LAS VEGAS — As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to host his fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit on Aug. 7, a Nevada Journal examination of Nevada’s renewable energy sector shows that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs.
That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.
Despite this, Sen. Reid continues to hype Nevada as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” even though the renewable energy subsidized with federal dollars and mandated under Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard costs consumers and NV Energy, Nevada’s publicly regulated utility company, up to four times as much as fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
Even with these government-granted advantages, the few clean-energy jobs in the state of Nevada are still precarious.
And the price of electricity in Nevada has skyrocketed:
In Nevada, consumer energy rates climb higher and higher. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Nevada now has the highest residential electricity rates in the Intermountain West region.
Moreover, so long as present government policies — such as the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — remain in place, rates will continue upward.
While Sen. Reid helped Salazar fast-track government-approved renewable projects in 2009, he also used his influence as Senate majority leader to delay and ultimately kill a coal power plant planned for White Pine County.
Coal-powered plants produce electricity at a much lower price than do renewable-powered plants, according to the EIA and NV Energy.
Currently, NV Energy pays 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for natural gas and coal-fueled power, 8 to 10 cents per kWh for geothermal energy and for wind energy and 11 to 13 cents per kWh for solar photovoltaic energy. Wind and solar photovoltaic energy also require backup power for “intermittency issues.”
The higher costs from renewable-energy production are passed on to Nevada ratepayers in the form of residential electricity rates that are 26 percent higher than those of other Intermountain West states and 7 percent higher than the national average, says the EIA.
Our politicians here should be noting the epic failures overseas and ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes here but who am I kidding…