It’s a win-win for Big Govt and Crony Capitalists, a big loss for affordable clean energy, accountability, a healthy free market economy, free people.
This L.A. Times story tells a lot:
Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants
THE SOLAR DESERT
A new breed of prospectors — banks, insurers, utility companies — are receiving billions in subsidies while taxpayer and ratepayers are paying most of the costs. Critics say it’s a rip-off.
September 20, 2012|By Evan Halper, Ralph Vartabedian and Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Who are the Cronies?
“Banks, insurers and utility companies have jumped in, taking advantage of complex state and federal tax incentives to reap outsized returns. Among the solar prospectors in the Mojave are investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., General Electric, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and technology giant Google Inc.”
What are the costs and who pays no matter what the outcome?
“Stanford University economist Frank Wolak, an expert in the California electricity market, said the state’s renewable energy strategy could boost electricity rates 10% to 20%, depending on a number of factors. Potentially, consumers’ bills could go up by 50%.”
“The low-interest, government-guaranteed loans — more than $16 billion for renewable energy projects so far — pay up to 80% of a project’s construction costs.
“If this were a modern-day fairy tale — and in many respects it is — solar developers would be saying, ‘Mirror, mirror on the ground, look at all the money I found!’ ” said one county official, who did not want to be identified because of pending negotiations with a solar developer.”
“Even renewable-energy advocates, such as the Bay Area-based Climate Policy Initiative, acknowledge that the nation’s first forays into utility-scale solar plants will be expensive.
The group estimates that 43 cents of every dollar of energy produced by the Ivanpah facility will be paid for by taxpayers.”
Hey regular Joe, you think Public Utility Commission is your friend, looking out for you first? Ha!
The state Division of Ratepayer Advocates, whose purpose is to represent consumers, concluded in a report last year that the power contracts the PUC has been approving have put consumers on the hook for $6 billion in excess costs.
“What the commission’s practice has been is not to consider the cost of renewable power but to approve every renewable project that came before them,” said Joe Como, acting director of the division. “We really spent too much money. It’s frustrating as hell.”
Read the complete piece here.