Green Energy At Its Finest!

I am not against green energy. I am against government subsidies of green energy. If the free market is allowed to work in the alternative energy segment of the economy, we will get the best, most efficient, and least expensive form of alternative energy possible. Someone will make a huge profit from their invention, but I am fine with that. However, whenever the government gets involved, things get more expensive and less efficient.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted a story that is a glaring example of this. The story is about a solar roadway in Idaho.

The article quotes The Daily Caller:

An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

On March 29th, the solar road panels generated 0.26 kWh, or less electricity than a single plasma television consumes. On March 31st, the panels generated 1.06 kWh, enough to barely power a single microwave. The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.

I have no problem with Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways trying to develop a road that generates electricity. Go for it! However, I do have a problem with my tax dollars paying for their research. Let them create a prototype that investors would be interested in and go from there. That is the way the free market works. That is how people actually prosper.

 

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

One of the problems with the idea of ridding ourselves from fossil fuels is that we really haven’t perfected the alternatives. Our economy runs on fossil fuels, and until we develop a safe, clean, inexpensive, efficient, and reliable alternative, our economy will continue to depend on fossil fuel. In 2014, I posted a story explaining what happened when Spain attempted to switch over to green energy. As far as I know, the only country in the world that has successfully made the switch to green energy is Iceland. They have been able to generate large amounts of electricity because of the volcanoes the island sits on. Recently scientists have discovered that there is a serious down side to solar energy (other than the birds that have been fried while flying over solar panels).

On March 1st, The Daily Caller reported that the construction of solar panels generates Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

The article reports:

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is a key chemical agent used to manufacture photovoltaic cells for solar panels, suggesting government subsidies and tax credits for solar panels may be a driving factor behind the 1,057 percent in NF3 over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.

NF3 emissions have rapidly increased in Asia as well due to its rapidly growing solar panel market, and researchers think that many nations are under-reporting their NF3 emissions by roughly a factor of 4.5.

NF3 emissions are 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period.

NF3 is also used in the production of semiconductors and LCD flat screens.

The article also points out:

The 1,057 percent increase in US annual emissions of NF3 from 1990 to 2015 compares to an increase of 5.6 percent in carbon dioxide emissions, according to EPA data in a recently-published draft of a new report

There is, however, some good news. The study concluded that the more modern solar panels will emit less NF3 and will have a positive impact on the environment. This conclusion was reached by considering the amount of CO2 that would not be released when the solar panels were used. After some adjusting of the numbers, solar panels could be shown to have a positive impact on the environment. It might be a good idea to keep in mind at this point that a good statistician can make any group of numbers say anything he wants them to say.

When The Government Interferes With The Free Market, Bad Things Happen

Fox News is reporting today that the Ivanpah solar plant is applying for a federal grant to pay off its federal loan. Can I get another credit card to pay off my credit card?

The article reports:

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

But solar is the new green energy, so what is the problem?

The article explains:

But since then the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it’s supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised.

A NRG spokesman blamed the weather, saying the sun didn’t shine as often as years of studies predicted. However by the four-year mark, NRG has “every confidence that the plant will function as anticipated for the life of the facility,”according to the company.

And then there is the bird issue:

The problem is that birds see the mirrors as water. As they approach, the 800º F solar beams roast any bird that happens to fly by. A recent study released by the California Energy Commission conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity called Ivanpah a “mega-trap” that will kill up to 28,000 birds a year.

And then there is the crony capitalism issue:

The plants’ owner at the time, BrightSource Energy, said it will likely kill only a thousand birds a year. BrightSource came under scrutiny by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and investigators found the company received direct “guidance and support from the White House” for how it obtained its $1.6 billion in federal loans.

It’s time to unelect every member of Congress who is spending money on projects such as this. No wonder we are broke.

Whoops!

On Friday Hot Air reported that the auction for leases for the development of wind and solar farms in the western United States did not go as planned.

The article reports:

The nation’s first federally run auction for a chance to develop solar power projects on public lands was a bust.

No bidders showed up for the auction by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which was held Thursday in Lakewood.

“We did not have any bidders come to the sale and we did not receive any sealed bids on the sale,” BLM spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo said. …

“The BLM had received interest in developing the sites, that’s why we moved forward,” she said. “It’s hard to say why we didn’t have any bidders.” …

“We will evaluate today’s auction as we look at future opportunities to offer lands in Solar Energy Zones for development, both in Colorado and other Western states,” the statement said.

Maybe there were no bidders because at the present time the technology for both wind and solar has not proven to be economically profitable. The sad part of this is that at the same time the government is holding these auctions with no takers they are blocking oil leases on government land. The oil boom in the west is almost entirely on private land–the government is not allowing the leases on government land. So what we have is the government selling leases of questionable value on government land while blocking the leases that might actually help the economy and lower unemployment. In what universe does that make sense?

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Solar Energy In Germany

As Americans learn about the amount of money the Obama Administration is spending to subsidize solar energy, there is an interesting report posted at The Association of Mature American Citizens website

The article reports:

Germany invested  gargantuan amounts of money in green energy, doling out more than 130 billion in  subsidies to install solar systems and spends an additional 10 billion per year  subsidizing existing solar installations.

Yet after all of this capital  expenditure, Germany has little to show in terms of reducing green house gasses  and helping the country’s power needs. Despite massive investment, solar power  accounts for approximately three percent of Germany’s total energy… when the  sun shines!  To add insult to injury, Germans also pay the second highest  price for electricity in the developed world, due mainly to the fact that they  are heavily subsidizing green energy by adding the cost to everyone’s utility  bills.

The article explains that Germany will be phasing out subsidies for solar energy over the next five years.

The article further reports:

According to Der Spiegel, members of Chancellor Merkel’s staff are  describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s minister  of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a “threat  to the economy.”

We need to learn from Germany’s experience.

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