Tuesday, August 07, 2012

$1.3B Greendoggle in Sen. Reid's Nevada: $4.6 Million per Job, and 4X the Cost of Fossil Fuels

LAS VEGAS (NEVADA JOURNAL) — "As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to host his fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit on Aug. 7, a Nevada Journal examination of Nevada’s renewable energy sector shows that over $1.3 billion in federal taxpayer funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs. That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.

Despite this, Sen. Reid continues to hype Nevada as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” even though the renewable energy subsidized with federal taxpayer dollars and mandated under Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard costs consumers and NV Energy, Nevada’s publicly regulated utility company, up to four times as much as fossil fuels, such as natural gas.

Even with these government-granted advantages, the few clean-energy jobs in the state of Nevada are still precarious."

Read more here

42 Comments:

At 8/07/2012 8:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Yeah but how many Chinese gained employment with those extorted tax dollars?

 
At 8/07/2012 9:43 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

What does a job in a Nuclear Power Plant cost?

What did Fukushima cost? Three Mile Island?

What will Coal, and Nat Gas cost in ten years?

 
At 8/07/2012 9:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"What will Coal, and Nat Gas cost in ten years?"...

What will it cost you rufus if these sectors aren't allowed to expand to accomodate market forces?

BTW very interesting (and astute) qeustions regarding nuclear...

I wonder if there is any publically available data that might answer or at least give hint to the costs associated per employee at Fukushima for instance?

 
At 8/07/2012 10:31 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Interesting that you would compare nuclear disasters to Harry's Greendoggle.

 
At 8/07/2012 10:56 PM, Blogger FloridaSteve said...

Why the administration is doubling down on this is a mystery. It's terrible PR that Romney is beating them over the head with. I expect there is a good deal of pandering to the base in order to make up the $25 million per month campaign donation shortfall that they are experiencing. Desperate times I suppose.

 
At 8/07/2012 11:11 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

$1.3 billion? That is peanuts.

Everyday, the USA mandates and subsidizes 802,000 barrels of ethanol. GOP moonshine.

What is the cost to consumers of this Boondogglus Elephantus?

BTW, $1.3 billion compares to more than $1 trillion in the combined annual budgets of the Defense, VA, and Homeland Security federal agencies.

If you want to cut federal agency spending, I am all for it...but first you have to know where the huge pots of lard are.....

 
At 8/08/2012 12:13 AM, Blogger JakeW said...

There's no way the general public would support cutting VA spending. I think they would support cutting Defense and nonsense green energy projects a bit, though.

 
At 8/08/2012 2:07 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Jake W-

I would call for privatizing the VA, and giving veterans vouchers they could use anywhere and as they liked...

After that is done, cuts could be enacted, to bring a runaway program under control....check out VA spending in last 10 years....you will get a pit in your stomach...especially if you are a taxpayer....

 
At 8/08/2012 4:34 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Yeah, send the kids off to fight in your "Wars for Oil," and when they come home with two or three limbs missing give them a wooden crutch, and a copy of Atlas Shrugged. That'll fix'em up.

 
At 8/08/2012 4:55 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Unsubsidized Wholesale Ethanol is selling for $0.40/gal Less than 84 Octane RBOB.

CBOT - Ethanol

 
At 8/08/2012 5:11 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

In the linked article the author complains that the 50 MW Silver State North Solar Plant only employs 2 people.

50 MW - 2 people

I'd say that is highly efficient.

So, in the middle of Summer, when the water levels behind the Hoover Dam are low, TWO people can provide the electricity for 15,000 Homes.

I thought the whol idea Was to "do more with less." What am I missing?

 
At 8/08/2012 6:41 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

The problem we have with spending money on solar is that we already spend gobs of money on things like ethanol, crops subsidies, DOD, homeland security.

If you really want to close off subsidies to solar - why cherry-pick just solar - why not include everything?

Just do it across the board like with a sequester agreement, eh?

Here we have a trillion dollar DOD/national defense budget and a 50 billion proposed cut with "gut" and "hollow-out" our defense.

really?

solar is peanuts compared to what we spend on other stuff

cutting solar might make some feel good but it's totally ineffective with respect to he bigger picture.

makes me wonder sometimes if the budget is really what the "bad solar" narrative is really about.

CD promotes itself as an economics blog but how many times does it go after Democrats vs Republicans like in this thread?

Are there CD threads that go after big spending Republicans ?

 
At 8/08/2012 6:41 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/08/2012 7:27 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Ethanol is NOT subsidized. And, it still costs considerably less than petroleum.

What they need to do there is let us use More of it.

 
At 8/08/2012 7:31 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Subsidies for Wind, and Solar should be brought to an end - SLOWLY.

They should be wound down over a period of, say, 10 years - or, at least, no less than five.

 
At 8/08/2012 7:39 AM, Blogger The Drill SGT said...

Rufus II said...
In the linked article the author complains that the 50 MW Silver State North Solar Plant only employs 2 people.

50 MW - 2 people

I'd say that is highly efficient.


Rufus, I must be missing something because:
1. The article didnt say anything beyond "The Silver State North solar plant, for example, located near Primm, employs only two full-time employees,"

2. 50MW of traditional power source is serious stuff. However when talking about solar, they normally are talking about theoritical "capacity" on a great day at high noon, not "average" or "minimum". No 50MW solar plant ever produces 50MW for more that 12 hours. Then:

3. As the article does note: Wind and solar photovoltaic energy also require backup power for “intermittency issues.”

Translation, you need a gas or coal plant on warm standby to handle the base load when your energy botique sources fail to meet minimum base.

4. so I think when you add in the coal/gas plant you can up your jobs count from 2 to 22 :)

 
At 8/08/2012 7:46 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

No you don't. Peak electricity usage in the West/Southwest is 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. This is when Solar is (pardon the pun) hot.

What Solar actually does is reduce the need for these expensive "peaker" plants.

 
At 8/08/2012 7:53 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

You have to keep in mind that nat gas and coal are Finite fuel sources. They will get more expensive.

Wind, and Solar, on the other hand, are steadily getting cheaper.

With all due respect, a few billion spent, here, is a no-brainer.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:06 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Steven Landsburg at his blog has a great guest post on the diabolical nature of solar subsidies

 
At 8/08/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

You have to keep in mind that nat gas and coal are Finite fuel sources. They will get more expensive.

Wind, and Solar, on the other hand, are steadily getting cheaper.


But they are not the cheaper option now. Why abandon something that is cheap, efficient, and plentiful now on the grounds that sometime down the road, it no longer will be?

If solar and wind become cheaper and more efficient that fossil fuels, I will be leading the charge to switch over. But I see no reason to abandon oil and natural gas as long as they are relatively cheap and plentiful and provide a far greater bang for one's buck.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

thanks for the article but isn't his logic the same for any/all subsidies?

isn't his argument more about subsidies in general than solar in particular?

Would he use that same argument for other subsidized things?

 
At 8/08/2012 8:10 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

The World's largest coal user sees the writing on the wall, ups Solar energy target for 2015 by 40%.


Renewables to replace 478 Million Tonnes of Coal by then.

Crazy Green Commies

 
At 8/08/2012 8:15 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Jon, many of us think that we should leave "a little" coal, and nat gas for the kids, and grandkids - just in case, you know?

We will have to, eventually, make one hell of a large changeover. By getting started now, we can establish he industry, bring down costs, and develop best practices.

We were installing some very expensive solar just a couple of years ago. What if we had been forced into a "crash program" at that time?

 
At 8/08/2012 8:26 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

thanks for the article but isn't his logic the same for any/all subsidies?

isn't his argument more about subsidies in general than solar in particular?

Would he use that same argument for other subsidized things?


Yes. Solar was just what he chose to write about seeing as that's what he knows.

Looking back, I should have reworded my comment to include all subsidies, not just solar. Sorry for that.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:30 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

We will have to, eventually, make one hell of a large changeover.

I agree entirely.

By getting started now, we can establish he industry, bring down costs, and develop best practices.

That implies solar/wind is the end point, that it is the pinnacle (or of energy generation. Why should we stop there? What about cold fusion? What about perpetual motion? Why is solar/wind designated to get all the subsidies, to be crowned the energy of the future?

 
At 8/08/2012 8:38 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

What does a job in a Nuclear Power Plant cost?

Actually, each employee should generate a profit. Nuclear has a high cost when building because of all of the regulatory requirements that make the licensing process way too expensive.

What did Fukushima cost? Three Mile Island?

Fukashima was a very old plant where the regulator screwed up. There was no need for the backup power to be located in a vulnerable area. They screwed up and the reactors melted down. Luckily nobody was killed by the plant.

As for Three Mile Island, there was never any danger to the public. It was written off due to political pressures, not any rational reason.

And let us note that it is the government that keeps getting in the way. It chose uranium over thorium because it wanted to make atomic bombs and thorium was not useful for those purposes. This is why Bill Gates is developing reactors in China and not in the US. If government gets out of the way we let the market work we would have cheap modular units that can create scaleable output and generate very little waste. The cost should be comparable to coal.

What will Coal, and Nat Gas cost in ten years?

A lot. The EPA is busy shutting down coal plants and driving away investment from the sector. As for natural gas, the US is already scraping the bottom of the barrel as it finds that its conventional resources are not growing and it has to resort to production from uneconomic tight sands and tight shale as well as CBM. This does not mean that natural gas is in short supply. As I have argued, most OPEC nations should be swimming in gas and need to start drilling for it. They used to be able to ignore gas because it had little value and was stranded. Times have changed and they will need it to keep generating positive economic effects.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Why the administration is doubling down on this is a mystery.

Come on Steve. You have been around for a while and know that the motivation is money and power.

It's terrible PR that Romney is beating them over the head with.

But that is the problem. He isn't doing a very good job because he is timid and most voters are not as interested in energy subsidies as you think. But those voters who depend on government funding have a huge incentive to go with the Democrats.

I expect there is a good deal of pandering to the base in order to make up the $25 million per month campaign donation shortfall that they are experiencing. Desperate times I suppose.

I agree. They are pandering to the base and looking for contributions. That gives Obama a chance.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:42 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

You have to start somewhere, Jon.

And, in all candor, we're Not spending all that much on it.

We've spent, including both Gulf Wars, probably close to Two Trillion in the Persian Gulf to keep the oil flowing. Spending 1 or 2% of that amount to build a Renewable industry hardly seems unreasonabe.

 
At 8/08/2012 8:48 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Romney's anti-wind "PR" has completely destroyed any chances he had in Iowa, and could be the deciding factor in Ohio (thus, eliminating whatever chance he had of winning the Presidency.

(Grassley, and Branstadt are so mad about it that they elected not to show up at the fundraiser that, they themselves, were set to host for him.)

 
At 8/08/2012 9:12 AM, Blogger Scott Drum said...

A friend who lives in Nevada told me he heard that Senator Reid gets millions in kickbacks from all these energy projects. Let him prove that it's not true.

 
At 8/08/2012 9:28 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

That implies solar/wind is the end point, that it is the pinnacle (or of energy generation. Why should we stop there? What about cold fusion? What about perpetual motion? Why is solar/wind designated to get all the subsidies, to be crowned the energy of the future?

well not and end point but likely closer to actual practical use but I'm quite sure that if there was a proposal to INCLUDE other technologies that they'd all be pilloried as not the legitimate job of government.. right?

:-)

 
At 8/08/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Everyday, the USA mandates and subsidizes 802,000 barrels of ethanol. GOP moonshine.

What is the cost to consumers of this Boondogglus Elephantus?
"...

Well pseudo benny how many of your fellow parasites are we wasting extorted tax dollars on?

 
At 8/08/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

We've spent, including both Gulf Wars, probably close to Two Trillion in the Persian Gulf to keep the oil flowing. Spending 1 or 2% of that amount to build a Renewable industry hardly seems unreasonabe.

To keep the oil flowing? The way I remember it the Gulf War stopped a lot of oil from flowing. Stop making up stuff and stick with reality.

 
At 8/08/2012 9:40 AM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

Rufus II said...
You have to start somewhere, Jon.



You absolutely do not have to start somewhere if the starting point is arbitrarily picked by some politician(s). Just like history is very clear that price controls do not work, it is also very clear that politicians are terrible at deciding who the economic winners and losers should be.

Businesses also make bad decisions and lose billions but the difference is that it is their shareholders who lose money and their shareholders voluntarily risked their capital. The track record of the free market is clear that bad ideas fail and the good ones succeed.

When government makes those decisions and lose billions, the taxpayers lose money that they involuntarily gave to the government. The track record of the government is clear that bad ideas get more money thrown at them and good ideas are rarely supported.

So when it comes to the government deciding on economic winners and losers it is never the case that you have to start someplace.

 
At 8/08/2012 9:42 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"You have to keep in mind that nat gas and coal are Finite fuel sources"...

Oh boy! Now rufus is going all malthusian on us...

Gee rufus, do you think the planet is going to run out of coal or gas before you grow old and die?

Let John Tierney of the NYT explain it to you: Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll Take That Bet

 
At 8/08/2012 9:47 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

You have to start somewhere, Jon.

I agree. But why solar or wind? Why not, say, perpetual motion? Or cold fusion? Or tidal power?

What makes solar so special?

And, in all candor, we're Not spending all that much on it.

Comparatively, you are correct. Given the amount of money spent by our government, this is peanuts. But the question is: should we spend it at all?

well not and end point but likely closer to actual practical use but I'm quite sure that if there was a proposal to INCLUDE other technologies that they'd all be pilloried as not the legitimate job of government.. right?

:-)


Haha right you are Larry!

 
At 8/08/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Romney's anti-wind "PR" has completely destroyed any chances he had in Iowa, and could be the deciding factor in Ohio (thus, eliminating whatever chance he had of winning the Presidency"...

Well now rufus you're just flat out lying if this Real Clear Politics poll means anything at all...

Iowa: Romney vs. Obama

A spread of 1.3 points is hardly an indication of what you claim...

 
At 8/08/2012 11:51 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"What is the cost to consumers of this Boondogglus Elephantus?"

The cost is one hell of alot less than the $ of USDA administered food stamp program your boyfriend purposely and enormously expanded in the past four years. So let's summarize:

*Your boyfriend is a longtime advocate of ethanol.
*Your boyfriend added 15 million new freeloaders to the USDA food stamp program. 80% of the new farm bill will be spent on food stamps.
*Your boyfriend rules a disastrous, mega-billion dollar green jobs crony empire.

 
At 8/08/2012 12:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"well not and end point but likely closer to actual practical use but I'm quite sure that if there was a proposal to INCLUDE other technologies that they'd all be pilloried as not the legitimate job of government.. right?"

If you took the time to read the article by David Bergeron at the Master Resource blog, that Jon thoughtfully provided for you, you might understand the concern that subsidies crowd out investment in and development of new ideas, not only by misdirecting scarce resources, but by making wind and solar appear to be more promising than they really are.

Then if you read the operators manual you *might* understand the role of government in the US. At least it's theoretically possible.

I'm pretty sure that funneling taxpayer money to favored campaign contributors isn't in there anywhere.

 
At 8/08/2012 12:21 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"The cost is one hell of alot less than the $ of USDA administered food stamp program your boyfriend purposely and enormously expanded in the past four years"...

Well paul it seems that benji's boyfriend (and the RINOs also apparently) is doubling down on pandering to parasites...

Obama Pays Illegal Aliens to Come Here – With Your Money

From TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION dated July 2011: Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits
.

 
At 8/08/2012 12:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

just curious - any views/opinions on NASA and Curiosity?

 
At 8/08/2012 12:55 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Juandos,

Yep, our brilliant policy of importing the world's poverty has led to this.

 

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