Library filed under Energy Policy from Nevada
The Crescent Dunes failure shows again what happens when government invests in commercial ventures beyond its expertise for political purposes. Scarce resources are misallocated and taxpayers lose. We wish we could say the politicians have learned from failure, but the Biden Administration is coming to town promising much more of the same.
In 2011 the $1 billion project was to be the biggest solar plant of its kind, and it looked like the future of renewable power. Citigroup Inc. and other financiers invested $140 million with its developer, SolarReserve Inc. Steven Chu, the U.S. Department of Energy secretary at the time, offered the company government loan guarantees, and Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader and senior senator from Nevada, cleared the way for the company to build on public land. ...SolarReserve may have done its part, but today the company doesn’t rank among the winners. Instead, it’s mired in litigation and accusations of mismanagement at Crescent Dunes, where taxpayers remain on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees.
Opposition to a new “clean” energy project near Searchlight is coming from an unlikely source — environmentalists.
In vetoing the higher renewable standard, Sandoval said “Although the promise of AB206 is commendable, its adoption is premature in the face of evolving energy policy in Nevada." He cited concerns including potential impacts to ratepayers and other changes in Nevada energy laws, such as the Energy Choice Initiative.
According to a new study by Dr. Timothy J Considine for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, these “renewable portfolio standards” are having a serious impact on Nevada’s ability to rebuild and expand our economy. Because of the Silver State’s aggressive schedule for increasing the use of renewables, energy prices are expected to climb by nearly 15 percent in 2016.
Nevada’s current renewable portfolio standard requires the state to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. However, due to a glut of credits that top Nevada utility NV Energy has accumulated to meet the target, the law is no longer resulting in the construction of more renewable energy projects, according to analysis by the environmental group Western Resource Advocates.
State regulators dealt another blow to the solar industry today after they unanimously approved a ruling that would not allow about 17,000 Nevadans with rooftop solar, some of whom had adopted the technology as early as 1997, to be shielded from a recent commission decision to increase bills
Solar energy is no longer in its infancy, but the industry is refusing to grow up. See the tantrum the government-funded industry is throwing at Nevada’s rollback of its net-metering subsidy.
The utility says the credit — which amounts to around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour — is an unfair burden on nonsolar customers. The utility currently caps participation in the program to 3 percent of its peak generating demand, which is 7,500 megawatts (a Super Walmart consumes around three-quarters of a megawatt per year). The utility says ratepayers will pay $8 million for every percentage point the cap increases.
Legislatively mandated renewable portfolio rules are already costing ratepayers millions of dollars and thousands of jobs, according to a previous Beacon Hill study that NPRI commissioned and released. All these losses come because the State of Nevada has told its energy utility that it may no longer use energy sources that have served consumers for decades and must instead replace them with more socially acceptable technologies.
When the Legislature requires power companies to buy a certain percentage of their power from alternative producers - regardless of cost - they're already out of bounds. In addition to inviting graft and corruption this artificially drives up rates, crippling economic recovery, while sending false signals that alternatives to fossil fuels are a good investment.
Critics say Nevada's largest utility is undercutting the spirit of legislation designed to spur renewable energy development by purchasing power from out-of-state sources. ...the company has used wind power from Wyoming, geothermal from Utah and hydropower from Idaho dams to help it meet the state's requirement.
No doubt renewable energy technologies will continue to evolve and become more viable. But it would be helpful if conferences such as this one included a serious discussion of economic realities rather than simply devolving into a pep rally for increased public handouts to favored green producers all too eager to stick out their hands.
The politics of renewable energy headed the agenda in battleground Nevada on Tuesday, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opened a fifth annual green energy conference with the announcement that a 12-square-mile wind energy farm in rural White Pine County will begin producing electricity.
The head of Reno's renewable energy program says turbine makers misled the city about how much power its turbines would generate. ...He wants the Nevada PUC to make proof of electricity generation a rebate requirement.
"To increase utility rates on Nevadans struggling to emerge from a severe economic recession would result in the imposition of an unnecessary and unfair burden on our recovery," he wrote. The bill, critics said, could have put ratepayers on the hook for $1 billion in transmission lines.
In Utah, state officials are fielding various combinations of energy proposals, a list that includes solar and geothermal installations and an energy storage project ...Scores of projects - some speculative, others well-funded and a few quirky - have surfaced with energy companies eager to take advantage of loan guarantees and tax breaks being promoted by President Barack Obama.
A state committee is recommending that power companies spend about $3 billion on transmission lines to connect renewable energy sites in rural Nevada to existing lines.
Political leaders from both parties have often said Nevada is in a race with other states to attract renewable energy projects. Solar, wind and geothermal energy production represent the very future of Nevada's economy, they say. Despite the bold talk, state government has lagged behind surrounding states in applying for millions in federal stimulus dollars for renewable energy and energy conservation projects.