Tag: Solar Power

Every Election and Every Office Matters: Energy Edition

 

Solar scam corporation commissionEvery election and every office matters. Every American eligible to vote knows this now. We have all been affected by the decisions, the proclamations, of officials from city hall to federal agencies we hardly knew. Pay attention to signs and statements, from local campaign signs to the national party platforms. Consider the case of energy policy, with the examples of California, Arizona, and the Democrats’ national platform. California’s blackouts illuminate the stakes for all of us.

California

California is the largest and most advanced environmental leftist experiment among the fifty “laboratories of democracy.” They have starved their own residents of both water and power, steadfastly blocking new power generation and water storage, while shutting down disfavored power plants like they send millions of gallons of water flowing past parched farmland into the sea. Governor Newsom is entirely unrepentant, along with the Democrat super-majority in the state legislature, avoiding blame for California blackouts.

Mark Mills joins Brian Anderson to discuss the enormous energy demands of the world’s modern information infrastructure—“the Cloud”—the subject of his new book, Digital Cathedrals.

“Tech companies confront an inconvenient fact,” writes Mills. “The global cloud uses more energy than is produced by all the planet’s wind and solar farms combined.” In fact, digital traffic has become the fastest-growing source of energy use. While nearly every tech company has pledged to transition to renewable energy sources, most data centers are physically connected to the conventional power grid, fueled by hydrocarbons. The modern economy won’t be exclusively powered by renewables any time soon.

James B. Meigs joins Seth Barron to discuss last month’s power blackout in Manhattan, California’s self-inflicted energy crisis, and potential energy sources for the future.

“As power outages go,” Meigs writes, “the Broadway Blackout of 2019 was pretty modest.” But energy reliability is becoming an issue in states across the country. California’s largest power supplier, Meigs reports, recently announced that it will begin shutting down parts of the grid to help reduce the risk of wildfires.

Criticizing both the science and the economics, Richard Epstein makes the case for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Richard Epstein looks at Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on energy and environmental issues, explaining how free-market economics can be reconciled with good environmental stewardship.

Renewable Energy Is Killing the Environment

 

IVANPAH_solar_plant_green_builderA lot has been made of California’s government-funded embrace of so-called green energy. Driving from the Arizona border to LA, you’ll be hypnotized by hundreds of whirring windmills littering Coachella Valley and distracted by the blindingly bright light generated by vast new solar arrays.

A bit north in the Mojave Desert lies the $2.2 billion Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, wedged into the public land between the Mojave National Preserve, Mesquite Wilderness, and Stateline Wilderness. In its first year, it produced just 40 percent of the promised energy, greatly improved in its second year, then was knocked offline after a misalignment of solar panels caused the central collector to burst into flames.

But it’s not just expensive equipment getting fried. Birds mistake the panels’ reflection for water, fly a bit too low, and they burst into flames as well. And the site takes up so much land that the delicate desert ecosystem suffers, blading away plants and kicking tortoises and other critters out of their habitat.

Clinton’s Solar Panel Plan Leaves America in the Dark

 

hillary solar panel

On Hillary Clinton’s campaign website, she calls for the creation of 500 million new solar panels to “power every home in America.” Voicing a strong preference for solar may win over the hearts of some environmentally conscious voters, but it should not win over their minds. A proposal to comprehensively retool the nation’s energy systems to solar power ignores a couple of very basic, yet critically important, complications.

First, every home in America is already powered. The country does not need to undergo a massive, redundant, and expensive overhaul to duplicate what has already been accomplished. Second and more importantly, this plan, if you can call it that, hinges on a physical impossibility. Solar panels cannot power homes. At least not in any way people in the industrialized world would consider acceptable. Solar power is unreliable, intermittent, and inflexible. This means solar panels are intrinsically incapable of handling the country’s home energy needs.

Congress Should Have Let the Sun Go Down on Solar Subsidies

 

shutterstock_79128529And in one fell swoop through the 2,000-page omnibus spending bill, Congress again saddled American taxpayers with billions in handouts to the perpetually foolish and failing solar industry. In what is sure to foster the very same practices that led to the infamous Solyndra debacle, renewable energy handouts through the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) are now guaranteed until at least 2022. In other words, don’t expect ITC or its cohorts to vanish any time soon.

While solar stocks soared after the news broke of Congress’s ill-advised extension of the ITC, taxpayers should remain skeptical of the industry’s so-called success. Despite gargantuan subsidies over the past five decades, the solar industry has yet to make a convincing case for itself. In fact, there is little evidence of success. The fact is that a coddled solar industry simply can’t make it on its own.

There are many egregious recent failures of the American solar policy. As part of the Obama Administration’s solar loan program through the Department of Energy (DOE), a Spain-based solar company has received $2.7 billion in taxpayer funds since 2010. Counted among President Obama’s favorite solar companies, Abengoa solar plants across the US have massively underperformed.