With Louisiana looking to trim a budget deficit (partly caused by Obama energy policies), the state legislature is considering a dramatic cutback in subsidies for rooftop solar installations -- subsidies that in one documented case amounted to $33,000 of the cost of a $40,000 system. The customer was quite happy, noting that after a 5-year amortization for his $7,000 investment, his energy is now free. But who is amortizing the $33,000 that taxpayers paid for? If it took 5 years to amortize $7,000, then it must take nearly 30 years to amortize the true cost of the solar installation -- longer than the lifespan of the solar units.
The climate change crusades are heating up, thanks to an irascible President Obama, who sneers at polls showing Americans no longer believe in the hobgoblin view of carbon dioxide spread by politicians who arrogated science as a tool to be manipulated rather than a guide to rational behavior. CFACT advisor Larry Bell notes that the EPA’s regulatory war on coal rampage will impose major utility cost hikes, with disproportionate burdens falling upon economically disadvantaged residents of colder northern states. But who will pay the political price for this skullduggery?
CFACT contributor Marita Noon points out that wind and solar power are free, but converting them to usable energy typically requires fossil fuel backup systems because neither wind nor solar is 24/7n reliable. Pointing out these facts -- and the higher energy costs for the poorest among us -- typically is met with ugly rhetoric, character assassination and such like, because wind and solar companies and the die-hard supporters of renewable energy cannot refute the facts.
Fueled by subsidies and mandates, the new rooftop solar-leasing market industry has engaged in “deceptive marketing strategies” to sucker unsuspecting homeowners into misleading zero-money-down teaser loan deals. Many customers are unaware they must include these units in their homeowners insurance policies, the units may stop working long before the 20- to 30-year lease expires (and they are liable for maintenance and replacement of defective parts), and the solar companies may place a lien on the entire property, not just the solar equipment, making it more difficult to transfer ownership via sale. There are numerous other pitfalls, including a serious fire hazard from defective units.
If the U.S. continues on its current path, electricity rates are going to skyrocket (as President Obama promised) and there will be massive power outages because of the shutdown of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. Energy poverty is America's future -- and we know this based on the German experience. There, because of the nation's high renewables requirements, electricity prices have already more than doubled -- and Germans are building new coal-fired power plants to address the intermittency of solar energy (which is often nonexistent in winter).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel just decided to lay out additional funds to push that nation to 40% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, an action in line with its Energiewende goals to move beyond fossil fuels. Except it cannot. Germany has done too much too quickly --
The giant Ivanpah solar array in California was financed with a $1.6 billion construction loan from the U.S. Treasury, but the plant has been so unproductive that its owners have successfully begged for loan repayment delays and now want a $539 million federal grant so they can make their first -- already late -- three payments on the initial loan. But prospects for long-term viability of Ivanpah remain poor, given that the plant's poor performance and the fact that it is killing birds at an alarming rate. As Reason's Julian Morris, says, “They’re already paying less than the market rate. Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse.”
Back in 2007, states passed renewable portfolio standards at the same time the George W. Bush Administration was patting itself on the back for enacting the renewable fuels standard -- aka the ethanol mandate. Seven years later, most people see the flaws in this energy strategy, but the EPA continues unabated in its quest to push more ethanol into America's automobiles.
Ms. McCarthy should base environmental policy on sound science – and check her phony justice rhetoric at the door.
Solar energy has five fatal flaws for supplying 24/7 grid power.
With key players like former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and former Vice President Al Gore on board, no wonder Spanish-based Abengoa Solar was able to garner $2.8 billion in federal loan guarantees plus a $818 million federal grant to help it compete with other energy suppliers. But recently, the firm has been under investigation for immigration and employment fraud, using outdated technology, and making dangerous design decisions. But will California bestow a major contract on this lawless firm on May 7? Stay tuned.
Alan Caruba argues that President Obama is waging a real war against conventional U.S. energy sources -- coal, oil. and natural gas -- but in ways that benefit his friends and punish his enemies. His solar initiatives have mostly been money laundering operations (at least, effectively) like Solyndra; his continued stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline benefits billionaire Warren Buffett; and his administration has issued the fewest number of onshore oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits on federal lands since the government began maintaining leasing and drilling permit records.
Marita Noon rates the value of the options listed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for achieving U.S. energy independence, and then lists several options that might really make a difference.
Marita Noon reports on some of the vagaries faced by buyers of rooftop solar panels. Florida purchasers were stuck with bills of up to $40,000 for systems that may be unusable or unsafe installed by now-bankrupt companies who will not honor warranties. Elsewhere, firefighters have discussed the risks (electrocution is just one) from fighting fires in buildings with rooftop solar installations. Other solar companies mislead customers or even take their money and disappear.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned, we are told. Will President Obama be playing golf when terrorists attack the U.S. power grid so as to force a massive, multi-state blackout? Or will he and colleagues like Secretary of State Kerry and EPA Administrator McCarthy remain wholly focused on their own efforts to shut down the power grid through regulations and (as they did with BenGhazi and the Fort Hood shooter) refuse even to brand such an act as terrorist?