Commentary: Contradictions from Reid on renewable energy

2013-02-27T06:00:00Z Commentary: Contradictions from Reid on renewable energyBy THOMAS MITCHELL Elko Daily Free Press
February 27, 2013 6:00 am  • 

It conjures images of Orwell’s “1984” newspeak and doublethink with the three slogans of the Party plastered on the wall — “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”

Not only was everything Sen. Harry Reid said in his speech on the floor of the Nevada Assembly this past week about “green” energy false, it was the diametric opposite of the truth. False is Fact.

“The renewable energy industry has been a bright spot during dark economic times,” Reid claimed, “helping our state attract new businesses and create thousands of jobs that can never be outsourced.”

Dark is Bright, because of “thousands of jobs.”

Nevada Policy Research Institute added up the money spent on renewable projects. Since 2009, taxpayers have funneled more than $1.3 billion into geothermal, solar and wind projects in Nevada, creating just 288 permanent jobs — $4.6 million per job. And that’s not counting higher power bills due to the fact “green” energy costs two to four times as much as fossil fuel-produced energy or that wind and solar are intermittent and must be backed up by fossil fuel generators, thus doubling the capital cost to the electricity customer.

And don’t think the monopoly power company is going to squawk about higher capital cost. It is guaranteed a “return on equity” from the Public Utilities Commission. The more equity, the more return. Expense is Profit.

Reid singled out for laudatory remarks Ormat’s geothermal power plants in Northern Nevada without deigning to mention Ormat’s lobbyist in Washington, Kai Anderson, and a top Ormat executive, Paul Thomsen, are both former aides of his or that the company got a $350 million federal loan guarantee or that the geothermal industry has contributed $43,000 to his campaign since 2009.

Harry also tipped his hat to the Spring Valley wind turbine farm near Ely without mentioning that the company’s CEO is a big backer of WindPAC, which has given Reid $15,000 over the years, or that the wind farm created only 13 permanent jobs.

The solar plant near Tonopah got a Harry Reid shout out without so much as a nod to the fact the company got a $737 million federal loan guarantee or that board members are contributors to his campaigns or that the NV Energy contract to purchase that power is for 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour — higher than the current resident retail power rate of less than 12 cents. Higher is Lower.

“These successes didn’t happen by accident,” Reid boasted. “They are the result of more than a decade of coordination between businesses, utilities and all levels of government.”

Patronage is Coordination.

(For some reason he never mentioned the moribund Chinese solar project near Laughlin that his son Rory is pushing or the defunct Chinese wind turbine project he and his friend Brian Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, were touting.)

“The linchpin for this progress is a state law that guarantees a market for Nevada’s clean, renewable energy resources,” Reid explained. “This law, better known as the renewable portfolio standard, requires a minimum percentage of electricity to come from renewable sources.”

In other words, NV Energy has to, by the year 2025, obtain 25 percent of its power via “green” energy sources or conservation. It is currently meeting its goals and needs no more power of any kind.

Central Planning is Free Market.

Reid complained that “loopholes” in the law allow the utility company to “evade the spirit of the law. In fact, those loopholes are so large Nevada’s major utility could meet the standard without building a single megawatt of new renewable energy for the rest of the decade.”

Imagine that, stable power bills, but no income for his “green” contributors. Your Positive is their Negative.

“We should no longer allow the major utility in Nevada to meet the portfolio standard with energy credits from a Utah hydroelectric dam built in 1896 — the same year Utah was admitted to the Union,” he complained, while claiming he is in favor of “clean energy.” Apparently some Clean is Dirty.

In Harry’s world, Ignorance — the ignorance of your legislators, that is — is his Strength.

Meanwhile, the inconvenient truth is: There has been no perceptible warming of the planet for a decade and a half. Warm is Cold.


Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may share your views with him by emailing . Read additional musings on his blog at

Copyright 2015 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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