View Full Version : Government-Subsidized Solar Plant Relies on Natural Gas

09-01-2016, 03:19 PM
Looks like solar power can be almost efficient after all — so long as you use natural gas to create it:

Consumers are getting burned by a taxpayer-subsidized solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert.

An immensely wealthy consortium owns the plant. Government regulators approved a contract forcing consumers to pay four to five times the going rate for electricity produced by the plant.

Is that because the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System produces politically sacred “green energy”? Not really; actually the plant also uses natural gas, since solar energy is inefficient, even in the desert. The real reason is that the owners are big enough to have pull in Washington:

Ivanpah has an impressive pedigree: It is owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google Inc. BrightSource itself is owned by a consortium including Google, General Electric Corp., Chevron Corp., BP Alternative Energy, and Morgan Stanley.

Together, these companies command market capitalization in excess of $1 trillion. One would think that with such enormous capital and financial sophistication, Ivanpah’s owners could have undertaken this project without government support.

But then, maybe they spend their money buying government support. That’s how “capitalism” tends to work under governments that have metastasized out of control.

The owners of the Ivanpah solar power facility received a federal loan guarantee of $1.6 billion, a tax credit in excess of $500 million, and contracts to sell power at four to five times the market rate of electricity. All predicated on the production of solar power.

Ivanpah generates electricity by using steam to drive turbines. Solar energy concentrated with mirrors accomplishes this when the sun is shining, but deserts are dark and cool at night. So they keep the water steaming with something plentiful, cheap, and reliable — but politically incorrect: natural gas, which actually produces about 30% of the supposedly green energy.

Even falling back on gas, the plant is so inefficient that it survives only by bureaucratic favor. But at least California is on pace to meet its insane green energy mandates.

Why not just build a natural gas plant, saving customers and taxpayers mountains of money? Because the scam known as green energy is only 80% pure corruption. The other 20% is flakey enviromoonbattery, which largely keeps the public from objecting. Presumably, a combination of moonbattery and campaign donations keeps Big Government from objecting.