Editorial: Question 6 would cost money and provide no benefits

Current Nevada law requires 25 percent of the state’s electric power to come from renewable energy sources — such as solar, wind and geothermal — by 2025, but Question 6 on the November ballot asks voters to raise the requirement to 50 percent by 2030.

The initiative claims this will reduce the state’s reliance on fossil-fuel power plants and clean up the air.

But recent reports out of Europe note that carbon emission actually grew by 1.8 percent in 2017 despite a 25 percent increase in wind power and 6 percent growth in solar. Part of this is explained by the fact idling fossil fuel plants must be quickly brought online when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and, just like cars in traffic, idling engines produce more carbon emissions. Also, maintaining both power sources increases infrastructure costs. The cost of electricity in Europe has increased 23 percent in the past decade.

So, Europeans are paying more and getting no emission decrease.

Nevada is already getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewables as each year the requirement ratchets up toward the current 25 percent goal, while over the past five years the cost per kilowatt-hour of power across all sectors has increased 11 percent in Nevada, though nationally rates fell 1 percent, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, carbon emissions due to power generation have largely flatlined, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

Arizona also has on the ballot a proposal to increase renewables to 50 percent by 2030. Both measures are being bankrolled by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer.

Heartland Institute analyst James Taylor took a look at what impact the Arizona proposal would have on electricity bills there if the initiative passes. Taylor estimated that Arizona’s current 7 percent renewable power costs consumers $304 a year in higher rates and extrapolated that the 50 percent requirement could increase bills by more than $2,000 a year.

In 2013 Nevada Policy Research Institute commissioned Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University to analyze the impact of the current 25 percent renewable power portfolio (RPS) requirement. The report was titled “RPS: A Recipe for Economic Decline.”

Using a range of estimates from low to high, Beacon Hill estimated power bills could increase anywhere from less than 2 percent to nearly 11 percent. That high end estimate has been reached seven years early.

The study also said the 25 percent standard could cost Nevada between 590 and 3,070 jobs by 2025. Image the impact in doubling renewables in the next five years.

But those costs are outweighed when you calculate all the pollutants and greenhouse gases that won’t be poured into the air and cause the planet to overheat, some still argue.

“One could justify the higher electricity costs if the environmental benefits — in terms of reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other emissions — outweighed the costs,” Beacon Hill reports. “However, it is unclear that the use of renewable energy resources — especially wind and solar — significantly reduces GHG emissions. Due to their intermittency, wind and solar require significant conventional backup power sources that are cycled up and down to accommodate the variability in the production of wind and solar power. A 2010 study found that wind power actually increases pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, there appear to be few, if any, benefits to implementing RPS policies based on heavy uses of wind.”

Since Question 6 will likely cost Nevadans money and jobs while producing no discernible benefit, we encourage a no vote this November.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

BLM pix

 

Ratcheting up renewable energy requirement will cost jobs, not create them

When the global warming alarmists set a goal for the amount of renewable energy Nevada must produce and the state successfully achieves that goal, it is not a sign of success. It is a sure sign the goal — gosh darn it — just wasn’t high enough.

For eight straight years NV Energy has met the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that ratchets up each year until it reaches 25 percent for 2025. It is currently 20 percent.

A sign of success?

No. According to Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, that just means the goal was too low.

Solar panels

“NV Energy’s announcement demonstrates its commitment to expanding utility scale solar energy. Reaching their goal also makes clear that it’s time for Nevada to raise its Renewable Portfolio Standard to the next level, providing companies the certainty they need to invest, which will bring even more solar jobs to the state. Nevada residents will have their say on the ballot in November, and we strongly encourage them to vote to raise the state goal to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030,” Gallagher is quoted as saying in a press release.

To that end a group calling itself Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future is pushing a ballot initiative that would increase the RPS 50 percent by 2030. They have until the second week in June to collect 110,000 signatures to get it on the ballot in November.

Supporters talk about how many renewable energy jobs will be created.

But a study commissioned by Nevada Policy Research Institute and conducted by Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University found the current RPS is already costing Nevada jobs. Imagine what a doubling will do?

The report is titled RPS: A Recipe for Economic Decline. Using a range of estimates from low to high, Beacon Hill estimates the current RPS could cost Nevada between 590 and 3,070 jobs by 2025. This is because power bills would increase from less than 2 percent to nearly 11 percent due to the RPS.

While the residential power user’s bill might increase anywhere between $20 and $130 a year, an industrial ratepayer could expect power bills to increase from nearly $7,000 to more than $47,000 a year.

“One could justify the higher electricity costs if the environmental benefits — in terms of reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other emissions — outweighed the costs,” Beacon Hill reports. “However, it is unclear that the use of renewable energy resources — especially wind and solar — significantly reduces GHG emissions. Due to their intermittency, wind and solar require significant conventional backup power sources that are cycled up and down to accommodate the variability in the production of wind and solar power. A 2010 study found that wind power actually increases pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Thus, there appear to be few, if any, benefits to implementing RPS policies based on heavy uses of wind.”

But never let the facts get in the way of a global warming alarmist.

 

Harry still preaching the gospel of clean energy, while others speak heresies

Backyard solar panels

Backyard solar panels

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.

Harry Reid speaks at a renewable energy luncheon. (R-J photo)

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.