I have made this statement before, but will state it again: Most intelligent people understand that renewable energy, green energy, clean energy or whatever buzzword is current, is a must. Yes, I agree we need to supplement the power grid in the United States with wind, water, and solar energy. But, we need it to be done correctly and not forced on us. The U.S. power grid is already a mess. Thinking that you are just going to get rid of fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy is, in my opinion, ignorant thinking. All the documents that I have read over the past week prove my point.
I learned that there are 2 different kind of solar plants. So I’ll give a very quick explanation of what they both are. I am staying very basic on this.
The first is a solar thermal system. In a nutshell, these plants use equipment to reflect the sun’s ray to heat up liquid so that the liquid is converted into steam, and that steam will power turbines to produce electricity. If you go to EIA’s website, there is a much more in depth explanation.
The other solar plants are the ones that come into my mind when I hear solar power. It is actually defined as Photovoltaic Electricity. The sun rays go directly into the solar panels. The cells in the panel absorb the energy and transfer the direct current electricity (DC) to a battery or electrical transmission system. That system then converts the DC to AC, alternating current, so it can be used by local electricity utilities.
Mini lesson on solar plants complete, moving on.
Let’s start with a very gloomy list. I found a few different articles with lists of failed green energy companies. The Green Corruptions Files is a blog that cites an interview that Lesley Stahl did in January of 2014, where she spoke about 5 failed ‘cleantech’ companies. These companies took over “$100 billion in loans, grants, and tax breaks.” However, the blog posted by Christine Lakatos digs much, much deeper. She lists 32 companies that actually took over $150 billion and then goes as far as to cite the breakdown of money used by the failed company.
Check out the list below, click here to read the full blog. I highly recommend you do.
Obama-Backed Green Energy Failures
NOTE: Bust as February 2014 includes bankrupt, shut down and sold, placing the taxpayer money lost thus far over $3 billion.
- Solyndra: $570.4 million
- Beacon Power: $67.4 million
- Abound Solar: $494.3 million
- Vehicle Production Group (VPG): $50 million
- Fisker Automotive: $160 million
- A123 Systems: $390.1 million
- Amonix: $29.6 million
- Azure Dynamics: $119.1 million
- Babcock & Brown: $178 million
- Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: $400,000
- Cephas Industries: 500,000
- ECOtality Inc.: $135 million
- EnerDel, subsidiary of Ener1: $182.8 million
- Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD): $110.3 million
- Evergreen Solar, Inc.: $84.9 million
- Flagbeg Solar U.S.: $20.2 million
- GreenVolts: $500,000
- Konarka Technologies Inc: $55.7 million
- MiaSolé: $101.8 million
- Mountain Plaza, Inc.: $400,000
- Nordic WindPower: $8.6 million
- Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: $10.8 million
- Range Fuels: $162.3 million
- Raser Technologies: $33 million
- ReVolt Technology: $10 million
- Satcon Technology Corporation: $17 million
- SpectraWatt: $20.5 million
- Stirling Energy Systems: $17.4 million
- Suntech, subsidiary of Suntech Power: $2.1 million
- Thompson River Power LLC: $6.5 million
- Willard and Kelsey Solar Group: $12.7 million
- ADDED February 1, 2014–– Xtreme Power: at least $600,000 in stimulus grants. Plus tied to two major projects that also received hundreds of millions in stimulus grants and loans.
Solyndra is the one that I’m sure most people know about. Basically they were a solar panel company. However, Solyndra was supposed to be different because the inside of the panels were cylinder shaped instead of flat. This shape allowed the company to claim their panels could collect 20% more sunlight when they were placed on a white rooftop. This rounded shape made them also claim that the panels did not need to move with the passing sun. So yea, that sounds much better than the usual solar panel.
It was a bid deal when President Obama visited the plant in 2014 and did a press conference. His speech was held in front of their solar panels. Obama spoke of the 2008 recession, climate change, the entrepreneurial spirit of the west, and how companies like Solyndra were creating jobs. Here is what’s crazy about his visit- the company was already having financial issues. An article by Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonning of the Washing Post explains it better.
“Just two days before the visit, Obama fundraiser Steve Westly warned senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett that an appearance could be problematic. Westly, an investment fund manager with stakes in green-energy companies, said he was speaking for a number of Obama supporters in asking the president to postpone the visit because Solyndra’s financial prospects were dim and the company’s failure could generate negative media attention.”
It was May of 2010 when President Obama made his speech at Solyndra. By the end of the year, the company was crumbling and laying off workers to stay afloat.
There is one other green energy plant I want to share with you. This is the one that gave me the idea for my blog. It’s big, shiny, blinding and lights birds on fire. What did you say Amy?! Well that may be an exaggeration but it got your attention didn’t it. Unfortunately many ‘green’ energy locations are known to wreak havoc on wildlife.
This is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. It’s located in California’s Mojave Desert near the border of Nevada. The solar thermal plant has over 300,000 mirrors that are about the size of a single car garage door. The intense heat created by these mirrors has been said to cause birds to smoke as they travel over. That is not the real issue, I just want to poke the proverbial bear.
When it was created the plant was estimated to have a capacity of 392 Megawatts (MW). That amount is supposed to be able to power about 100,000 homes. Seems great. But, NRG Energy, one of the project’s biggest investors along with Google, reported that the plant is not meeting its obligations to Pacific Gas and Energy (PG&E). That shortcoming is causing them to be late on loan payments. Then they are asking for at least $500 million in grants to pay off the $1.6 billion in loan guarantees. To add insult to injury the ‘green’ plant emitted more than 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide because it uses natural gas to jump start the steam for the plant’s water warming process. This apparently, is the norm for a project like this. The problem is that it should have been labeled a hybrid solar/NG energy plant, not green emery plant. But if that label would have stuck, all the pomp and circumstance that pumped up this one of a kind solar plant may have never happened; and all these factors are the reason many are calling for the closure of this massive facility.
So what was the point of this blog? I really want to express my disappointment. Some of these projects could have been successful. If they were, they could have helped create jobs, continue innovation and allow companies to grow. However, cronyism of our government got in its own way, again. So the taxpayers of the United States of America get to pay the bill…..again.
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