would be paying per kilowatt-hour, though the sustainability guy said the contract was for 43 million kWh annually and the newspaper said the contract was for $20 million a year, which works out to 46.5 cents a kWh, which would be four times the residential retail rate for power and makes no sense at all. So, I don’t what the city is paying and whether it is a good deal or not to go green.

It all seems like a bit of sleight of hand that we are supposed to believe is magic.

Boulder Solar project

Pay no attention to the fact that in order to save the planet, as they hope to do in Paris in a couple of days, it will cost the global economy $1 trillion a year while preventing a total temperature rise by 2100 of only 0.306 degrees Fahrenheit.



Newspaper column: In their own words, Nevada delegation addresses refugee issue

Syrian refugees land in Greece. (AP photo)

It is truly a disgusting state of affairs when the leaders of one political party toss aside legitimate concerns about national security and public safety in order to engage in political pandering, mockery and name-calling.

Within days of the bloodbath on the streets of Paris by a band of Islamofascists, President Obama was in the Philippines telling the press that Republicans, who were calling for stringent background checks on the 10,000 Syrian refugees he wants to resettle in the U.S., are “scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”

He seems more concerned about the widows and orphans of foreign lands than those who might become such here due to his lack of due diligence.

Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid picked up the blame-Republicans rant and spat it out on the floor of the Senate. “I have been disgusted in recent days to see some of my Republican colleagues shun the American tradition of displaying compassion to those in need; of sheltering those fleeing death, torture, rape, and oppression. And frankly, I have been disappointed by Republican fear-mongering and bigotry,” Reid said.

This past week the House passed a bill — dubbed American SAFE Act of 2015 — that would require the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to more closely screen those seeking to resettle here as refugees from Syria and Iraq to avoid admitting the Islamic State jihadists that ISIS has bragged it is embedding with refugees.

(This is the same DHS whose airport screeners failed to catch weapons and explosives 95 percent of the time during tests.)

Reid promised to filibuster the bill in the Senate and Obama promised to veto it if it gets by Reid.

The House vote was 289-137, with enough Democrats voting aye to overturn a veto. Nevada’s delegation voted along party lines. Republicans Joe Heck, Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei voting aye and Democrat Dina Titus voting no.

Amodei in particular did not take the tongue lashing from Obama lying down. “While it is not my preference to engage in political wordsmithing, frankly, given his comments over the past few days, it seems the President reserves greater disdain for his political opponents than he does those responsible for the deaths of thousands at home and abroad, the atrocities in Paris, beheadings, burnings, and the enslavement of women and minors,” the northern Nevada Republican answered. “To suggest that Members of Congress and other American citizens who express concern over a legitimate threat are somehow a recruiting tool for ISIS is disgusting and about the least Presidential thing I’ve seen out of an already disappointing, JV Administration.”

Hardy, who represents rural southern Nevada and northern Clark County, got right to the point of the Safe Act. “ISIS has openly bragged about their plans to use the refugee relocation process to gain unprecedented access to Western nations,” he said. “Intelligence reports show at least one of the attackers in Paris used a stolen Syrian passport to travel freely throughout the region. Why should we think the United States would be treated differently by those who seek to harm us?”

Rep. Heck, who is running for Reid’s Senate seat, declared, “Our first responsibility must be to protect Americans. The Islamic State has declared war on the west and settling thousands of new refugees who cannot be properly vetted only increases the chances of a Paris-style attack in the United States. The President may be satisfied with his strategy against ISIL, but it clearly is not working.”

His Democratic opponent, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, apparently realizing the futility of running on Reid’s foreigners-first stance, parted company with him, saying “we must ensure that our vetting process for accepting Syrian refugees is as thorough as possible.”

Titus toed the party line and called the Safe Act “politically motivated legislation that sends the wrong message to our allies, misdirects critical resources, and abandons our proud tradition of being a safe harbor for the most vulnerable in search of better lives.”

That is what your representatives in D.C. have to say, in their own words.

Public safety should not be a partisan issue, but the Democratic leadership shrugs off the lives of Americans as mere collateral damage as they carpet bomb the political landscape with their venomous rhetoric.

A version of this column appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, the Lincoln County Record and the Sparks Tribune — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

About 130 were killed and hundreds hospitalized in the Friday the 13th attack in Paris by Islamic State terrorists. (AFP photo)

Doesn’t Obama realize the irony of his comparison?

Mike Luckovich cartoon

Obama uses his weekly address today to compare Syrian refugees to the Pilgrims.

“And I’ve been touched by the generosity of the Americans who’ve written me letters and emails in recent weeks, offering to open their homes to refugees fleeing the brutality of ISIL. …” he says. “Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims — men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. What makes America America is that we offer that chance.”

What is ironic is that liberals of his ilk have for years slandered the Pilgrims as rapacious, land-stealing, disease-spreading invaders who murdered the peaceful natives and foisted on the survivors their religion of conquest and slavery.

Comparisons can be taken to their logical or illogical, as the case may be, conclusions, depending on your view of history.


The true meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is rich in traditions. The turkey. The dressing. The pumpkin pie. The family assembled in prayerful reverence in remembrance of the plight of the early settlers of this country — much of which is complete fiction.

The Plymouth colonists set out to live in an idealistic communal fashion. Everyone would share equally in the products of the colony. But after nearly starving to death in 1621 and 1622, Gov. William Bradford abandoned the social experiment and gave each family its own plot of land, and whatever was produced on it was the rightful property of the owner to consume or trade.

Gov. William Bradford

The result was a prosperous harvest in 1623 and feast of Thanksgiving.

Capitalism saved the colony.

The American Institute of Economic Research has posted online its own retelling of the Thanksgiving story, along with passages from Bradford’s recollections from “Of Plymouth Plantation,” translated into more modern spelling.

The AIER notes that the colony was attempting to live in the manner described in Plato’s Republic in which all would work and share goods in common, ridding themselves of selfishness and achieving higher social state. The problem was that hard work was not rewarded and laggardness and sloth went unpunished.

Bradford wrote:

“For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could man husbands brook it.”

Before the colony could die off from starvation, Bradford divvied up the land and introduced private property.

The governor wrote:

“And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end. … This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted then otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would a ledge weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

And the result was, again in Bradford’s words:

“By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their planting was well seen, for all had, one way or other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”

This is the real lesson of the first Thanksgiving: Capitalism always triumphs over communist utopian fantasies. Humans will work for their own self interest and, instead of it being greedy and rapacious, all benefit and prosper.

A version of this has been posted for several Thanksgivings.


Who ya gonna blame? Climate change! Of course

Poor pumpkin patch output? Blame climate change. (Bloomberg photo via Washington Post)

People used to blame things on gnomes, trolls and leprechauns, but no more. Anything that goes afoul of your wishes or expectations, you can blame climate change — your all-purpose go-to for attribution and accusation.

Why just today, the Las Vegas newspaper has a front page story heralding — without tongue anywhere near the cheek — that the poor Thanksgiving season pumpkin crop can be blamed on climate change. This is because of wet weather in the Midwest caused by, of course, climate change.

“Numerous studies have warned that the effects of climate change, including changes in temperature and precipitation and more frequent and intense severe weather events, droughts, fires, floods and other natural disasters, could have major impacts on agriculture all over the world,” the freelance writer for The Washington Post recounts faithfully from the dogma of climate change bible.

You see climate change causes droughts and rainfall.

That’s why the nut crops in California are poor due the drought caused by climate change.

Poor nut crops due to climate change caused drought.

Pay no attention that outmoded and now replaced Bible that spoke of seven years of lean followed by seven years of fat, nor the research that found levels of the Nile River recorded from AD 622 through 1922 that found a seven-year cycle of high and low river levels.

Wildfires in the West, blame it on climate change. Harry Reid does. “We have climate change. It’s here. You can’t deny it,” Reid told the Las Vegas newspaper. “Why do you think we are having all these fires?”

Flooding? Blame climate change, too.

Syrian civil war? Blame climate change. Prince Charles does. “He told Sky News that ‘one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria’ is a years-long drought which meant that ‘huge numbers of people’ had to leave. He said climate change had a ‘huge impact’ on conflict and extremism,” according to the New York Post.

National security threatened? It is climate change that causes that. “I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” Obama told graduates of the Coast Guard Academy. “And so we need to act, and we need to act now” — before we run out of pumpkins.

Low birth rate in the U.S.? Blame climate change. Too hot to cuddle. “The data showed that on average between 1931 through 2010, each hot day resulted in 1,165 fewer baby births across the United States some nine months later,” Reuters reported with an apparently straight face.

Got a poor report card? Pull out the all-purpose, all-occasion, go-to troll and blame climate change. Too hot to study. That’s the ticket.




Tell us more about that peaceful and tolerant religion, Hillary

Hillary Clinton said in New York recently, “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the tolerant Muslims of Saudi Arabia have sentenced to death a poet for the crime of apostasy.

You see, Ashraf Fayadh, 35, who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, was found guilty by a Saudi court of blasphemy and atheism because of poems he published in 2008 in another country. He has until mid-December to appeal.


Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death for blasphemy in a trial in Saudi Arabia in which he had no legal counsel. (Screen grab from YouTube via the Guardian)