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

 

Obama preaches his clean energy heresy to the choir

Obama and Reid (AP photo by John Locher)

When Obama took the stage to close out Harry Reid’s traveling planet salvation show Monday at Mandalay Bay, he accused the opponents of his sweeping clean energy plan to prevent climate change of spreading misinformation.

“We refuse to surrender the hope of a clean energy future to those who fear it and fight it, and sometimes provide misinformation about it,” he charged, according to a White House transcript.

But it was Obama who was spreading the misinformation, including his constant drumbeat about the immediate and devastating threat of climate change. There has been no significant increase in global temperatures in 20 years, despite what the climate change models all predicted.

Earlier in the day John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress, one of the sponsors of the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0, cited the claim that July was the hottest month on record. But satellite readings dispute this and the hundredths of a degree increase from land-based readings was well below the margin of error.

Obama also had the audacity on the same day his administration announced billions of dollars in new loan guarantees for renewable energy projects to claim renewables can compete in the free market against fossil fuel power generation.

“A lot of Americans are going solar and becoming more energy efficient not because they’re tree huggers — although trees, you know, are important — just want you to know — but because they’re cost-cutters.  They like saving money,” Obama said. ” And I’m all for a consumer saving money, because that means they can spend it on other stuff.  Solar isn’t just for the green crowd anymore — it’s for the green eyeshade crowd, too.”

This came days after NV Energy hit a cap on rooftop solar installations and stopped issuing permits until the PUC revamps the pricing structure for rooftop solar. The rooftop panel installers claim the proposal by NV Energy — to charge a connection fee and cut in half the per kilowatt-hour credit for uploading excess power to the grid — will put them out of business, because rooftop panel owners would be paying more for electricity than other power users.

Without tax breaks, tax credits, subsidies and high sell-back rates, solar does not yet pencil out.

Obama also lashed out at opponents he claimed were “trying to undermine competition in the marketplace, and choke off consumer choice, and threaten an industry that’s churning out new jobs at a fast pace.”

Study after study have shown that for every green energy job created by taxpayer subsidies and higher power cost at least two jobs in the rest of the private sector are lost.

Earlier this year Obama linked an increase in hurricanes to climate change, even though no major hurricane has hit the U.S. in nine years.

In introducing Obama, Reid also repeated the false hurricane narrative, “Protecting the earth’s climate is the greatest challenge of our time. Does everybody agree? (Applause) You see this climate change doesn’t affect a particular people or industry or region or country. Climate change affects everybody, every American, every human being on the face of the earth, no matter where they live. From record break droughts in the Southwest to coastal flooding in the East, we’re seeing the impacts of increasing temperatures and rising sea levels. Hurricanes are becoming more frequent and that’s an understatement. …”

He then claimed that rising temperatures are breeding ticks that have killed 30 percent of the moose population in the Northeast. The nexus is tenuous at best.

“Warm weather is preventing in some places bears from hibernating,” Reid said. FactCheck.org rated the hibernation claim false.

Obama and Reid never let the facts get in the way of their drive to dole out taxpayer money to their cronies and contributors in the green energy industry.

Obama even joined Reid in his attacks on the Koch brothers:

But while change this fast presents new opportunities, it is invariably going to create resistance from some fossil fuel interests who want to protect the old, outdated status quo.  And there are some legitimate issues around how does a new distributed system work, and folks have some costs and how do we deal with those things, and those are important for us to address.  But when you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding — that’s a problem.  That’s not the American way.  That’s not progress.  That’s not innovation.  That’s rent seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future.

I mean, think about this.  Ordinarily, these are groups that tout themselves as champions of the free market.  If you start talking to them about providing health care for folks who don’t have health insurance, they’re going crazy — “this is socialism, this is going to destroy America.”  But in this situation, they’re trying to undermine competition in the marketplace, and choke off consumer choice, and threaten an industry that’s churning out new jobs at a fast pace.  (Applause.)  And that has the potential to hurt a lot of communities — and set back America’s leadership in fighting climate change.  They’re even fighting to protect billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars in corporate welfare each year that’s going to fossil fuel companies.

In the same building where Reid held his clean energy show, a coalition of people countered with a group of speakers at what they called the Affordable Energy Summit 8.0 to point out the highly subsidized clear energy is prohibitively expensive and produces few environmental benefits.

“Forcing Americans to spend increasingly high amounts of money on energy deprives us of the means to purchase health care, education, better nutrition, and a wide array of goods and services that make life happier and healthier,” said Heartland Institute senior fellow for environment and energy policy James Taylor. “It also kills jobs throughout the entire economy when people have less money to spend on these desirable goods and services.”