Editorial: Nevada should reject 50 percent renewable energy

Are Nevada voters and lawmakers falling for a scam?

In an article titled “Solar Power to Hit the Wall in Nevada” in “American Thinker” this past week, retired engineer Norman Rogers says we are.

In November, Nevada voters approved by nearly 60 percent a constitutional amendment that would require 50 percent of the electricity consumed in the state to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. This past legislative session lawmakers passed a law requiring the same thing and Gov. Steve Sisolak promptly signed it.

“Solar power and wind power are loved by the left, but have the serious problem of erratic delivery of power,” Rogers writes. “Wind dominates solar except in places with poor wind and good sunshine, such as Nevada, where I live. In states where a lot of solar has been installed, such as California and Nevada, solar is running into a wall that is related to the time delivery of solar power versus when the electrical grid’s need for power.”

Currently, according to Rogers, about 10 percent of Nevada’s electricity comes from solar, 10 percent from geothermal and the rest from natural gas and imports from other states.

Rogers explains that solar installations are approximately 70 percent subsidized by government. As a consequence, solar power that really costs $70 to $80 per megawatt-hour, can sell for as little as $25 to $30 per megawatt-hour due to the subsidies. If a battery system is added, the energy cost is likely to balloon to $80 or $90 per megawatt-hour. Natural gas power costs about $20 per megawatt-hour, according to Rogers.

Though the self-styled environmentalists demand more green energy many are balking at this project, saying it is too large, too close to wilderness and would damage wildlife and the environment.

A 2013 study by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, which was commissioned by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, estimated the current Nevada renewables requirement of 25 percent by 2025 could cost Nevada between 590 and 3,070 jobs by 2025. This is because power bills would increase from somewhere around 2 percent to nearly 11 percent. 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 — costs that would be passed on to consumers. Imagine what doubling the renewables would do.

Rogers also notes that solar power is an expensive way to reduce carbon dioxide, costing about $140 per metric ton. The Obama administration estimated the social cost of carbon to be only $50 per metric ton.

On his website NevadaSolarScam.com, Rogers writes, “Solar energy works fine for remote cabins and weather stations in the mountains. For supplying the massive needs of modern society, it is quite useless – a scam. Solar is expensive. It can’t be counted to perform when it is needed. Solar stops when a cloud goes in front of the sun. It goes to sleep every night. In sunbaked Las Vegas, demand for electricity peaks on summer evenings, just as solar is putting on its pajamas.”

Rogers concluded his “Thinker” article by writing, “The bottom line is that solar is not a good method of supplying electricity and it is not a good method for reducing CO2 emissions. It keeps going because the promoters constantly lie and spread propaganda. They often brag about cheap solar purchase contracts without mentioning the huge subsidies and the state mandates that force utilities to buy solar (and wind).”

When that constitutional amendment again appears on the ballot next year, Nevada voters should wise up and reject it, sending a message to lawmakers to repeal the 50 percent renewable requirement before it costs a lot of jobs and money.

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.