Las Vegas Sun

April 26, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Economy can’t afford solar power

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In their Monday column, Jim Rossi and Launce Rake try to justify government subsidies for renewable power by noting recent reductions in the cost of solar panels. But the cost of solar panels does not offset the fact that the price of solar power is three times what it costs for gas-generated power. This means that billions of dollars are about to be added to our electric bills to pay for it.

We would never accept the government subsidizing oil companies to build refineries to produce $10-a-gallon gasoline, so why should we accept subsidizing solar power plants that triple the price of electricity? The media and the public need to wake up. The true costs of solar power are going to be a big negative for our economy.

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  1. We need to develop alternative energy sources and I have no problem with our government using some of our tax dollars to assist that development. The problem I have is how we are going about it. Tax dollars should be used in 'research' for alternative energy and how to make it more efficient and less expensive.

    Our tax dollars were used to do research on ARCNET, which was the precursor of the Internet. Government money was used to research and develop the technology that created the small scale ARCNET. Private enterprise and private investment then took the ball, ran with it and created the Internet. It took some time, but we can all see the fantastic results.

    In alternative energy the model we are using would have been to have the government build the Internet after it created ARCNET. Our government is using huge sums of money to subsidize 'retail' alternative energy that isn't price competitive. This is a horribly inefficient use of tax dollars. We need to return to the ARCNET model and have tax dollars used to fund 'research' on alternative energy and ways to make it more efficient and more competitive.


  2. Automobile manufacturers with government subsidies have been trying for 100 years to make an electric vehicle that competes comparably with gas cars in price, performance and power. They haven't. Unless and until they can, then give the green energy government money to the space program. It has been in existence for 50 years and has been a huge success.


  3. It's not about "green" energy. It's about extending the power of government over our lives with more rules and regulations and to turn us into a nation of dependent sheep. With some elements of our society, it has worked very well as the recent election revealed. Millions on food stamps, subsidies & welfare aren't going to let the gravy train be derailed without a fight. Their votes have been bought and paid for by Dumbocrats across this country. The productive and rational among us have to bear the cost and, with the Dumbocrats, that's perfectly acceptable since there are far more parasites than productive in our once great nation.

  4. Let's first get rid of the propoganda. Solar power does not cost three times as much as natural gas generated power, particularly at the retail level. At current price points solar is very competitive when compared to retail electric rates. The prospects of clean, domestically-produced energy from a variety of sources -- including the sun, wind, and earth -- are a good play for our energy future.

    And for those, like the writer whose foresight extends only as far as next month's power bill, you might want to look at that bill and you will discover that even though natural gas costs much less than a few years back, you are buying retail power and your power bill is not lower.

  5. Lets get rid of the unpayed royalities,oil slicks, oil depletion allowances and federal troops that the multinational energy companies get. These dopes that attack renewable energy are just corporate shills.

  6. For those of you with limited imaginations as to the possibilities of a well-rounded and diversified power grid with the future in mind and opposed to government subsidies, let me point you towards the TVA, BPA, BoR and REA. If you still fail to understand then please disconnect yourself from the dam @ Boulder.

  7. Bottom line -it's called "renewable energy" for a good reason. Fossil fuels are NOT renewable. True, there have been repeated predictions over the years that "We will run out of oil by (insert a year of your choice)." The first 6 words are (almost) TRUE! It's the timing that is in doubt. Actually, I doubt that we will ever run totally out of fossil fuels. But extraction will become so very expensive that no one will even try to get the very last barrel of crude.

    The decisions that need to be made soon, if not right now, are: 1) What do we want to do? Learn to live without virtually all energy or develop something renewable? 2) If the former, what do we do with the bodies of the 99%+ of the population that will die while we relearn a basic hunter-gatherer lifestyle? 3) If the latter, do we start developing something renewable now, when we have some time in which to act, or do we wait until we MUST have an answer by the end of the month or do totally without (see #2 above...) 4) Do we follow the current political philosophy and simply kick the can down the road. After all, it won't happen in MY lifetime and my descendants can fend for themselves. If they are to starve in the cold and dark, well, so be it.

    My personal choice? Face the facts. Bite the bullet now, start developing alternatives, and get it over with. Relegate oil to the status of being only a fair lubricant, with other, better, options.

  8. You have people saying that wind, solar and geothermal are price competitive today. So, those people should be in favor of dumping the subsidies, but they should also demand the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels as well. The problem that most renewable energy sources have is that they are not on-demand sources and this is where they end up costing more because you need storage or a backup power source. If you took you home off the grid and went strictly solar, you would not have power at night without something for storage. But at the end of the day, we should start to scale back the subsidies all energy sources and let the market work things out.

    A comment was made about low natural gas prices and how you do not see that reflected in your electric bill. While the bulk of NV Energy's capacity if generated via natural gas, the state requires that at least 25% of all power come from renewable sources and at least 6% from solar. So, part of the reason that you pay more is because of higher prices sources of power being mandated and because there must be enough backup generation capacity to cover it during down cycles.

    Renewable power has come a long way but we have been subsidizing some of it for decades. And if you want to see how much we subsidize various forms for energy you can look at this report from the government's Energy Information Administration.

  9. Let's get everyone who owns a home on solar hot water first! Maybe even a few panels for eletric directly tied in. This would be by far the best and most efficent way to go solar. I do not see many collectors on house rooftops and always wonder why..