Tag: questionable renewable energy investments

Need proof Solar is not ready for Prime Time? Here ya go…

We have had repeated discussions here about the viability of some green technology, and I am certain everyone here knows my stance on solar energy. As someone educated in engineering, I know that technology is simply not ready for use and the cost is prohibitive. many have argued otherwise, but then you occasionally get stories like this one which illustrate the futility of pushing this unready technology. From the article;

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The 20 solar panels Jeffrey Punton installed in the backyard of his Rochester, N.Y., home won’t ever generate enough electricity to cover their cost. Which is the whole point.

He means them as a cautionary tale, one that Punton said cost him $13,000 and for which he received an additional $29,500 in state and federal subsidies and tax credits.

He installed the panels in 2009, and they work: He has generated about 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in four years, saving several hundred dollars a year on his energy bill.

That’s a lot of savings, but it’ll take many years to recoup his initial investment, let alone the public money involved. It’s that public money that chafes him, evidence of governmental intrusion in the marketplace.

It’s a message that runs counter to the prevailing trend, especially in New York’s Monroe County. Greece, N.Y., a town in the county, recently lured a solar manufacturer from California, a coup local and state officials are touting as part of the region’s future.

Punton doesn’t buy it — at least on the consumer scale. And spending $13,000 of his own money on a project he predicted would fail doesn’t bother him.

He considers the $29,500 the government gave him a foolish investment — throwing good money after bad — and misses no opportunity to point it out.

“It’s a billboard to talk about it to people as they come by,” he said. “It’s disappointing how little people know about the economics of it. … I don’t think it’s a smart investment to pay someone three times what they’re putting in.”

About $17,000 of the money for Punton’s panels came directly from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The lesson here is absolutely indisputable. Without heavy government subsidy, this technology not only is prohibitively costly, but it will never pay for itself. Let’s not kid ourselves: any technology that is not at a point where it generates enough savings to warrant the total cost of production, setup, maintenance, and usage, is not ready fro prime time. And any technology that requires so much government subsidy to become marginally palatable, is definitely not worth it.

I got a tax deduction and subsidy a few years back in my state for window replacements. I got rid of some leaky and old windows & sliding doors and replaced them with newer, better insulated ones. The state gave me some $1000 credit (the maximum) towards my taxes, and another $1600 towards the manufacturer’s costs, and I ended paying some $6K out of pocket. I immediately saw improvement in my energy bill. It dropped by over 50% for both summer (cooling) and winter (heating) expenses, from a hefty averaged $245 a month to a little over $115. That’s a big saving. I recouped my investment a couple of years ago, and by now, even the subsidy and the tax deduction have been paid for in energy savings. Yes, my monthly bill is now higher, but that’s because the price of energy has all but doubled in the same timeframe. Consequently, the argument could be made that my savings also doubled, and that’s just awesome. This program was a good one.

That’s not even close to being the case with solar. I know. I researched it because I wanted to do that when I bought my house some 18 years ago. I abandoned it, just like I abandoned the idea of purchasing an electric or hybrid car, because the cost – the total cost, which includes maintenance, and disposal – was insane. I recently looked at it yet again. The numbers have moved a bit, but the cost is still prohibitive and the whole thing is still a loss.

Personally, I am not one of these fucking assholes that likes to tell people my fart doesn’t smell, (South Park – Smug Alert – episode) and is willing to piss away good money just to preen, and I don’t have anything to prove like the guy in this article did. Solar simply is not ready for prime time, and no amount of government manipulation or incentivizing will make a difference. Governments have been trying to change that equation for over 3 decades now, and it has not gone anywhere. The technological advances to make it viable will not come until they are absolutely needed and someone figures out there is huge money to be made. But this reality will never fly with the watermelons that want to steer energy money to their buddies, so we will keep pissing away money on something that’s still not able to deliver the value for the cost, and pretend it is a good thing.

It’s Bush’s fault!

In typical fashion the Obama administration has again chosen to do something that costs jobs and hurts the economy of America, and then laid the blame on others for the impact of their decisions. The geniuses that brought us such successes as Solyndra and numerous other questionable renewable energy investments which benefit them and their friends, but not the consumers, whom they have been very clear they believe should have to pay far more for energy of the kind they approve of, have decided that the Canadian oil pipeline is not good. And they blame congressional republicans for codifying law that prevented Obama from killing the project by delaying the approval for so long that the Canadians would choose to go elsewhere.

In a decision sure to re-ignite a fierce energy debate, the Obama administration was announcing on Wednesday its rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline because the 60-day deadline imposed by Republicans did not allow adequate time to review an alternate route through critical wetlands in the Midwest.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was to make the announcement on the project that would carry oil from Canada’s carbon-heavy tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast and would indicate that TransCanada, the company seeking to build the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline, will be able to reapply with a new route avoiding an ecologically sensitive area of Nebraska, sources told National Journal.

Put more simply, the Obama administration is hitting Republicans back by saying no because of their forcing him to decide on the project in just 60 days. Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail promptly painted the decision as a rejection of thousands of American jobs purely for political reasons.

So instead of blaming the Canadians for not wanting to wait forever for the “environmental impact studies” – that is code for I am going to drag this out until you give up or the cost forces you to go elsewhere – that Team Obama wanted to use to kill the project, now they blame republicans for trying to prevent them from playing that card. Don’t be fooled. Team Obama never, ever, intended to let this project go through. Now the Canadians whom despite their embrace of socialism are not insane will sell this valuable resource to the Chinese, and we will not only get to pay more for our energy, but lose out on the benefit of getting a valuable resource from our neighbor to the North and further breaking any possible dependency on countries that are hostile to us.

Yeah, sure. Bush was worse than this moron and his circus, and it is his fault this went bad too. And Obama really meant to improve the economy from the start, but he got handed a shit sandwich. It’s not the policies and other decisions, like this one, that are hammering our economy hard. In the mean time we can all cheer up at the fact that our gas & heating oil prices will now go up as this valuable source of energy goes to power China and the Chinese economy. Evil market speculators will all profit from the rise in prices too. We should dump them all these watermelons without any technology in a tropical jungle, preferably one with the highest number of natural predators, and let them fend for themselves. That might give us a little bit of justice for the disservice this movement is doing people. Especially those poor people they pretend to so care about.