Category Archives: California Green Jobs

The San Francisco Green Energy Ripoff

A photo of San Francisco at night with green power?

It seems San Francisco will soon have “free” green energy that isn’t “free” or very “green.” Instead of “free” and “green” we get this:

  • Monthly bills will increase by $84 to $180 annually
  • You’re signed up automatically and if you don’t opt out your stuck with the increase
  • Due to the unreliability of wind power and solar your electricity will still come from coal and gas power plants when those don’t work on windless and cloudy days.
  • The startup costs $19.5 million including $15 million placed in an escrow account to pay Shell Energy North America if the program is terminated before the contract expires in 4½ years.

San Francisco, touted as “the city that knows how” evidently only “knows how” to rip off the taxpayers. There are probably 19.5 million ways to spend that $19.5 million on things that would make San Francisco a better place to live than on overpriced faux green energy.

The city’s a mess in many places. Traffic’s a mess, the streets are a mess, the homeless are a mess, crime is a mess, there are many blighted places. Let’s not forget that the schools are taking it  in the shorts thanks to Jerry Brown’s faux budget that recently fell apart and could also use that money.

Nope, in San Francisco politics it’s better to genuflect to the imaginary green energy god. Keeping PG & E who appears to be able to provide  cleaner, more reliable and less expensive energy would have just been too simple compared to creating another SF bureaucracy that appears to be FUBAR before it even starts.

If you thought that the power going out a Candlestick Park during a nationally televised football game was an embarrassment just wait and see what happens, or doesn’t, as the case may be. No wonder the 49’ers want to move to Santa Clara.

Sources: SF Examiner  & SF Business Times

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BP DUMPS SOLAR

……And another one bites the dust. British Petroleum is shuttering its solar manufacturing business. More proof that solar isn’t the big panacea it’s touted to be and is not going to be providing many shovel-ready jobs in the United States or anywhere else, with the possible exception of China.

The unit, which BP has been scaling back since 2008, is the latest sun energy business to fall victim to rampant competition from China, falling prices, overcapacity and lower government subsidies on which the industry still depends.

This doesn’t only affect Europe, this is going to have a worldwide effect…..

The company confirmed on Wednesday that it plans to exit its large-scale projects at Long Haven in the U.S. and Moree in Australia.

Add this to the long list of dead or dying companies such as Solyndra and Evergreen Solar in the US and…..

Swiss bank Sarasin said in a recent study that Conergy and Q-Cells were among the German solar companies most exposed to the sector’s crisis.

We continue to maintain that if solar power was such a great idea government subsidies would not be necessary for solar to be a big financial and energy success and it appears we’re becoming more right as each day passes. Someone should get the people running the US Department of Energy and  California Governor Jerry Brown out of their green comas and advise them of this.

Please don’t bring up oil company subsidies. At least they have a viable product, make a profit and pay taxes.

Source: Reuters

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Yet Another Reason to Bury the Bullet Train in California

What started as a $33 billion project, then recently mushroomed into a $98.6 billion project, that only one week later mushroomed into a $117.6 billion dollar project, now has another problem.  This problem, no doubt, will again raise the already astronomical costs of the bullet train that Californians will not only get stuck paying for, but will probably be stuck subsidizing for almost eternity.

It now seems that the grand plan to tunnel under San Jose, California isn’t so grand after all. According to yet another study:

“We have looked at this very thoroughly and done very detailed engineering for this,” said Dan Leavitt, the authority’s deputy director, about the tunnel option. “It is not a constructable scenario for high-speed rail.”

In a nutshell this means the transportation hub in San Jose will need to be built above ground, which means that they’ll have to spend more money buying up property that they would not have had to purchase if the underground station was viable.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a fit of delusion, instead of telling the state to shove it, the City of San Jose will continue to spend more tax dollars studying this, even though budget problems have reduced the number of police and fire personnel on duty.

The Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown also appear to be delusional about this costly and unneeded train to nowhere. It is  seriously not funny that this fiasco continues to spend money needed elsewhere.  California’s budget deficit is now expected to have a $13 billion budget deficit by mid-year that will cause $2 billion in automatic spending cuts, many in education.

Meanwhile, the Board of Regents of California State University, who raised tuition 15.5% last November just voted yesterday to again increase tuition by another 9%. This is a total increase in just one year of 25.5%.  If you want to know what this costs students in dollars here it is:

The price of a year at CSU has risen steadily for years. Next fall, basic tuition will be $5,970. With a mandatory fee averaging $1,047 across the 23-campus system, the price will stand at $7,017. That’s more than triple what it cost in 2002-03.

It is a total shame that the State Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown don’t pull the plug on the bullet train boondoggle that continues to grow in size and cost and may accelerate putting the State of California into bankruptcy before it’s over and done with. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns, this has to be it.

The only thing green about this project is the obscene amounts of money that will be spent on a boondoggle that will only green the pockets of unions, who evidently have much of California’s government in their hip pockets.

Let’s not forget the United States debt just hit $15 trillion yesterday. How about paying bills before spending on boondoggles?

We urge you to read more of the gory details of this CO2 Insanity at the source below.

Source: San Jose Mercury News

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Another Energy Company Goes Broke!

Yes, the Obama administration has the equivalent of a gardener having a brown thumb. It seems no matter what it touches, it withers and dies. This time it’s $39 million tax dollars out the window.

An energy company that received a $43 million loan guarantee through the same federal program that backed Solyndra has followed the path of the failed solar firm and filed for bankruptcy.

Beacon Power Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The company, which develops energy storage systems based on what are known as “flywheels,” had received the federal guarantee for a 20-megawatt energy storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y., back in August 2010. 

Add this one to the list consisting of Solyndra, Spectra Watt and Evergreen Solar who have also received hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars and have filed for bankruptcy.  They screwed the  taxpayers, too.

The Massachusetts-based company also received $29 million in grants from the Energy Department and the state of Pennsylvania through separate programs for a plant in Hazle Township, Pa.

So, what kind of green jobs did this create (or rather was supposed to create) and at what cost? Let’s do some simple mathematics. Take the above $43 million + the above $29 million and you get a total of $72 million dollars. So how many employees?

When the project was approved, the Energy Department reported that the loan guarantee would help save or create 14 permanent jobs and 20 construction jobs.

If  you take the total of permanent and temporary jobs that is a total of 34 employees. Divide $72 million by 34 and that is an astronomical $2.11 million per job.  Divide the $72 million by the 14 permanent jobs and that’s an even more astronomical $5.14 million per job.

This is why the government should keep their nose out of it. If solar and wind power are such a hot commodity, then venture capitalists would be so eager to pump money into them that government subsidies would not be required. It would be their decision, their money and their risk.

Federal and state governments really have no business making extravagant loans to companies with unproven technology or a manufacturing process that cost so much the Chinese can easily undercut the price. Politics mixing with private industry is a recipe for disaster as proven by these failures.

Warmers, please don’t mention oil and gas subsidies. Those are proven technologies that actually produce something usable by taxpayers and as such, we don’t have a problem with them.

Source: Fox News

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Will SunPower be the next Solyndra?

SunPower Corporation

Solyndra’s body isn’t even cold yet and look at this! The solar company in Fremont, California, that filed for Bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration under dubious circumstances, hasn’t even been auctioned off and already it’s looking like we have another contender for a similar failure after receiving $1.2 billion in loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

Reports are now surfacing that SunPower isn’t perhaps in very stellar financial condition, either. According to the Daily Caller today……

The company, SunPower, received its $1.2 billion loan guarantee in September, immediately before the program’s deadline.

SunPower isn’t as financially sound as the public was led to believe when it secured a loan guarantee twice the size of Solyndra’s $535 million loan. Just this week — less than a month after taxpayers landed on the hook for SunPower’s $1.2 billion loan guarantee — company executives announced that they expect to lower their 2011 earnings projections.

The company also carries $820 million in debt, which is $20 million more than its market capitalization.

So why the largess from the Obama administration so soon after the Solyndra debacle? Well, as usual, let’s follow the money and connections……

Last October, President Barack Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Democratic Rep. George Miller toured SunPower’s plant in California. Both touted the company. Miller said SunPower was an example for “renewable energy” production and “America’s future economic growth.”

But, Miller failed to mention how his son, George Miller IV, is SunPower’s top lobbyist in California. Miller’s son was pushing for the $1.2 billion loan guarantee taxpayers are on the hook for now.

Sounds to us like more crony socialism is afoot. It will be interesting to see what happens at SunPower over the next few months. Could it be a Solargate II, with some CO2 Insanity tossed in for good measure? Time will tell.

Source: Daily Caller

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Solar Panel Propaganda

Solar panels, touted by many to be a renewable energy panacea that will rid the planet of all those nasty coal-fired power plants, may be a bigger boondoggle than we already thought. We’ve already complained that they do not appear in many instances to provide a return in investment.

It now appears that the time they provide energy before replacement is required is dramatically less than claimed. Thus shortening not only the life of the panels and the electricity generated, but also reducing the return on investment.

If you listen to the mostly-Chinese manufacturers, solar panels work great. They can be expected to degrade about 0.5% a year. So that is how we build the economic models to finance, insure and subsidize the larger solar systems.

In the real world, we are just starting to find out how bogus many of those predictions are. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that panels can degrade as much as 4.5% a year. Or more. Put that in your pro forma and see what your banker and insurance agent — or Congressman — say about that.

While we see claims that average solar panels will last 25 to 30 years, the aforementioned claim of 0.5% per year means that solar panels should last an astounding 200 years (100% ÷ 0.5%). At the realistic rate of 4.5% per year they will only last about 22 years before replacement is needed (100% ÷ 4.5%), which is not even the 25 to 30 currently claimed by many and not even remotely close to 200 years.

It gets worse folks. They don’t only degrade, it appears they also can literally fall apart and it doesn’t take very long.

In Italy last year, “they discovered that after one year in the field, over 90% of the (solar panels) from a one megawatt project began to delaminate and ended up on the ground.”

That is a lot of wasted money. 90% down the tubes after being used for only one year. No return on investment and very little ‘free’ electricity generated. All that is left is an eyesore that is a pile of toxic waste, wasted tax dollars and perhaps a tax deduction for a business loss.

We are adverse to the lies about what renewable energy costs and what it’s capabilities are. We’re also adverse to the physical and financial messes left when solar and wind-power are abandoned. We’re extremely adverse to the rush to install solar and wind-power without having full knowledge about the effects. Look at the carnage left in the previous two links to see what we’re talking about.

California seems to be leading the rush off the proverbial cliff via the implementation of AB32, California’s cap & trade law, that mandates power providers to generate 33% of their power from renewable (green) sources by a not too distant 2020.

With many large solar projects planned in California, it would seem to be a logical move to slow down and find out what our money is being spent on and what the return on investment will be as opposed to rushing in head first, only to find another government mandated, costly boondoggle. To know what happens to government mandated boondoggles one only has to look at the Solyndra and Evergreen Solar fiascos.

You can safely bet that when these solar energy plants fall apart at the seams, the taxpayers and energy consumers of California and other states will get stuck paying for the bill. It’s probably also a safe bet that the messes left at abandoned solar and wind farms will be there for decades as a reminder of what happens when the government gets involved in what should be private enterprise.

Source: AOL Energy

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Solargate: Solyndra execs will take the 5th Amendment

$535 Million Tax Dollars Down the Tubes?

In a what doesn’t surprise me in the least move, Solyndra executives have announced they will be taking their 5th Amendment right when testifying before Congress this week. For those unaware, below is the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

While I’m not one of their attorneys, I’d suspicion the part highlighted above is what they’re referring to. This could mean that they have done something illegal and won’t be ratting on themselves before Congress, or perhaps they could be using this to cover for others involved with Solyndra, or both. In either event I find it very reminiscent of testimony by alleged Mafia members during Congressional hearings in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I’d say you can rule out Attorney General Eric Holder doing anything about this because it certainly appears that, based upon e-mails made public, that Solargate at the very least will lead to some Obama Administration officials and potentially it could even lead to President Obama.

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