Skip to comments.Foreign energy firms getting windfall of U.S. stimulus funds (Money buying turbines made abroad)
Posted on 02/09/2010 10:20:19 AM PST by NormsRevenge
Of the more than $2 billion the federal government has given out to boost the economy and create green-energy jobs, more than three-quarters has gone to foreign-owned companies that dominate the global wind-power industry.
This latest finding by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, a nonprofit at American University in Washington, D.C., is illustrated clearly in San Diego County, where about a dozen commercial wind developers have offices.
La Jolla is the headquarters for Eurus Energy America, the subsidiary of a Japanese firm that received $91 million in federal stimulus money for a wind farm in western Texas. It plans to apply for more money to fund a wind project in Oregon.
EnXco, a French-owned firm with American headquarters in Escondido, has received $69.5 million in stimulus money for its wind farm in Indiana. It installed 53 German-made turbines at the site. EnXco also is operating the Texas wind farm for Eurus.
A-Power Energy Generation Systems, a Chinese-owned company that might get federal grants through a consortium building a wind farm in western Texas, lists a vacant office in downtown San Diego as its U.S. address on recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cannon Power Group of San Diego has received $19 million to expand a wind farm east of Portland in Washington. The company spent about half of that money overseas to pay for wind turbines it said it couldnt get stateside.
The Reporting Workshops initial analysis of wind-energy grants was released in October and outraged some lawmakers. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., cited the groups report and news that $450 million in stimulus money might go to a group installing Chinese-made wind turbines in Texas when he asked the secretary of energy to deny federal financing to firms that use foreign-made turbines.
American wind companies are receiving stimulus grants, but some such as Cannon Power spend much of that money abroad because few U.S. companies manufacture turbines.
Mark Anderson, chief executive officer of Eurus Energy America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eurus Energy Holdings Corp., said his company would not have been able to move forward with other projects without the guarantee of stimulus money.
Eurus received $91 million in grants for the Bull Creek Wind Farm in Texas. It has the capacity to power about 48,000 homes a year.
Eurus is building a wind farm in Oregon. The company plans to seek green grants for that project, Anderson said.
We plan to put more and more money into the United States, he said.
Eurus employs 20 people in San Diego, Anderson said, and has assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Its Texas project created between 300 and 400 jobs for construction, including 10 for operation, and is benefiting the local economy through property taxes and land leases, Anderson said. For the project, Eurus bought Mitsubishi turbines, which are manufactured abroad.
EnXco, the French-owned firm based in Escondido, also went abroad to buy turbines, from German manufacturer REpower. A spokesman for enXco said the project created more than 200 construction jobs as well as a dozen permanent jobs. It has the capacity to power about 29,000 homes per year.
A-Power, based in northeast China, is part of a group building a wind farm in western Texas using turbines it is manufacturing in China. This is the project that affronted Schumer after the group announced plans to collect $450 million in stimulus grants.
In a letter, Schumer asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to reject requests for stimulus grants from companies that buy key components abroad.
In all due respect, I remind the secretary there is a four-letter word associated with the stimulus J-O-B-S, Schumer told ABC News. Very few jobs here, lots of jobs in China. That is not what I intended or any other legislator who voted for the stimulus intended.
Chu responded on Facebook: But manufacturers will not build plants here and grow their production capacity here unless there is domestic demand; and, until recently, that was not the case.
In SEC filings this year, A-Power Energy Generation Systems lists a suite in a high-rise in downtown San Diego as its business and mailing address. However, the suite door is locked, and a building manager said A-Power is not a tenant.
When reached on his cell phone, Chief Operating Officer John Lin said he did not have time to answer questions.
Gary Hardke, president of Cannon Power Group, a renewable-energy company near Torrey Pines, said his company had no choice but to go abroad to buy parts for its wind farm in Klickitat, Wash. Two main U.S. manufacturers, GE Energy and Clipper Windpower, either did not make a turbine the size that Cannon wanted or were sold out.
Cannon bought the turbines made up mostly of blades, towers and nacelles (the part in the middle that houses components such as the rotor and generator) from Siemens, a German company that also was the main contractor.
In all, Hardke estimated, more than 50 percent of the stimulus grant went to Siemens.
I appreciate that cosmetically it doesnt look good, but the reality is the grants (must) go into the project costs, he said.
Cannon is expecting $151 million more in stimulus grants to expand the wind farm and hopes all the parts will come from the United States.
Hardke pointed to ways the stimulus cash will do what lawmakers intended boost the local economy. Cannon pays about $3 million a year to lease land from about 40 individual owners as well as $2 million in property taxes.
The project is in a county where nearly 20 percent of residents earn less than the poverty level, according to a 2009 U.S. Census release. It created more than 300 construction jobs, Hardke said, and 20 to 30 to operate the farm.
There isnt a family in Klickitat that doesnt know someone employed by the project, he said.
The ongoing economic development benefit in rural America is really significant.
The icing on the cake, he said, is clean energy really significantly helping the environment.
Why don’t we just buy nuclear reactor technology from Japan and FRance and Germany instead and get something more worthwhile for our money?
..and the flock went..
Obama is an idiot.
This is more of that hope and change that we were promised.
Many of the turbines going up in Wyoming are made by Suzlon... which is headquartered where?
The blades are made in the US. That’s about it.
Picture this. You buy a brand new car straight off the showroom floor.
Each day of the week you drive that car to work. Out of the five days in the week you do this, your brand new car will only achieve the task once. The other four days you have to rely on alternative transport. So! Do you think you would be happy about that? I dont think so.
Renewable power, be it wind power or the two versions of solar power have this same reliability: 20%. Twenty Percent !
Dont believe me, Believe the same Government who wants to sink hundreds of billions of your dollars into this highly unreliable form of generating electrical power. That same Government releases highly detailed statistics every month detailing exactly how much electrical power is generated from every source.
The U.S. has recently taken over from Germany as the largest producer of electrical power from this source. This is a link to the Wikipedia site, which in actual fact is quite up to date with the total Nameplate Capacity power produced from this source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power
Scroll half way down the page to where the chart table is. It shows the installed Nameplate Capacity of Wind Power in the U.S. as 35,159 MegaWatts. (MW) This is around the equivalent of 17 large coal fired or nuclear power plants, which can produce 2000MW of Nameplate Capacity power. So it actually seems to be quite a lot of power really.
However, thats not how the power is consumed. It is consumed in KiloWattHours (KWH), and Ill refer to it in that manner because thats how you will all see it on your electrical utilities bill. To work out how much usable power is made available to consumers is an easy calculation, although it looks complex.
The formula is NP X 24 X 365.25 X 1000. NP is Nameplate Capacity. 24 for the hours in a day. 365.25 for the days in a year, leap year included, and then multiply by 1000 to convert from MegaWatts to KiloWattHours.
So for all the wind power in the U.S. the formula comes out like this- 35,159 X 24 X 365.25 X 1000 which comes to 308 Billion KWH, if those wind turbines were to run at their maximum all the time. Now, we all know that they dont so just how much power do they produce.
This link shows that exactly, and these figures are as of January 15th from the Governments own website for electrical power, The Energy Information Administration:
Scroll to the bottom left there. That figure is expressed in Thousand MegaWattHours, which is the same as Million KWH, so the figure is 64.144 Billion KWH
So, if the feasible maximum total power is 308 Billion KWH, and the actual power delivered is 64 Billion KWH, then the overall efficiency rate of delivery of actual power amounts to 20.7%. What that effectively means is that it is delivering power for just on five hours a day, or the same as for the car analogy I used above, one day in five. So tell me. Are you happy with that?
To put it in further perspective, see the Nameplate Capacity is the same as for 17 large coal or nuclear plants. The actual power delivered is around the same power produced by three and a half of those 18 plants. Are you happy with that? You may think Im being selective, so lets then look at Nuclear Power. It delivers its power at the efficiency rate of 93%. Even coal fired power delivers its power at close to 88% when referenced to Nameplate Capacity and using the same formula. That delivered power of 64 Billion KWH amounts to only 1.6% of the total power consumed in the U.S. There is positively and absolutely no way, ever, that total will even closely approach the hoped for 20%, and you could try until 2050. It will never reach 20%.
These renewable plants are in the vicinity of five to seven times more expensive to get to the power delivery stage than for any other plant. They are more maintenance intensive and they only last for a third to half the time as for a large coal or nuclear plant.
All that aside, that power delivery rate of only 20% at the absolute best should be enough to convince you that these things are next to useless. The only way they can even get off the ground is with the injection of huge amounts of money in the form of Government subsidies. The only thing that they can absolutely ensure is that the cost of electricity to the end consumer will be much more expensive.
The analogy about the car at the top of the post is a relevant thing to allude to. Would you as a consumer but a car that you KNOW absolutely is only going to work one time in five?
Why should the same thing not apply here with renewable power.
This is one great big turkey that is never going to fly, no matter how much money you throw at it.
Taking into account that 20% power delivery rate, that means you will just have to rely on getting the required power for the remainder of the time from those other sources, so in all reality, the construction of these wind plants and solar plants at an alarmingly ever increasing rate will not really result in the saving of all that much in the way of Carbon Dioxide emissions anyway, as those coal fired plants will have to stay running to provide power for the bulk of the time these so called renewable plants are just not even working at all.
You can construct another million of them, and that percentage will not change.
So when the President is given a standing ovation for mentioning ten times the phrase renewable power and clean energy, this is one turkey that will just never fly. He can hope and change all he likes, but nothing will change that 20% figure.
America - Made In China!
The Left’s ambition is paramount to everything: Life, Sovereignty, Prosperity, and Liberty.
What the hell does this country still make????
It’s not easy being green.