The US’s solar power sector is going from strength to strength, with further announcements this week of progress in some major solar projects. A 550 MW solar-photovoltaic facility, to be built in the California desert, has been approved following an extensive environmental review by the Interior’s Bureau of Land (BLM). The review saw a dramatic reduction of the project’s original planned footprint, down from 19,000 acres to 4,144. Once built, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm will still generate sufficient energy to power over 165,000 homes. The project has already received backing from the Department of Energy, which granted Desert Sunlight a conditional loan guarantee of $1.88 billion in June. California is also set to become home to the world’s largest solar facility, with the announcement today that the Blythe Solar Power Project will be converted from concentrated solar power (CSP) to photovoltaic (PV) technology. Solar Trust of America, the project’s developer, cited improved conditions in the PV market as the driving force behind this decision. Once the conversion is complete, the total capacity of the Blythe Project will reach 1,000 MW. Elsewhere, solar company Sungevity and finance conglomerate Citigroup announced the launch of a $50 million renewable energy fund to support residential solar lease projects. Sungevity’s solar lease programme allows homeowners to pay a monthly rental fee to the company, rather than buying their rooftop solar system upfront. Since 2010, the company has raised over $120 million to support residential solar projects. Finally, yesterday saw the switch-on of the 10 MW Dover SUN Park, in Delaware. The facility generates sufficient electricity to power 1,500 homes, representing a significant step towards the state goal of producing 65% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
President Obama's "clean energy" agenda is rapidly becoming a political liability. Last week, the president delivered an upbeat speech in Holland, Mich., at the high-tech battery lab of stimulus money beneficiary, Johnson Controls Inc. (which has also received $1.3 billion in government contracts since 2002, according to usaspending.gov).
Then on Monday, a much-touted Obama stimulus baby, Evergreen Solar Inc. of Massachusetts, filed for bankruptcy, leaving $485.6 million in debt and a vanished stock value.
Ironically, Evergreen closed a key plant last spring after relocating its manufacturing to Wuhan, China. It was competition from China's government-subsidized solar plants -- along with a lack of demand and Obama's unresponsive permitting system -- that sent government-subsidized Evergreen down in flames.
Sifting through Evergreen's ashes, the bankruptcy court found $26.3 million in federal job contracts plus millions in state subsidies and an unknown amount of federal stimulus money -- unknown because nobody can find a trace of the grants.
Obama and Evergreen acknowledge the grants. But the government's recovery.gov stimulus-tracking records come up blank, as do Obama bureaucrats charged with administering the $821 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Clearly, the Obama administration's left-wing tactic -- ideologically picking winners ("good guys") and losers ("villains") and rewarding the winners with government payoffs -- isn't working too well.
Unless, that is, you are a strategically positioned insider who helped design the tactic and picked some of the winners. And here we meet Pacific Northwest Democrat Jay Inslee, U.S. representative for Washington's 1st Congressional District, home of Microsoft and Boeing.
Inslee was one of the architects of Obama's stimulus bill, albeit through a back door called the Apollo Alliance, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., specifically credited the day the bill passed in February 2009.
After praising the bill's job-creating clean energy vision, Reid said, "the Apollo Alliance has been an important factor in helping us develop and execute a strategy that makes great progress on these goals and in motivating the public to support them."
People who believe that solar one day will make a major or significant contribution to the electrical grid are delusional.If the lunatics at the EPA are allowed to go forward with those bizarre rules involving coal fired generation,many plants will close, electricity rates will skyrocket, there will be actual power outages, the economy will weaken further and unemployment will soar. The heavily subsidized solar industry is a fraud. The subsidies are squandered tax dollars and are worsening the debt. Obama and his left wing cabal of appointees are ruining this country.