Penciling out ‘green’ energy: Politicians again tripped up by the math

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.

Nevada National Guard soldiers install solar modules at the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City. (Photo courtesy of the Nevada National Guard)

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.

7 comments on “Penciling out ‘green’ energy: Politicians again tripped up by the math

  1. Steve says:

    Natural gas is going to make Bloom Energy grow even faster.

    Its coming, mark my typo’s!

  2. Athos says:

    We’re too broke to allow stupid people to continue doing stupid things.

    Harry YOU CROOK Reid, are you listening?

  3. Rincon says:

    Government support of solar research is fine, but setting up full scale solar facilities at astronomical prices is not research, it’s politics.

  4. I’ve made that point, too, Rincon.

  5. […] I immediately tweeted, twittered, twitted or whatever this little item: “Reid mentions Nellis AFB solar panels while intro AF secretary, but fails to mention this little bit of math:….” […]

  6. […] for that Nellis solar power, Harry Reid once bragged about how the solar array was saving the Air Force $1 million in power bills. He neglected to note that the installation cost $100 million. The return on investment would take […]

  7. […] was saving taxpayers $1 million a year in power costs — without ever bothering to mention the panels cost $100 million in 2007 and would reach obsolescence in 25 years and need to be disposed […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s