Carpe Diem

$1.3 billion solar “greendoggle” in Nevada at $4.6 million per job and why solar subsidies are diabolical

Following is a news report from Nevada illustrating why taxpayer subsidies of solar energy are a wasteful “greendoggle,” and some commentary from a solar company president on why solar subsidies are actually worse than wasteful, they’re diabolical.

1. NEVADA JOURNAL — “As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to host his fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit on Aug. 7, a Nevada Journal examination of Nevada’s renewable energy sector shows that over $1.3 billion in federal taxpayer funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs. That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.

Despite this, Sen. Reid continues to hype Nevada as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” even though the renewable energy subsidized with federal taxpayer dollars and mandated under Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard costs consumers and NV Energy, Nevada’s publicly regulated utility company, up to four times as much as fossil fuels, such as natural gas.

Even with these government-granted advantages, the few clean-energy jobs in the state of Nevada are still precarious.”

 

2. From a guest post on Steven Landsburg’s The Big Questions blog by David Bergeron, president and founder of solar-powered refrigerator company Sundanzer:

“Here is the real problem: Subsidies make solar appear viable today, so where is the motivation for an entrepreneur to risk money, or even focus on developing real energy alternatives when solar is “almost” there? How can an inventor justify striving with the effort it takes to really develop something great when he is competing against a straw man technology which can provide power at almost the same cost of traditional power sources today? But of course it really doesn’t.

The answer is he can’t justify the effort, so the next great thing is not developing, at least not with the sense of urgency it should be. Why enter a contest when you are competing against someone with an unfair advantage? You may be the faster swimmer, but your competitor is using flippers.

Solar subsidies are a placebo which is giving the general public a sense of security about our energy future and is robbing the motivation of those entrepreneurs that could actually address our energy problems. Subsidies are much worse that just wasteful, they’re diabolical. They lull us into thinking we have almost solved the problem and they hinder us from seeking the real solutions.”

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