A couple of years ago the left wing blog Grist was wetting itself about the success of the Ivanpah solar power facility:
Despite GOP jeers, BrightSource succeeds in solar
Over the last year or so, Republicans have woven a tale of collapse and futility around clean energy. Each setback for the industry, each bankruptcy or refinancing, is met with open glee, plastered all over Fox News for weeks on end. In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney said to Obama, “you don’t just the pick the winners and losers — you pick the losers.”
I can’t recall ever seeing a major political party rooting for the failure of a growing American industry like this. Is there any precedent? I guess asymmetrical polarization has brought us to uncharted territory.
It’s worth remembering, as Mike Grunwald documents so well in his new book The New New Deal, that Mitt Romney is full of sh*t. Obama’s clean-energy programs have been a rousing success, driving a doubling of wind and solar capacity with vanishingly little fraud and fewer failed investments than Congress budgeted for.
It’s easy to say that, even to document it, but what clean energy really needs is a money and media infrastructure with as much muscle as the one devoted to destroying it, a network that can circulate success stories and push them into mainstream media with as much frequency and success as the fossil-fuel groups that have Politico by the short hairs.
Author David Roberts concludes:
But the clean-energy programs that Obama was able to put in place are working. An industry is emerging, in fits and starts, despite the embarrassing spectacle of Republicans rooting against it.
First of all- what are you talking about? Solyndra, anyone? Secondly, it seems all that omarashi was premature.
A little background on Ivanpah:
Ivanpah, a massive project built on 3,500 acres in the Mojave Desert, is the first large-scale deployment of technology developed by BrightSource, a privately held company backed by more than $615 million in equity from investors such as VantagePoint Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley, Google.org, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and numerous others.
Oakland, Calif.-based BrightSource began developing Ivanpah and then sold the majority stake in the project to NRG and Google. The project received about $1.6 billion in federal loans under the Department of Energy’s 1705 Loan Guarantee Program.
The Ivanpah project was funded by a $1.6 billion dollar taxpayer loan- that’s a bigger loan than given to Solyndra. Ivanpah is owned by NRG and Google.
Google, you say?
What does Google need from clean energy? Tax avoidance.
Even companies whose business has little to do with energy or finance, like the Internet giant Google, benefit from the public subsidies. Google has invested in several renewable energy projects, including a giant solar plant in the California desert and a wind farm in Oregon, in part to get federal tax breaks that it can use to offset its profits from Web advertising.
The Ivanpah deal is thick with cronyism. Joe Biden’s former chief of staff was hired to lobby the Obama administration for the loan. Obama himself pumped up Bright Source in a radio address in 2010. Well, they got the loan.
Following the guarantee of the loan, the wife of one of the principals in a firm which benefited from the loan, promised to bundle between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
The promise is now fizzling. Ivanpah is underperforming. They blame the weather:
But since then the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it’s supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised.
A NRG spokesman blamed the weather, saying the sun didn’t shine as often as years of studies predicted. However by the four-year mark, NRG has “every confidence that the plant will function as anticipated for the life of the facility,”according to the company.
That’s not all. Ivanpah collects solar energy by reflecting sunlight off a vast array of mirrors to power collecting towers. This creates a death zone for avian life. Birds flying over Ivanpah literally burst into flames.
A Bay Area company is being urged to fix its state of the art solar plant, after thousands of birds flying by the plant are being burned to death.
Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.
Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version.
It is estimated that Ivanpah roasts 28,000 birds per year. Those specks on the mirrors in the image above are dead birds.
Now the super wealthy investor owners of Ivanpah want a Federal grant of $540 million to pay off their loan. You and your income taxes are being asked to bail out wealthy liberals, who want their money back, with interest.
And that is how the game is played. Super rich liberals don’t lose a penny. You take the losses for them.