As per usual, Harry Reid’s opus on renewable energy projects in Nevada — “Playing to win in Clean Energy,” produced at your expense — leaves out more than it tells.
Harry touts SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project near Tonopah, which will use mirrors to reflect sunlight on a 528-foot tower to liquefy salt and drive a turbine, as creating 600 jobs during construction, but fails to mention that it should take no more than 50 workers to operate it — a bargain at $13.8 million each if you only calculate the $692 million in stimulus funds and take no account of the $737 million loan guarantee.
He mentions the grants and loan guarantees we taxpayers put up, but never mentions that the NV Energy ratepayers will be paying 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to buy power from the facility. The current residential rate is about 12 cents per kwh.
Harry then mentions the 225 construction jobs created by Spring Valley Wind project without noting there will be only 13 permanent jobs. He didn’t mention that the power from those windmills will cost 9.8 cents per kwh — at least double and possibly triple the cost for power from gas-fired turbines located closer to those who use it. Nor does he mention the number of golden eagles killed by wind turbines in California.
Ormat Geothermal’s several projects’ 330 construction jobs are mentioned along with the 65 permanent jobs, as well as $350 million loan guarantee and production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress extends it. He makes no mention of the financial problems Ormat has been having — “significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern” — or the fact he has been running interference for the company.
The 235-mile One Nevada Transmission line, needed to carry all this expensive renewable energy to market, was given $363 million of federal tax largesse, and Harry mentions the 400 construction jobs. He fails to mention the project is idle now because power line towers collapsed during a December wind storm.
Harry’s spiel includes:
“Nevada’s renewable electricity standard has proven to be one of the most effective tools for creating demand for clean energy generation. However, the challenge remains for ensuring demand for clean energy generation in future years.
“The enactment of a nation-wide renewable electricity standard would help sustain demand for Nevada’s renewable electricity resources. In fact, each of the clean developers surveyed for this report reported that enactment of a federal renewable electricity standard could expand demand for renewable energy.”
Demand? That is not demand. That is force feeding like a goose for foie gras.
And a survey of clean energy developers that says a renewables standard could increase demand is like a survey of bank robbers saying a ban on alarms and armed guards will improve the banking system.
Renewable projects are propped up on the front end and then supported for the life of the facilities by excessive power bills and tax breaks.
Harry concludes with this bit of balderdash:
“Nevada’s economic future will be much brighter if we can make the Silver State into the vibrant core of a Western and national clean energy market opportunity unlike anywhere in the world.”
He also called for extending, expanding and creating federal incentives, policies and programs that give billions in tax dollars to renewable energy producers. Today the Senate rejected extension of two of those programs — so-called 1603 grants and production tax credits. Sixty votes were needed to embed those giveaways in the transportation bill, but it failed 49-49.
Now here is the voice of reality from NPRI’s Geoffrey Lawrence:
“The Economist also reports that for every one renewable energy job created through government mandates and price supports in Spain, 2.2 jobs were destroyed elsewhere in the economy.
“The inevitable conclusion is that Nevada’s renewable portfolio tax is limiting — not promoting — job growth within the state. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada already has the highest electricity costs in the Intermountain West. The renewable portfolio tax only exacerbates this trend and renders Nevada a less attractive destination for investment.
“The renewable portfolio standard is an affront to liberty, consumer choice and the market process. It is a regressive tax that stifles job growth and economic recovery. It’s high time that lawmakers remove this onerous burden.”