Green energy companies off the government teat in Spain, take off

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

English: PS20 and PS10 solar plants in Andalusia, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spain Ejects Green Energy Lobby

by Alex Morales and Ben Sills, Bloomberg

Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europe’s biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment-makers to work abroad or perish.

From wind-turbine maker Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM) to solar park developer T-Solar Global SA, companies are locked out of their home market for new business. These are the same suppliers that spearheaded more than $69 billion of wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.

Saddled with a budget deficit more than twice the European Union limit and a ballooning gap between income and costs in its power system, Spain halted subsidies for new renewable-energy projects in January. The surprise move by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy one month after taking office helped pierce investor confidence in stable aid for clean energy across Europe.

“They destroyed the Spanish market overnight with the moratorium,” European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Christian Kjaer said in an interview. “The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that.”

Spain’s $69 billion of investment in power capacity from 2004 to 2011 was about triple the spending per capita in the U.S. in that period, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Most of the 2012-2013 spending will be for the legacy of projects approved before the aid cuts to wind, solar, biomass and co-generation.

After four successive reductions in subsidies since then, the government on Jan. 27 this year announced the moratorium on aid for new projects. The next month Spain saw itself drop out of the 10 most attractive markets for renewable-energy investors for the first time, due to reduced aid, on an Ernst & Young ranking. Spain led the list from October 2003 through July 2006.

“What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy, and that doesn’t help build a sustainable industry,” said Stephan Ritter, general manager of General Electric Co.’s European renewables unit.

Full story here at Bloomberg

===============================================================

Regarding that last line from Stephen Ritter….who seems clueless about “sustainability”…

A sustainable industry is one that stands and competes on its own, not one that is dependent on the government teat.

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72 thoughts on “Green energy companies off the government teat in Spain, take off

  1. “…companies are locked out of their home market for new business.”
    Locked out?! How’s that work? No it just means that the gov’t spigot has been shut off. If you were at all commercially viable this would have no bearing on your business, if anything it would be better.

  2. The words sustainable and renewable have apparently been redefined. They seem to mean now that the grant funding and subsidies are renewable, and the government will sustain them.

  3. I really don’t get how people can call an industry “sustainable” when it costs billions in taxpayer dollars to keep it afloat. First rule of government spending: if it won’t happen without government intervention, it’s not a good business plan.

    Well, it should be the first rule of government spending.

  4. Save this article. In two or three years, you can just change every occurance of “Spain” to “Germany” and reuse it.

  5. “What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy, and that doesn’t help build a sustainable industry,” said Stephan Ritter…
    To build a sustainable industry, all government subsedies must be witheld.
    government subsedies = unsustainable

  6. Let’s give credit where credit is due. The Green Energy industry successfully tapped into a vast reserve of an enormously flexible & adaptable resource. Unfortunately that resource has turned out to be more finite than supposed. The name of the resource? Gullibility.

  7. If this were an intentional strategy, it would be brilliant:

    1) Temporarily subsidize capital-intensive renewables with a feed in tariff to get lots of stuff built.
    2) Stop the subsidies for all projects, existing and new
    3) let companies go BK and let banks silly enough to lend to them eat the losses
    4) solar and wind plants get bought from bankrupt companies for their fair market value and produce low cost energy

  8. Leo Morgan: That depends on whether the Earth is continuously producing oil or not. There is an argument being put forward about that but I don’t know if it is good or bad, the data will tell in time. If that is true however your point is wrong and the science is not settled. The question then becomes at what rate is it produced and what would be a sustainable usage rate. Which is a totally different economic question. Also we could send missions to Jupiter’s moons, I understand there are oceans of distillable fuel products there. Just need to build a space super tanker to go suck it up.

    I was being a little sarcastic, but it seems each time we improve our drilling technology and look a little deeper we find another 100+ years supply. Of course getting the government to approve going to get it under public lands seems to depend on the administration in charge and how well the CAGW meme supports their geopolitical theories.

  9. That famous line is absolutely true…

    Sooner or later you run out of other peoples money.

    Already happened in Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain. When the fit hits the shan in France, Germany, and the USofA, this gig will finally be over and we might actually start rebuilding a sustainable economy.

  10. Gas rebranded as green energy by EU (guardian.co.uk)
    This article referenced above at the foot of the story shows that there might be a sneaky back door return to sanity going on. The Guardian, of course, is spitting blood.

  11. Only in the world of AGW madness is the loss of direct government operating subsidy associated with an unsustainable industry. This perspective demonstrates that non-rational thinking is at the heart of AGW.

  12. vboring says:
    May 30, 2012 at 9:10 am

    If this were an intentional strategy, it would be brilliant:

    1) Temporarily subsidize capital-intensive renewables with a feed in tariff to get lots of stuff built.
    2) Stop the subsidies for all projects, existing and new
    3) let companies go BK and let banks silly enough to lend to them eat the losses
    4) solar and wind plants get bought from bankrupt companies for their fair market value and produce low cost energy
    ————————————————
    “produce low cost energy”? If they were producing low cost energy, they would not be going broke. Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy as well?

  13. The US can LEARN from Spain after the election: Applying a
    “Moratorium” = Freezing (putting on hold) of executing
    previous bad legislation……also putting on hold of subsidies
    and green hand-outs
    …… I hope they will do it…

  14. “that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    50%??
    Is that correct?

  15. The reality of ‘sustainable energy’ is that it is in fact unsustainable, it does not provide the energy a nation needs at the quantity or price needed to sustain a vibrant economy. That is the lesson of Spain and it could not be simpler or plainer to see. Spain is just at the start of its painful journey from fantasy economics encouraged by Brussels to a return to reality based economics. But then again the Brussels plan has always to effectively destroy each regional economy in turn in order to efect and enable their total absorption.

    To escape from a disaster like the CAGW fraud and its ‘sustainable’ lies and deceptions you have to comprehend and then accept where you went wrong, this admission has yet to be made and only the realisation that Spain has no money left and that in itself will not fix the problem. Nations like Spain are going to confront the same issues, the UK is heading towards that cliff and shows no signs of heeding the lessons of Spain.

  16. Ken Smith: I think that’s related to the one of the two items Einstein said are infinite, that he was sure about. Human stupidity.

  17. “The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that.”

    Nobody is safe while the legislature in session. Some people seem to not know that.

  18. I hear the subsidies for solar power in Spain were so high in you could make money by aiming electric lights at your solar panels.

  19. The Spanish energy policy’s over the last 10+ years were the equivalent of a man shooting himself in the head. Now a brain surgeon is attempting to remove the bullet, repair the damage tissue and retrain the brain functions. A long and tedious job with no guarantee of success.
    Good luck with that Spain.
    This same story can apply to many other County’s, States and Provence’s, that many of us live in. The scramers, white collar crooks and government allies have taken raided the treasures and financial earning ability’s of the people, made a few wealthy and impoverished the many.
    It’s a crime!

  20. I like this statement;

    ” …that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    Notice the qualifiers ‘on the most breezy and sunny days’.

    The World Bank says total Spanish production of alternative energy is 14.8% of total use. With a normal 30% capacity factor for alternative energy, 50% when operating becomes about 15% annualized. But of course the 50% number looks so much better for the Greens, just hope people don’t catch the qualifier.

  21. “that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    My BS-o-meter started ticking like crazy when I read this … so correct me if I’m wrong but …

    Usually when it’s windy, it’s overcast
    Usually when it’s sunny, there’s not a lot of wind.

  22. Just think how many nuclear power plants and/or natural gas power plants would have been built for 69 billion. Back of the envelope calculations mean they’d have around 34,500,000 kilowatts that works even at night with no wind using a capital cost of about 2K per kilowatt.

  23. The subsidies were so high you could run dieselgenerators on your solar farm at night to mimic output and still make money. If some smartaleck hadn’t noticed the weirdness of a solarfarm producing energy at night they’d still be doing it when the cord was cut.

  24. Well the photograph demonstrates the problem with thermal solar farms of that type (mirror-furnace systems. Their efficiency is abyssmal. I doubt that they collect even 5% of the total solar energy that lands inside the boundary fence. They have the “Solyndra problem” ; the individual collectors shadow each other so you have to put them widely apart, so most of the solar energy simply hits the ground and is lost. Wind turbines have the same problem.

    When land becomes free, and land improvements are immune to property taxes, then this could be a winner.

  25. “…wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    This is probably pure BS, and if it is ever true, is so infrequent as to be inconsequential.

  26. We hear that fossil fuels are not renewable… but one could say that charcoal grows on trees and methane is biological waste. They tell use we need to think outside the box for sustainable energy, well when I think outside the box i realize that when we extract energy from fossil fuels we are simply adding oxygen. The Carbon, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen are simply oxidized. If those molecules are stripped of their Oxygen and recombined (under pressure) then they can be used again as a portable energy source. Cheap energy from Thorium reactors, could be used to take atmospheric gases and make them back into fossile fuels.

  27. vboring says:
    May 30, 2012 at 9:10 am

    If this were an intentional strategy, it would be brilliant:
    __________________________
    Of course it was intentional, at least in the USA. Remember the government is GUARRENTEEING those bank loans!

    In the USA

    The REAP Guaranteed Loan Program encourages the commercial financing of renewable energy (bioenergy, geothermal, hydrogen, solar, wind and hydro power) and energy efficiency projects. Under the program, project developers will work with local lenders, who in turn can apply to USDA Rural Development for a loan guarantee up to 85 percent of the loan amount.

    http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/9006loan.htm

    In the EU

    Public funding is very important for enterprises to finance energy saving investments. 39% have
    availed themselves of current assistance programmes (central government, federal states, EU,
    etc.)…
    Section 4 analyses the results of the survey of financing mechanisms for energy efficiency in the
    Member States and points to some successful and innovative financing schemes, while Annex I
    contains detailed country files on financing for energy efficiency available in all Member States.
    Policies that leverage increased investment are considered too, such as financial incentives
    (grants, production or user tax credits, rebates, white certificate schemes, etc.), as well as funding
    from the Structural and Cohesion Funds (SCF) and via the European Investment Bank (EIB).
    http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/doc/financing_energy_efficiency.pdf

    Do not forget where those loan dollars actually come from.

    Appendix E – Money Is Created by Banks Evidence Given by Graham Towers
    Some of the most frank evidence on banking practices was given by Graham F. Towers, Governor of the Central Bank of Canada (from 1934 to 1955), before the Canadian Government’s Committee on Banking and Commerce, in 1939….

    Q. But there is no question about it that banks create the medium of exchange?
    Mr. Towers: That is right. That is what they are for… That is the Banking business, just in the same way that a steel plant makes steel. (p. 287)

    The manufacturing process consists of making a pen-and-ink or typewriter entry on a card in a book. That is all. (pp. 76 and 238)

    Each and every time a bank makes a loan (or purchases securities), new bank credit is created — new deposits — brand new money. (pp. 113 and 238)

    Broadly speaking, all new money comes out of a Bank in the form of loans.

    As loans are debts, then under the present system all money is debt. (p. 459)

    Q. When $1,000,000 worth of bonds is presented (by the government) to the bank, a million dollars of new money or the equivalent is created?
    Mr. Towers: Yes.

    Q. Is it a fact that a million dollars of new money is created?
    Mr. Towers: That is right.

    Q. Now, the same thing holds true when the municipality or the province goes to the bank?
    Mr. Towers: Or an individual borrower.

    Q. Or when a private person goes to a bank?
    Mr. Towers: Yes.
    Mr. Towers: Yes.

    Tax money however is not created out of thin air like bank money. It is earned by exchanging labor for government blessed bank created fiat currency. Therefore unlike bank loans. Tax money represents real wealth (your labor) not a fairy dust computer entry.

    CAGW has been a giant pump moving tax payer wealth into the hands of certain corporations and banks.

  28. “The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that.”

    Let’s hope so; in the UK preferably and as soon as possible. Like today.

  29. The Greens in the U.S. are working overtime to terminate the fossil fuel industry
    The Sierra Club, is mounting a major campaign to kill the natural gas industry.

    Wall Street Journal 5/30/2012: Review and Outlook
    “The battle plan is called “Beyond Natural Gas,” and Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune announced the goal in an interview with the National Journal this month: “We’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.” The big green lobbying machine has rolled out a new website that says “The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous and running amok” and that “The closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears; and the less of it we burn, the better off we will be.” So the goal is to shut the industry down, not merely to impose higher safety standards.”

    We can’t wait for Solar Cycle 25 to drive home a point.

  30. If something can only exist due to subsidy, the market is telling you one of two things. Either the item being subsidized is not needed by the economy or the general economic conditions are so bad that very little of anything is able to grow.

  31. How variable is this supply?
    ddpalmer says:
    May 30, 2012 at 10:31 am
    “The World Bank says total Spanish production of alternative energy is 14.8% of total use. With a normal 30% capacity factor for alternative energy, 50% when operating becomes about 15% annualized. But of course the 50% number looks so much better for the Greens, just hope people don’t catch the qualifier.”
    So if the output varies high between 0 and 50% with an average of 14,8% then this might be a serious disturbance to the grid. Does anybody have the output data to give an overview?

  32. ““They destroyed the Spanish market overnight with the moratorium,” European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Christian Kjaer said in an interview. ”

    Well, it’s obvious why this guy runs an association and not a company – because he has not idea what a “market” is. Only an economic moron would make the statement he made. There’s a market there, it’s just not for really expensive, undependable energy.

  33. “…wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    How about they provide some unequivocal facts instead of this vaguely qualified bull. What percent of Spain’s total power demand is met by solar and wind, without any caveats for time of day or local weather.

  34. If it took subsidies in order to create “the market”, then there never was a market to begin with.

  35. “…supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    I’m not buying this one. I think the author saw that “Renewable Energy” provided up to 50% of Spain’s power demand on some days and forgot that it includes hydroelectric and geothermal as well.

  36. Sounds a bit like the Solyndrome; we can’t compete with those fire sale Communist Red Chinese child labor prices, with our inefficient solar down the tubes; but then neither can they compete with already existing practical energy technologies; but we’ll take your subsidy money anyway, till our cover is blown !

  37. “”””” kent Blaker says:

    May 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

    We hear that fossil fuels are not renewable “””””

    So where did the fossil fuels come from; certainly not from the sun ? Fossil fuels by definition ARE renewable until life goes extinct.

    On the other hand it is not at all proven that hydrocarbon fuels other than coals are indeed fossil sourced; and it certainly is not proven that methane is a fossil fuel; they are just gaseous, and liquid “rocks”, aka minerals.

  38. Mike Smith says:

    May 30, 2012 at 9:20 am
    That famous line is absolutely true…
    sooner or later you run out of other peoples money.

    Already happened in Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain. When the fit hits the shan in France, Germany, and the USofA, this gig will finally be over and we might actually start rebuilding a sustainable economy.

    Don’t wait for the Clegg camaron government. His wife’s father is making a fortune from his son in laws great work ;)

  39. Remember when Spain was the poster boy for renewables, the model for the rest of us? It was less than four years ago that Obama officials were pointing to it as a success story.

  40. kent Blaker says:
    May 30, 2012 at 11:39 am
    … The Carbon, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen are simply oxidized. If those molecules are stripped of their Oxygen and recombined (under pressure) then they can be used again as a portable energy source. Cheap energy from Thorium reactors, could be used to take atmospheric gases and make them back into fossile fuels.
    *****************************************
    I would like to pre-order your perpetuum mobile, please.

    It has been said before and is worth repeating. There is literally no such thing as sustainability. It does not exist. We live on a finite world with limited resources. Given sufficient time, natural processes will recycle most everything into relatively base constituents. We just happen to live far too short. One day (hopefully) we will harvest more resources from the moon, asteroids, other planets, even exoplanets. In a thousand years we could be all over the galaxy or in another one, if we don’t let petty differences consume us. But we will *always* use resources faster than natural processes can recycle them.

    You can watch the hydrologic cycle happen in an afternoon, but stars can take billions of years to create heavy elements and disperse them.

    Our time is now, our place is here. Please, let’s make the most of it, folks. Given all the evidence against the malignment of humanity, why aren’t we partying in the streets that we are not, in fact, cooking our planet? I refuse to feel guilty for being alive, free, and fortunate to be American. Sure, we celebrate earth day, but what about human day? Electricity day? Petrochemical day?

    Personally, I have my hopes for the future currently riding on the Dragon capsule. I think I will forever celebrate the day of the first truly commercialized human space flight (yes, the purchaser will be government, but let’s not mince meanings on this one).

  41. The days of very easy money have come to end , and let us remember the money so easy that could run diesel generators at night sell it has ‘solar’ power and make a ton of cash . Now suddenly CO2 matters not a dam to the renewable gang once the buckets of cash are taken off them .

  42. johanna, when vboring says low cost energy, he is disregarding all the original cost. He is only factoring in the cost of plant acquisition and electricity generation after bankruptcy. And, depending on the condition of the plant and equipment, and depending on the acquisition cost, he may be right. The acquisition cost would certainly be less than building a natural gas fired plant.

    Jay Davis

  43. These are the same suppliers that spearheaded more than $69 billion of wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.

    If those figures are correct and i firmly believe that the 50% figure is a figment – then honestly $69 billion – for maybe 50% power [on a good day!] is a pathetic return on taxpayer ‘investment’.

    No wonder they are bust.

  44. “…wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”

    or so the models say ….

  45. “What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy” very well said. This is exactly what happened, and I´m a Spaniard. If you follow the money you can get some answers. There is always people dancing around government regulations. It’s not surprising that the people that were before in the Real State bubble moved into solar farms, and all the renewable blah blah blah. They were dancing again, looking for subsidies, profits guaranteed by law, solutions helped by regulations to fix a non existing problem, etc.

  46. “What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy, and that doesn’t help build a sustainable industry,”
    ====
    sustainable = endless supply of government (other peoples) money.

  47. woodNfish says:
    May 30, 2012 at 10:58 am
    “…wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.”
    This is probably pure BS, and if it is ever true, is so infrequent as to be inconsequential.
    ==========
    It is BS, because on those days the extra supply of electricity will drive the spot price of electricity negative. Spain will be paying neighboring countries money to take the power off their hands, while at the same time paying the green producers subsidized rates to churn out as much as possible.

    Everyone forgets about supply and demand when they do the costings. Remember the Goldilocks problem. To much or too little of anything is bad. Only when power supply is exactly balanced to demand is it “just right”.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-04-22/windmill-boom-curbs-electric-power-prices.html

    Negative Prices

    “Negative electricity prices happen when supply outstrips demand and we literally don’t know where to put it,” Peter Smits, head of central Europe at Swiss power-equipment maker ABB Ltd., said in an interview on April 20 in Hanover. “We will see this happen more often in the future.”

  48. Funny, EE Times just had a PR piece on how the cost of solar was at parity with fossil fuel generated electricity now. What, you mean $0.44/kWh peak pricing in Australia isn’t a valid comparison? How about electricity supplied by diesel generators? No? Oh darn. Well, maybe next year!

  49. “What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy, and that doesn’t help build a sustainable industry,” said Stephan Ritter, general manager of General Electric Co.’s European renewables unit.

    It’s not the government’s job to change the industry, Stevie-boy — it’s *yours*.

    And you obviously failed at it.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    rogerknights says:
    May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm
    Remember when Spain was the poster boy for renewables, the model for the rest of us? It was less than four years ago that Obama officials were pointing to it as a success story.

    Two years ago, they were pointing at Solyndra and Ener1 and Evergreen Solar and a dozen other failed companies as the harbingers of green triumph and the Chevy Volt as the lead vehicle in Obie’s pledge to have a quarter million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

    Yeah, that went well.

  50. George E. Smith; says:
    May 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “When land becomes free, and land improvements are immune to property taxes, then this could be a winner.”

    I found this short story about one of our own bigger boondoggles interesting.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/40460/?p1=A1

    This para in particular

    “The project has been a long time coming. BrightSource first filed an application for the project in the summer of 2007. Approval took three years. Construction was temporarily slowed to accommodate the care and relocation of desert tortoises—a threatened species—found in larger numbers than expected. The project, which will generate electricity by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to heat up water and drive steam turbines, is now expected to be finished next year.”

    It seems there may have been a hopeful development in government regulatory policy. Evidently now if you want to go forward with a project you have planned and a few inconvenient members of some endangered species turn up on your proposed site, all you have to do is round them up, pack them up, and ship them out to someplace elsewhere and you are good to go! Obviously this precedent means this standard will now prevail across the country and the economy I’m sure.

  51. Gary Meyers says:
    May 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm
    Speaking of green energy, my sister-in-law sent me an email asking me if this was for real. A little off topic, but good for a laugh!

    http://cogarinternationalenergy.com/index.php

    A pretty elaborate set up for a gag. I couldn’t help wondering how many pigeons actually have sent in a check.

  52. vboring says:
    May 30, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “If this were an intentional strategy, it would be brilliant:

    1) Temporarily subsidize capital-intensive renewables with a feed in tariff to get lots of stuff built.
    2) Stop the subsidies for all projects, existing and new
    3) let companies go BK and let banks silly enough to lend to them eat the losses
    4) solar and wind plants get bought from bankrupt companies for their fair market value and produce low cost energy”

    That would be brilliant if step 3 worked.

    Step 3 enables the banks to take the high start up costs and the country (Government) the lower operating costs.
    But the banks are going bankrupt in Spain and need bailing out by… the Government (that is the people’s taxes).

    Of course, if Spain can get the EU (Germany) to bail out the banks then it would work.
    Then it would be brilliant indeed (except for Germany).

  53. I have just returned from a trip to Spain and one view over the Ebro valley we could see nearly 100 wind turbines none of which were turning.
    What has happened in Spain shows that if subsidies are removed the industry fails which proves that the industry was rubbish to start with.
    A sustainable industry is one that does not need any subsidy which makes the renewable industry unsustainable.

  54. Dave Wendt says:
    May 30, 2012 at 10:10 pm
    A pretty elaborate set up for a gag. I couldn’t help wondering how many pigeons actually have sent in a check.

    If there’s still money remaining in the US Treasury, then Obama has obviously not seen it yet…

  55. Dave Wendt says:
    A pretty elaborate set up for a gag. I couldn’t help wondering how many pigeons actually have sent in a check.

    I’m not sure this is intended as a gag – the only real clue is the page saying he “broke the laws of physics”. But people believe they can do that sort of thing. Will be interesting to see what happens with the June 9 “press conference”

  56. I guess they call green energy “sustainable” because in theory the primary resources (wind and sun) are limitless. However, an industry that cannot stand on its own two feet and be competitive in an open market is not a sustainable industry!

    That description fits Green energy well – it is inefficient and not cost competitive, and cannot be marketed to cost-conscious consumers without huge government subsidies. This approach obviously has not worked out very well in Europe – they may or may not be decreasing their “carbon footprint”, but these subsidies are clearly decreasing their national treasuries and economic stability! We are taking it one step further in the US – not only are we giving huge subsidies to green energy producers, but we are also waging a regulatory war on traditional energy producers in an effort to drive up their costs and hence make green energy seem less unpalatable. Forcing consumers to pay more for less rarely, if ever, improves economic conditions. Good products succeed in the marketplace because consumers get some combination of “more or better” for their cost. The corruption, backroom cronyism, and corporate failures associated with the green energy industry in the US are warning signs that should be heeded before we get in as deep as Spain was with this boondoggle.

    I have nothing against alternative energy. If and when the time comes that it is efficient and cost competitive with traditional sources, I will embrace it. However, the industry needs to compete on its own merits, not by forced consumption due to government intervention. For the time being, green energy needs to remain the plaything of the rich who wish to ease their environmental conscience, rather than being forced upon consumers that cannot afford it at great expense to both government and consumer!

  57. I have a small issue with the headline. “Take Off” could be interpreted as either “skedaddle” or “accelerate”, i.e., opposite meanings, although the possibility that the removal of subsidies generated an entrepreneurial surge in profit-motivated creativity leading to an acceleration of green power activity did seem a bit remote. Lots easier to envision the takers heading for the hills.

  58. “”””” Gary says:

    May 31, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I guess they call green energy “sustainable” because in theory the primary resources (wind and sun) are limitless. However, an industry that cannot stand on its own two feet and be competitive in an open market is not a sustainable industry! “””””

    So wind and sun are different in what way ??

    Maybe Sun energy is EM Radiation; no, I think it is thermally generated a la Planck. Nah, it’s nuclear energy. Well that takes Thermos, and gravity as well; I guess it’s gravity to begin with !

    Now that wind; I guess it’s gravity as well !

    Wind and sun energy come from the same gravitation (inside the sun)

  59. RE: Rattlesnake Heaven

    In the desert, shade is in short supply. In these large PV solar arrays, the panels shade the desert floor. It won’t too long before every in rattler the area will take up residence under the panels. There might be so many of them that it might become too dangerous for workers to enter area for routine maintenence like cleaning gritty dust off the panel covers.

  60. “A sustainable industry is one that stands and competes on its own, not one that is dependent on the government teat.”
    Seems like you would support getting rid of government subsidies to fossil fuels in the US, Anthony. Am I right?

    [REPLY: You do know the difference between tax incentives and subsidies, right? -REP]

  61. Tired old cliche from the green lobby. Fossil fuel subsidies. Ofcourse one can’t expect people with alpha studies to understand the complexities of taxation, but at least they could understand that a general tax writeoff is the same for any enterprise regardless. Refusing tax writeoffs for oil companies would be absurd. On what grounds? Oil products gets taxed to high heaven already and now you want to tax oilproducers more then other enterprises? That would be some party for fiscal lawyers. They’d sue the government blind and with good reason.

  62. jayhd says:
    May 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    johanna, when vboring says low cost energy, he is disregarding all the original cost. He is only factoring in the cost of plant acquisition and electricity generation after bankruptcy. And, depending on the condition of the plant and equipment, and depending on the acquisition cost, he may be right. The acquisition cost would certainly be less than building a natural gas fired plant.

    Jay Davis

    Yabbut — what they produce is junk; that doesn’t change. Wobbly unpredictable power is almost worse than no power. Fuggedaboudit.

  63. Further to above: it is yet to be demonstrated that the real freemarket revenues of solar/wind farms are sufficient to pay for their upkeep. Let us not forget, either, the opportunity cost of degraded and blighted landscape, and transmission corridors, and stifled tourist trade.

    The subsidy that is going to have to be paid eventually will be for scrapping the lot, and returning the land to usable condition. And the bill will be large.

  64. A point not often considered is that many windturbines contain scarce materials like neodymium, therefore they would have to be recycled rather than just scrapped. The cost of doing so might be significant. Then, there is the issue of public liability for landowners. A derelict windfarm would be effectively the same as a ruined building in that precautions would have to be taken to protect the public from falling debris or other accidents. This might mean cordoning off the entire area until, at the very least, the blades are removed. Functionally this could result in large areas of hillside being denied to walkers.

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Wind_generators – A few votes for highlight might get this on the frontpage.

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