Letters: Painful truth is, solar costs on many levels

Dear Editor,

Contrary to Mathew Claxton’s naïve assertion that “solar energy is cheap in California” [Future of solar spreading from south, Jan. 15 Painful Truth, Langley Advance], it has been a disaster. 

California has among the highest energy rates in North America (surpassed by Ontario) and it is heavily subsidized by the same taxpayers whose rates are skyrocketing.

California ambitiously mandates that 33 per cent  of the state’s power must come from renewable sources, which leads to gross manipulation of energy markets and invites crony accomplice hustlers. 

The Solyndra solar scandal and dozens of others burned taxpayers for many billions, while the cohort shills laugh to their champagne bank accounts.  

This has also happened in Ontario with intermittent wind energy, and right here in B.C., mostly with intermittent run-of-river private sellouts of our water resources causing our rates to double.

Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal plant, is only producing about a quarter of the power it is supposed to. The excuse is that there is not as much sun as was assumed in the design. 

Not enough sun in the Mojave Desert location?

Remember, this is intermittent power only produced when the sun shines – January through August – and it consumes thousands of acres of land.

Ironically, to compensate for the failed solar production, it is using 50 per cent more natural gas base fuel to make steam, which the solar design concept was to replace.   

 Ivanpah is owned by Google, JP Morgan and renewable energy giant NRG, who secured a $1.6 billion government loan guarantee to construct their pet project, and now these billionaires want a half-billion-dollar federal bailout to help them pay their loan. 

They never want to use their own money, but they don’t want the taxpayer to benefit in any way, either.

The failed design uses large mirrors to concentrate reflected sunlight radiation beams directed at “power towers” which heat water to turn steam turbines to generate electricity. 

It is a huge environmental disaster for birds that the alternate green energy lobby have been neglecting and avoiding, just as they have been with wind turbines. The problem is the birds see the mirrors as water, and get roasted in flight by the 800ºF solar death-ray beams.

A recent study released by the California Energy Commission called Ivanpah a “mega-trap” that will kill up to 28,000 birds annually. 

Politicians need to smarten up, quit trying to interfere with market equilibrium, and quit trying to cherry-pick green winners and losers with absurd subsidy programs. 

Don’t hold your breath.

Roland Seguin, Langley

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