Reid’s clean energy paean omits a number of facts

In a run-up to Monday’s National Clean Energy Summit 8.0 at the Mandalay Bay, Sen. Harry Reid has released a slick 20-page report boasting about Nevada’s clean energy “success” stories.

Reid claims that Nevada has 21,800 clean energy jobs as a result of $6 billion in “investments” in clean energy — more than a quarter of a million dollars per job, by the way. Those investments include millions in grants, loan guarantees and cheap federal public land, as well as a state law that mandates public utilities purchase wind, solar and geothermal power no matter what the cost.

As for those jobs, Reid’s report has a footnote showing the source for that figure comes from a January report by the Wind Energy Foundation, which has footnote linking to a Bureau of Labor Statistics website has stats for “Green Goods and Services” jobs in 2010. That Nevada jobs number is from 2011.

But the green jobs listed include: farming, ranching, mining, logging, electricity generation (no breakdown for renewables), water and sewage, construction, manufacturing, trade, publishing, financial services, garbage collecting, education, museums and zoos, auto repair, transportation and warehousing.

During a congressional committee hearing a congressman managed to get a BLS official to admit that green jobs include: Floor sweeper at a solar panel factory, professor teaching environmental studies, anyone who collects, reuses, remanufactures, recycles, or composts waste materials, an antique dealer, clerk at a bicycle repair shop, any bus driver, employee at a used record shop, railroad workers, and even oil lobbyists.


Reid specifically mentions the soon-to-be-operational Crescent Dunes thermal solar power plant near Tonopah, which got a $737 million federal loan guarantee. Reid neglected to mention the plant has a contract with NV Energy to sell its wholesale power at 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, though current residential retail power is 11.6 cents per kWh.

Reid singles out Spring Valley wind and mentions it has a capacity of 520 megawatts, without mentioning in has been producing at less than 20 percent of that capacity at a cost of nearly 10 cents per kWh.

Nor does he note that Silver State North Solar, which got a federal grant, is charging NV Energy 13.2 cents a kWh.

Editing of the report was a bit shoddy, too. At one point the report says the One Nevada transmission from Las Vegas to Ely “is estimated to become operational in 2013,”  but a couple of graphs later states the “project was energized in 2014.”

Obama will be the keynote speaker at Monday’s confab. Like Reid, he also tends to omit a few facts when he tries to foment fervor for green energy.

Crescent Dunes thermal solar power plant.

Crescent Dunes thermal solar power plant.


13 comments on “Reid’s clean energy paean omits a number of facts

  1. Patricia Larson says:

    It is so easy to hate … okay, STRONGLY dislike…politicians. Some are easier than others.

    Don’t know if you heard the Grossmans have lost their eldest daughter Ashley, 27 years old. Funeral is Tuesday at 10AM at the Hollywood and Stewart building. ~ p

  2. Rincon says: claims that, “The two parties inked a 20-year power purchase agreement, under which NV will buy power for 9.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the utility’s soon-to-be-completed One Nevada transmission line will bring the electricity to homes in the southern part of the state.” Is your assertion that NV Energy is paying 13.5 cents/kwh based on a different contract? You also stated that only 20% of the project’s capacity is being realized, but said nothing about the cause. Is it perhaps because a major transmission line from the project to Las Vegas has not been completed?

  3. Rincon says:

    The reason for the $250,000 per job is simple: The project was to bring a power facility to Nevada, not to give money to unemployed Nevadans. Since the turbines were manufactured in Iowa, one would expect a great many jobs were “created” for Iowans as well, but this goes unmentioned. Jobs for Nevadans is a side benefit only.

  4. Vernon Clayson says:

    Harry Reid is dictating his version of history to make it his legacy, never mind that if this green energy BS was actually profitable private enterprise would develop it. Maybe while he’s bloviating about energy he could tell us why gasoline is still around $3.00 a gallon when oil is selling for $40.00 a barrel. Never mind, he doesn’t have to buy gasoline himself, the taxpayers move his behind around.

  5. Spring Valley wind is 9.8 cents, but Crescent Dunes is 13.5 cents.

  6. Steve says:

    Isn’t this going to even things out a bit?

    “Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s NV Energy agreed to pay 3.87 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from a 100-megawatt project that First Solar Inc. is developing, according to a filing with regulators.
    That’s a bargain. Last year the utility was paying 13.77 cents a kilowatt-hour for renewable energy.”

    And, if this kind of thing continues, we should be seeing changes in rates that benefit the end users. Makes me wonder if that didn’t have some kind of impact on the deal they made with Switch.

    But the truth is, solar power (from this one plant, still in the building phase) is now able to provide the cheapest electricity in the USA. In my opinion, NV Energy is being nice by continuing any net metering at all.

  7. nyp says:

    Today would be an excellent day for people like Mr. Mitchell and “Barbara” to talk about their plan to have people invest their Social Security contributions in the stock market.

  8. That 3.87-cent contract has a 3 percent a year escalator clause, and that price is probably due to the fact a solar tax credit is due to change in December 2016, dropping from 30 percent to 10 percent.

  9. Steve says:

    Nyp is right! This could have been a great day to buy!
    I was hoping for a bigger drop, nothing I was watching went far enough, but the day isn’t over yet!
    And things are going to be in flux for the next few weeks, so it is time to be on watch!

  10. Steve says:

    Lowering the tax credit lowered the price?
    An escalator clause doesn’t mean the price will increase, only that it may. It could also force the price down.

  11. What I’d like to know is…how can First Solar contract to sell solar power to NV Energy for 3.87 cents per kwh…when it’s own website states that it costs them 7 to 15 cents per kwh to produce? (There must be some massive federal subsidies at work here)

  12. […] the sun’s heat so it can continue to generate power long after the sun sets. NV Energy is paying 13.5 cents per kWh for the privilege of purchasing that power from Crescent […]

  13. […] the various press accounts failed to note is that the Crescent Dunes contract with NV Energy negotiated in 2011 called for a beginning wholesale purchase price of 13.5 cents per […]

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