When the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 123, everyone was so thrilled about shutting down all those dirty coal-fired power plants and building millions of dollars worth of bright new clean energy solar and wind farms.
NV Energy basically wrote the bill and lobbied for it, saying power bills would only increase 4 percent more than they otherwise would over the next two decades — 36 percent higher instead of 32 percent higher. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid campaigned for it. It passed with the support of 53 of 63 lawmakers. The governor gladly signed it, even though the Public Utilities Commission and a handful of lawmakers warned that the law amounted to a blank check to the power company written by its ratepayers.
Perhaps, they should’ve asked German electricity customers how saving the planet from global warming by going “green” is working out for them.
According to a recent article in Der Spiegel, Germans soon will be paying about $120 a month for electricity, twice the price in 2000 and with two-thirds of the increase due to new government fees, surcharges and taxes.
And if the solar and wind policy continues in place, the story says, electricity in 2020 will cost more than 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, up 40 percent from today’s price. Nevada residential customers currently pay less than 12 cents per kWh, but with SB123 in place don’t expect that to last long.
And while the Germans are paying increasingly higher power bills, the British are worrying about having enough power to avoid blackouts — because the power company is closing down coal-fire power plants to meet European Union environmental laws.
Recent articles in the British media report that currently Britain has 13 coal plants, but nearly half are scheduled to close in two years and possibly all them in the next decade.
Alistair Buchanan, the chief executive of Ofgem, Britain’s industry regulator, is warning of an impending “near-crisis” of energy supply, calling the situation “horrendous.”
As if availability and pricing weren’t enough to fret about, in March, a golden eagle was killed at the Spring Valley Wind farm near Ely. According to Bureau of Land Management data, in addition to the eagle, nearly 100 rare bats have been killed at the wind farm as well as a rough-legged hawk and an American kestrel, since Oct. 1, 2012, and that’s with only a third of the 66 wind turbines being regularly monitored.
Going “green” costs.
Read the entire column at the Ely or Elko sites.