Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Peak Solar" Hits Tennessee as Grant $$ Run Out

Nashville -- "While the state has put great emphasis on solar technology in recent years, bringing that technology to bear in Tennessee homes and businesses is proving a difficult task because of the high cost of installation, which is becoming increasingly hard for the state and its citizens to swallow.

Wednesday, the Tennessee Solar Institute announced it would stop processing applications for further grants as it exhausts about $10 million of stimulus funds encouraging businesses to invest in solar technology.

This news arrives as Tennessee Valley Authority officials continue to mull alternatives for the future of the Generation Partners program, which pays incentives to those who install solar systems at their homes or businesses. The program is funded by customers who voluntarily pay more money on their electric bills to support renewable energy.

With the tough economy pinching customers, the contributions haven’t covered the costs, and the solar incentives are costing TVA about $5 million a year."

MP: This story helps illustrate the reality that solar energy is produced by mixing sunlight with tax dollars. 

Update: "Peak solar" hits Oregon as well.  

"A solar boom was spawned by the Legislature's supersizing of Oregon's controversial Business Energy Tax Credit in 2007, under which the state covered 50 percent of the cost of renewable energy projects up to a maximum credit of $10 million.

But solar developers in Oregon say solar projects will no longer be feasible, now that lawmakers have put the state subsidies system on a starvation diet. With the state budget in free fall, the Legislature cleaved its commercial renewable energy subsidy pot by 99 percent for the current budget cycle, from a cap of $300 million in credits for 2009-2011 to $3 million in 2011-2013.
Without the tax credits, the economics of commercial solar projects don't work, for electricity buyers or investors who underwrite the projects."

HT: Wayne Sanman

21 Comments:

At 8/18/2011 10:41 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/18/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

It is true, solar power has to be subsidized.

Of course, the whole TVA was federally subsidized for generations, including the nuclear power component.

So now we have to draw the line at solar?

The thing solar is doing wrong is not getting itself put into the USDA, and claiming they "harvest" sunlight, and that they are really farmers.

The, ba-boom, subsidies to the moon, Alice, to the moon!

 
At 8/18/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The TVA, another brilliant Democrat project.

One such considered above criticism, sacred as motherhood, is TVA. This program started as a flood control project; the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by destructive floods. The Army Engineers set out to solve this problem. They said that it was possible that once in 500 years there could be a total capacity flood that would inundate some 600,000 acres. Well, the engineers fixed that. They made a permanent lake which inundated a million acres. This solved the problem of floods, but the annual interest on the TVA debt is five times as great as the annual flood damage they sought to correct. Of course, you will point out that TVA gets electric power from the impounded waters, and this is true, but today 85 percent of TVA's electricity is generated in coal burning steam plants. Now perhaps you'll charge that I'm overlooking the navigable waterway that was created, providing cheap barge traffic, but the bulk of the freight barged on that waterway is coal being shipped to the TVA steam plants, and the cost of maintaining that channel each year would pay for shipping all of the coal by rail, and there would be money left over. -- Ronald Reagan, "A Time for Choosing", He was later fired by General Electric in 1962 for challenging the Depression-era project.

You see, government isn't the problem, it's the solution.

Fired by GE? Aren't they the same people soaking up government largess, moving jobs overseas and running MSNBC, the propaganda arm of the left-wing of the Democrat Party?

 
At 8/18/2011 11:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The entire solar industry is on the edge of bankruptcy because solar only makes sense in certain unique situations that cannot generate sufficient demand to satisfy the massive capacity that has been built up. So far the installations were made possible by very large subsidies that are not sustainable when the economy is as weak as it is. I suspect that the 'investors' who were betting on government support are about to find out just how bad their judgment really was.

 
At 8/18/2011 11:52 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Where does major funding of large solar energy projects come from?

The Federal Financing Bank. Huh? Yes, a U.S. Treasury arm that guarantees off-budget financing obligations (est. 1973).

BTW, the Federal Financing Bank guarantees loans to Xavier U., Tougaloo College and Dillard Univeristy. Each of these is a private institution. The other educational institution is Southern U., but I'm not sure if it is "private".

 
At 8/18/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

President Barack Obama on Thursday toured a vehicle battery plant in Michigan, touting his administration’s focus on green technology and jobs, at a corporation where federal money authorized by the economic stimulus law that Obama signed at the beginning of his presidency had created "green" jobs at a cost of about $2 million in federal subsidies per job. -- CNSNews

Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. ... a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable. --SeattlePI

Barack Obama proclaimed solar panels to be the wave of the future. "Green energy" they call it. ... Straight from the White House website you find: "Evergreen Solar Was Hoping to Hire 90 to 100 People for Its Manufacturing Plant. "Evergreen Solar, the Marlborough-based maker of solar panels, also is hoping to hire 90 to 100 people at a manufacturing plant in Devens, said Gary Pollard, vice president of human resources. The plant, which opened last summer, is expected to employ more than 800 when it reaches full capacity." Note: That was just two years ago. ... Now we learn that Evergreen Solar is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. ... Evergreen Solar intends to use what assets it takes away from the bankruptcy. In China. --Beaufort Observer

 
At 8/18/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

... 440,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, although that number is expected to exceed one million by 2030 as the number of wind farms grows to meet increased demand. -- The New York Times

Wind power turbines have been blamed for the deaths of scores of protected golden eagles in California’s Bay Area, wildlife experts say. The death count of more than 60 birds a year during the last three decades worries field biologists because the turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area ... “It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,” biologist Doug Bell, manager of the East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife program, said. “We only have 60 pairs.” -- UPI

Dead birds? Protected species? This would be a big story if the birds in question were the victims of an oil spill. Of course, it's much worse than just dead birds:

As Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the ‘green’ companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.... Daily Mail

But, hey, windmills are the answer to our energy future, right?:

A new analysis of wind energy supplied to the UK National Grid in recent years has shown that wind farms produce significantly less electricity than had been thought, and that they cause more problems for the Grid than had been believed. -- UKRegister

Not to worry, all of these "green projects" will die in the same regulatory morass that's killing every other industry:

While the Obama administration has repeatedly pushed for the development of a renewable energy industry, its regulatory process is strangling clean energy projects before they even get off the ground, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Project No Project” initiative. The study, which was meant to quantify the economic impact of stalled energy projects due to regulatory burdens, found that there are more renewable energy projects currently caught up in red tape than projects in the fossil fuel industry. -- Daily Caller

 
At 8/18/2011 12:46 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The Wall Street Journal editorial page got its hands on the memo ... The memo, written by Larry Summers, Carol Browner, and Ron Klain, discuss how stimulus subsidies are going to projects that would have happened anyway, and in which government ends up bearing most of the risk (while, of course, the private companies get all the profit). We call this corporate welfare, and the stimulus was full of it. The case study in the memo is a GE wind farm in Oregon. ... One stimulus subsidy for wind was the "Investment Tax Credit." Unlike the "Production Tax Credit," the ITC enables GE to get its wind subsidy just for building a windmill -- even if it never spins. Also, the "tax credit" is payable up front, in cash from the Department of Energy. In other words, it's not really a tax credit, but it's corporate welfare -- build a windmill, and the taxpayers cut you a check. ... This corporate welfare for GE pokes yet another hole in Obama's consistent claim to be battling the special interests. GE spends more on lobbying than any other corporation. -- Washington Examiner

 
At 8/18/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

In keep with Che's theme: Broken Wind Turbine Blades Create Mountainous Waste Problem

Denmark has 6,000 wind turbines serving a population of 5.3 million and when the wind conditions are just right wind produces around 19 percent of its electricity. Yet despite huge financial investment no conventional power plant has yet been shut down while Danish electricity costs to consumers are the highest in Europe, according to research by energy researcher, Dr. Vic Mason....

 
At 8/18/2011 12:52 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

President Obama's green energy push is rapidly proving to be a crooked racket. It works like this: Revolving-door political hires rev up subsidy programs that enrich their former employers. Then they cash out themselves, pocketing taxpayer loot while turning out energy products that range from inefficient technologies to total failures. Faster than the turbine on a subsidized wind mill, the "clean-tech" revolving door spins out green bandits who get rich off the subsidies they helped craft.

Cathy Zoi, an Al Gore acolyte, has left her job as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy to go to work for a new fund that invests in green energy. It was started by Democratic donor George Soros.

Her former "special assistant," Peter Roehrig, joined DOE's renewable energy office from the U.S. Renewable Energy Group. The latter is a company founded by lobbyists who saw they could pocket taxpayer dollars by acting as cutouts for Chinese windmill barons trying to get their hands on stimulus money.

There are plenty of revolving-door green bandits, but the paths of Zoi and Roehrig - both of whom passed through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, which was responsible for $16 billion in stimulus money - exemplify how Obama's stimulus and green-energy initiatives open the door for corruption and patronage.

Washington Examiner

Just wondering, do Jeffery Immelt and George Soros think that they aren't paying enough in federal taxes?

 
At 8/18/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The "Green Jobs Revolution", it's all about the environment:

When a company called Ausra filed plans for a big solar power plant in California, it was deluged with demands from a union group that it study the effect on creatures like the short-nosed kangaroo rat and the ferruginous hawk.

By contrast, when a competitor, BrightSource Energy, filed plans for an even bigger solar plant that would affect the imperiled desert tortoise, the same union group, California Unions for Reliable Energy, raised no complaint. Instead, it urged regulators to approve the project as quickly as possible.

One big difference between the projects? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

As California moves to license dozens of huge solar power plants to meet the state’s renewable energy goals, some developers contend they are being pressured to sign agreements pledging to use union labor. If they refuse, they say, they can count on the union group to demand costly environmental studies and deliver hostile testimony at public hearings.

If they commit at the outset to use union labor, they say, the environmental objections never materialize.

The New York Times

 
At 8/18/2011 1:11 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Take the recent Cape Cod wind project as “Exhibit A.” ... A study by the Massachusetts based Beacon Hill Institute found that the proposed $1 billion dollars in subsidies from the project would contribute to a nearly 25% return on equity by investors – more than twice the average historical for return for all corporations. ... The staggering financial cost of building and generating the power and the aesthetic costs of putting up 130 windmills larger than the Statue of Liberty greatly outweigh any list of benefits even the most creative proponent can muster. The proposed wind farm is likely to produce power at a gross cost (pre subsidies) of 18.8 cents/kWh, in a state where the average cost of electricity generation was just under 7 cents/kWh in 2007. Any supposed benefit from fuel saved, to benefits to the environment, to enhanced energy security for the state, will never produce enough benefit to offset that 11.8 cent /kWh price increase. ... Project developers support moving forward because their own personal cost benefit analysis is subject to a very different equation than that of the general public and overall regional economy. For developers, the benefits are massive profits through government subsidies and the costs, nothing more than a market appropriate level of risk.

OpposingViews

Where's "Benji"? I miss his rants about rural "welfare".

 
At 8/18/2011 1:17 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I already ranted.

The solar guys should say they are "harvesting" sun power, set up large-scale collectors in rural-pink areas, and operate under USDA aegis.

They don't know the subsidy game.

I don't support solar or wind power, btw. I do like mini-nukes, although I say let the market call it.

Unlike the huge federal lard-train that went to rural Tennessee known as the TVA.

 
At 8/18/2011 1:34 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Steve Westly’s roles bankrolling green-energy-firms such as Tesla Motors (TSLA) and alternative energy-friendly politicians such as President Obama have drawn questions about whether the former eBay (EBAY) executive and Democratic state controller’s investments unduly benefitted from his political connections.

An investigative report this week by the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., and ABC News suggested that after Westly raised $500,000 for Obama’s presidential bid, cleantech firms backed by his Menlo Park venture capital firm clinched more than a half-billion dollars in federal aid.

…The news report noted that since Westly raised the money for Obama four companies in portfolio of the The Westly Group, his venture capital firm, received $510 million in loans, grants and stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Energy. And, the report added, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, on the White House’s recommendation, appointed Westly in August to the 12-member Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board.

I know what you're thinking, don't worry:

Both Westly and the White House denied any impropriety…

Mercury News

 
At 8/18/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

After two studies refuted President Barack Obama’s assertions regarding the success of Spain’s and Denmark’s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore’s company’s former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros’ Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama’s wind energy proposals.

The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute “inter-agency memoranda.” This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros’s Center for American Progress are — for legal purposes — extensions of the government.

This is a defense commonly employed against FOIA requests when seeking to withhold certain communications with, for example, paid consultants.

PajamasMedia

 
At 8/18/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Obama's federal government can weatherize your home for only $57,362 each

New Obama 'green jobs' to cost $135,295 each

 
At 8/18/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

One of Che's citations is the is the $20 million Seattle weatherization project. The results are in:

Three homes, out of a goal of 2,000, have been weatherized!

Fourteen administrators and trainers hired out a goal of 2000 low-income employees.

Professor Perry has brought us ample proof that federal funding is a bonanza for administrators. The outcomes of the programs are layers of highly paid bureaucrats mumbling and bumbling.

 
At 8/18/2011 1:40 PM, Blogger Tom said...

The socialists have run out of other people's money.

 
At 8/18/2011 2:54 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Che,


Here's two more:
Evergreen Solar

Solyndra Solar

And here's an awesome video of John Stewart, back when all this nonsense was getting started, mocking Obama's stupid weatherization projects.

 
At 8/19/2011 1:35 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Two words:

"President Downgrade".

 
At 8/20/2011 11:08 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Two words:

"President Downgrade"
"...

Hey OBH and Paul you might find this Walter Russell Mead posting interesting: Feeding The Masses On Unicorn Ribs

'Besides healing the planet and returning the rising seas to their natural beds, then-Senator Obama promised that his administration would create beautiful green jobs: well paid, stable, abundant jobs, unionized, with full benefits and making the earth healthier and the American people richer'...

 

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