Renewable Energy Underperforming, Environmental Costs Soaring

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, recently sent a letter to Governor Brown asking: “In enacting the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in 2011: how much is it going to cost”? California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio mandates that one-third of all retail electricity sales must come from renewable energy by 2020.

The apparent answer to this question is that nobody knows for sure because there is no comprehensive state energy plan in place, even though California touts itself as the world leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
More HERE.

Not only are the cost not known, but the highly touted renewable energy source are not working out as planned by investors and consumers of government grants.

The Ivanpah concentrated solar power plant in the California Mojave desert near Primm Nevada is not producing nearly as much electricity as predicted. Ivanpah has produced a mere 25% of expected electricity since December 2013 when it began production, a dismal result indeed. This means that it has to use natural gas to back fill the lack of sun or the lack of efficiency. The plants owner are claiming the sun does not shine as much as they anticipated. Really, the sun is shining 75% less?

It the efficience does not increase, Ivanpah will not be eligible to meet the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires one-third of electricity must some from renewables. Ivanpah is currently at 25%. It turns out this plant is just a very inefficient and expensive gas powered generating station.

According to a Fox Business Report this morning the investors are asking for a half a billion dollar bailout. They claim the sun has failed to perform as modeled. Really?

Ivanpah was funded by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy primarily by using a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee. If Ivanpah continues to falter and the federal government get stuck with the loan, it’ll seriously affect renewable energy funding going forward.

One performance factor that the Ivanpah plant has excelled at is killing birds, frying them in flight. According to the Center for Biological Diversity experts it is about 28,000 per year. For some observers of the smoking streamers the birds create when they fly into the concentrated solar beam, it is about two birds every minute the sun is shining.

I wonder how the supporters of AB-32 feel about underperforming solar energy that kills birds and needs a government bailout to keep operating?  Let’s pull the plug for before it does any more environmental and economic damage.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
This entry was posted in AB-32, Analysis, California, Climate Change, Solar, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Renewable Energy Underperforming, Environmental Costs Soaring

  1. Dena says:

    We need an itemized statement from the government every time we pay our taxes. This little gem will cost each and every person in the United States about $4 on their taxes.


  2. gjrebane says:

    Russ, your practical questions fall on deaf progressive ears. Their double helix has not provided them the capacity to even process such considerations. How do you think they became progressives in the first place?


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