Nevada Sen. Harry Reid told a clean-energy luncheon crowd Friday that renewable energy has been a boon to the state’s economy and jobs.
He claimed the industry has invested $6 billion in the state and created 20,000 jobs, according to the Las Vegas newspaper.
Of course, he did not bother to note that historically for every renewable energy job created two to four jobs are destroyed because of the high cost of renewable power. Also, every dollar “invested” in renewable energy, usually through tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies, is a dollar not invested in some other industry.
He also took the time to lambaste the Review-Journal’s editorial board for writing “the most moronic editorials” arguing clean energy wasn’t a good investment and said it is upsetting that “the state’s largest newspaper has done everything it could to rain on the opportunities.”
Was it something I said?
Reid was one of the champions of the state requiring a certain percentage of its electricity come from renewables — 25 percent by 2015. He also pushed Senate Bill 123 in the previous Legislature that requires NV Energy to shut down its coal-fired power plants and build more expensive renewable power facilities.
A recently released study by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University for the Nevada Policy Research Institute found SB123 will destroy 2,630 jobs by 2020 and real disposable income will decline by $226 million per year due to increased electricity cost.
Meanwhile, in the Sun section delivered with the morning paper there is a three-day old story about how NV Energy is bristling over rooftop solar panel installations cutting into its bottom line due to net metering, under which customers return excess power to NV Energy at retail rather than wholesale rates per kWh.
The Sun also points out that there is a cap on how many Nevadans can participate in net metering and that cap is expected to be reached this year — “halting rooftop installations and blocking renewable energy from entering the grid.”
One of the companies installing those rooftop solar panels is SolarCity, which opened operations in Nevada after the state handed it a $1.2 million taxpayer subsidy. Will it close shop when the cap is hit?
As I pointed out, a couple of years ago, we are seeing the Bootleggers and Baptists Theory in practice. Moral opposites combine forces to achieve an objective that serves both well. For example, Baptists demanded alcohol prohibition to protect the poor drunkards from themselves, while the bootlegger wanted prohibition so they could stay in business and not face competition from legal sales, as well as charge higher prices.
Now, one group claims to want clean air to save the planet, while the other doesn’t want to compete in the free market for capital and with competitive electrical rates.
The bootleggers are having a falling out. NV Energy doesn’t mind building its own wind turbines and solar farms, because it gets a return on its equity of about 10 percent when it builds stuff. The company doesn’t like paying retail for subsidized/tax break driven rooftop solar panels.
Also, the renewable backers never calculate the cost associated with intermittent renewables such as wind turbines and solar panels, which must be backed up kWh per kWh by the capital and operating cost of maintaining a fossil fuel-fired generator for when the wind dies down or a cloud passes overhead.
Nor do people like Reid ever mention the pollutants and toxins released in the manufacturing of turbines and panels, nor the cost of tearing them down when they wear out and must be dumped in a landfill.
That would be moronic.