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A Gold Rush of Subsidies in the Search for Clean Energy
New York Times ^ | November 11, 2011 | ERIC LIPTON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Posted on 11/11/2011 10:29:59 AM PST by reaganaut1

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on a former cattle ranch and gypsum mine, NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel: a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Similar subsidy packages have been given to 15 other solar- and wind-power electric plants since 2009.

The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

When the Obama administration and Congress expanded the clean-energy incentives in 2009, a gold-rush mentality took over.

As NRG’s chief executive, David W. Crane, put it to Wall Street analysts early this year, the government’s largess was a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and “we intend to do as much of this business as we can get our hands on.” NRG, along with partners, ultimately secured $5.2 billion in federal loan guarantees plus hundreds of millions in other subsidies for four large solar projects.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: energy; energysubsidies; renewable; renewableenergy

1 posted on 11/11/2011 10:30:02 AM PST by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

The article was an excellent account of the enormous subsidies provided to the renewable industry. These subsidies are unprecedented even among past Democrat presidents. A relatively few well connected companies are receiving enormous guaranteed profits (25 percent) at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers. None of these renewable projects is even close to economic viability.


2 posted on 11/11/2011 11:38:23 AM PST by businessprofessor
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To: reaganaut1
that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

Sure it will, under perfect conditions that will hardly ever happen. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

3 posted on 11/11/2011 1:59:33 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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To: reaganaut1

Corrupt crony capitalism at its best.

Somebody should go to jail. (I’m dreaming.)


4 posted on 11/11/2011 4:03:41 PM PST by upchuck (Rerun: Think you know hardship? Wait till the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency.)
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5 posted on 11/11/2011 7:56:26 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: businessprofessor
It's what bugs me about a lot of this - if these were such good ideas with a good chance of being profitable, then somebody in the private sector would put up the money for them.

It's like when cities try to give huge tax breaks or other incentives to corporations that make billions in profits - if the location works for that company, they will build there, regardless of tax breaks.
6 posted on 11/11/2011 8:58:30 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: reaganaut1

I’m surprised the NY Times ran the story, even if it’s in their Saturday edition.


7 posted on 11/13/2011 12:13:30 AM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: steelyourfaith

global warming ping

(I assume clean energy boondoggles are on-topic.)


8 posted on 11/13/2011 4:41:48 AM PST by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1; bamahead; Nervous Tick; SteamShovel; Tunehead54; golux; tubebender; Fractal Trader; ...
Thanx for the ping reaganaut1 !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

9 posted on 11/13/2011 5:07:34 AM PST by steelyourfaith (If it's "green" ... it's crap !!!)
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