Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from California
Early construction is ongoing at the site near Rawlins, and needs to continue without pause if the company is to qualify for the federal subsidy. If it qualifies for the tax credit, it would last for up to 10 years, she said. Firms that began construction by last year keep the subsidy for a decade. The Power Company of Wyoming is not confident that the second phase of development, for an additional 500 turbines, will qualify for the tax credit.
Section 1603 created a system whereby certain renewable energy facility owners became entitled to cash grants. But owners of “specified energy property” like the plaintiffs became entitled to grants equal to 30% of “the basis of such property.” “And therein lies the dispute,” the court said in its opinion.
In spite of all this, Ivanpah has fallen woefully short of its production targets. The managers’ explanation for why production came up 32 percent below expected output was the weather. In addition to raising questions about planning for uncertainty, it is not all that clear how a nine percent drop in sunshine causes a 32 percent drop in production.
The wind farm investors, Wheeler wrote, “have no guarantee of keeping the amounts that Treasury paid them.” He noted that “a refund always was a possibility given a proper understanding of the issues.” As a result, an upcoming trial will determine who owes money to whom.
The government's Energy Information Administration detailed the findings earlier this month in a study that showed falling wind energy production in California, Oregon and Washington state — typically known as a bastion for clean energy development. The agency didn't say how the wind energy slump would affect the electric grid, but it did say it could hinder wind farms from taking advantage of a key federal tax subsidy and harm their economic viability. Clean energy companies rely on the subsidy to fund projects. ...Even small changes in wind speed can dramatically reduce electricity output from wind turbines.
The Energy Commission said its jobs number is based on dollars spent and doesn’t take the type of project into account. Johnson said the slow results show the oversight board should have gotten involved much earlier. “They should have been overseeing all stages of this project, not just waiting until the money’s gone and seeing where it went,” Johnson said.
The regressivity of California’s energy policies are the focus of our new report for the Manhattan Institute, which found that, in 2012, about 1 million California households were living in “energy poverty,” a term that applies to residents who spend 10 percent, or more, of their income on household energy costs, (excluding the costs of transportation-related costs, such as gasoline.)
The other major reason valuations have dropped, he said, is that some projects are not producing energy at the level they were expected to. "After they are operating for a few years you can see whether they are producing better or worse than expected." But, on the whole, production is less than predicted.
The Ivanpah solar generating plant is located in California about 50 miles from Las Vegas near the California-Nevada border. 173,000 mirrors are used to concentrate the sun on 3 boiler-towers where water is turned into steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. The mirrors track the sun and concentrate sunlight so that the intensity of light falling on the boiler-towers is about 500 times stronger than sunlight -- a death ray. If a person were to be illuminated by this death ray, 3rd degree burns would follow within a few seconds. Insects that wander into the kill zone are quickly vaporized. Birds are severely burned or killed depending on how long they are in the kill zone. An aerial view is below. Only one tower was operating when the photo was taken.
Though the Obama administration has recently renewed its commitment to approve more wind facilities on public lands as part of the Climate Action Plan it released this week, a new study indicates that wind development in California has far fewer benefits than it does elsewhere in the United States.
They'll reach that target with energy already under contract, creating a bust for developers that were hoping for continued growth, experts said at the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) regional summit. ..."For you as developers, the bad news of California being incredibly successful is that we really don't need a lot of contracts right now."
Frontline Strategies’ Mark Standriff on how green energy job creation has fared in California. Duration: 3 minutes 57 seconds
Energy Policy: Wind and sunlight are free, but that doesn't make them cheap. This is a lesson that states such as California will learn as they push hard to cut the fossil-fuel share of electric power. It's the taxes you can't see that may gouge you the most.
Experts differ on whether subsidies are the most sensible way to move toward cleaner energy and whether they are a good deal for taxpayers. But there is wide agreement that no state has used federal help more aggressively than California and that a sudden shift in direction by the White House would stymie the state's progress.
The power generated by the mega-plants will be among the most expensive renewable energy in the country. ...Stanford University economist Frank Wolak said the state's renewable energy strategy could boost electricity rates 10% to 20%, depending on a number of factors. Potentially, consumers' bills could go up by 50%. "It is easily in the billions of dollars," he said.
Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, a watchdog organization based in New Hampshire, argues the end of the tax credit need not be fatal. She sees new wind installations as more dependent on state renewable energy laws than the tax credit.
Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.
Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator.
The government support - which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates - largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG - even Google.
"As our investigation continues, we hope to hear directly from Solyndra's executives next week - the same executives who visited Capitol Hill as part of a PR campaign in July and misrepresented the company's financial situation," the lawmakers said.