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Solar power plants burden the counties that host them
Los Angeles Times / LATimes.com ^ | November 25, 2012 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times

Posted on 11/25/2012 8:38:44 AM PST by thecodont

When it comes to attracting business to California's eastern deserts, Inyo County is none too choosy.

Since the 19th century the sparsely populated county has worked to attract industries shunned by others, including gold, tungsten and salt mining. The message: Your business may be messy, but if you plan to hire our residents, the welcome mat is out.

So the county grew giddy last year as it began to consider hosting a huge, clean industry. BrightSource Energy, developer of the proposed $2.7-billion Hidden Hills solar power plant 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles, promised a bounty of jobs and a windfall in tax receipts. In a county that issued just six building permits in 2011, Inyo officials first estimated that property taxes from the facility would boost the general fund 17%.

But upon closer inspection, the picture didn't seem so rosy.

An economic consultant hired by the county found that property tax revenue would be a fraction of the customary amount because portions of the plant qualifiy for a solar tax exclusion. Fewer than 10 local workers would land permanent positions — and just 5% of the construction jobs would be filled by county residents. And construction workers are likely to spend their money across the nearby state line, in Nevada.

Worse, the project would cost the county $11 million to $12 million during the 30-month construction phase, with much of the money going to upgrade a historic two-lane road to the plant. Once the plant begins operation, the county estimates taxpayers will foot the bill for nearly $2 million a year in additional public safety and other services.

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


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: brightsource; brightsourceenergy; burden; california; counties; energy; hiddenhills; host; inyo; inyocounty; plants; power; solar; solarenergy; solarpower

1 posted on 11/25/2012 8:38:50 AM PST by thecodont
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To: thecodont
Governor Moonbeam heroically presses on:

Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to "crush" opponents of solar projects. At the launch of a solar farm near Sacramento, the governor pledged: "It's not easy. There are gonna be screw-ups. There are gonna be bankruptcies. There'll be indictments and there'll be deaths. But we're gonna keep going — and nothing's gonna stop me."


2 posted on 11/25/2012 8:43:09 AM PST by slumber1 (Don't taze me bro!)
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To: thecodont

They left out the part about the utilities being forced to buy their unreliable power at three times the price of other power. All ratepayers get stuck with that bill. My local power company fights a hidden and never-ending battle to avoid buying unreliable power at retail rates or 3x wholesale rates. But Obama and his energy department are going to make it harder and harder to avoid.


3 posted on 11/25/2012 8:49:34 AM PST by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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To: slumber1

CA is screwed even more than the rest of the U.S. And it is all self inflicted.


4 posted on 11/25/2012 9:04:22 AM PST by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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To: thecodont

Solar is cost-effective only with subsidies, which means that it’s not cost-effective.


5 posted on 11/25/2012 9:23:18 AM PST by I want the USA back
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To: thecodont

California Liberal creed in action:

Replace what works (Coal-Nuclear-Gas) with something that sounds good (Wind-Solar).


6 posted on 11/25/2012 9:33:10 AM PST by cicero2k
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To: thecodont
This dynamics reassembles third world complaints where a huge corporation come in and develop natural resources to make a cheap product. Few of the residents benefit with jobs and are left with less of the natural resources for themselves.
7 posted on 11/25/2012 9:35:03 AM PST by wmp46
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To: thecodont
No one thinks anymore!

More infrastructure is always needed.

Any construction project will come with a pot of gold.

Pro sports enrich the towns they play in.

Alternative energy works just as good as the real stuff.

The list goes on and on.

8 posted on 11/25/2012 9:45:16 AM PST by BfloGuy (Workers and consumers are, of course, identical.)
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To: jdsteel

That is an example of democratic justice


9 posted on 11/25/2012 9:53:48 AM PST by morphing libertarian
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To: I want the USA back

Solar power is not necessarily cost effective only with subsidies. Sometimes other factors cause solar to be cost effective. I installed a 5 kw solar system for my home, which is also my office. Southern California Edison has a perverted tiered rate structure where they decide how much power my residence should use, and if I exceed their allotment for a residence, I’m penalized with a much higher cost per kwh as I reach higher tiers. This socially, or politically, correct tiered structure is averaged notwithstanding my neighbor might not be home all day, thus having a lower demand, whereas I work from home and have servers and other equipment, including A/C, that far exceeds my neighbors demand. My Tier 1 rate is 13 cents/kwh, increasing to 33 cents/kwh in Tier 5. I consistently reached the Tier 5 rate. With the solar system, I barely squeak into Tier 1, and during the winter I bank a couple of kwh per day for cloudy days, or summer use. By installing the system myself, and switching to Net Metering, the payback on the investment is 3 years at the current electric rates. And, I can easily add capacity as needed. The relatively low cost of solar panels, plus performing the labor myself, resulted in a very appealing payback.
The payback doesn’t include any subsidy, which I haven’t even applied for, nor any tax credits. However, I will take the tax credit since I feel it’s my duty as a good citizen to get as much of my tax money back as possible since the government just wastes most of the money anyway.


10 posted on 11/25/2012 11:13:45 AM PST by RLM
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To: RLM

How does the A/C current from the 5Kw solar rig stay in phase with the A/C signal form the power company grid?


11 posted on 11/25/2012 11:22:03 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
You use a grid-tie inverter.
12 posted on 11/25/2012 11:37:23 AM PST by MV=PY (The Magic Question: Who's paying for it)
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To: RLM
Solar power is not necessarily cost effective only with subsidies.

The Tier 5 rating is a penalty on energy usage, so it acts as a subsidy on your solar installation. Would you still have that solar unit if not for the tiered pricing?

In this case, going solar and getting off the grid is a wise thing to do. Not only is it going to get yet more expensive, it's probably going to get more unreliable too.

13 posted on 11/25/2012 11:51:59 AM PST by slowhandluke (It's hard to be cynical enough in this age.)
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To: thecodont
“Since the 19th century the sparsely populated county has worked to attract industries shunned by others, including gold, tungsten and salt mining.”

That blatant anti-mining bias taints the rest of the article.

(BTW, it’s a lot easier to “shun” gold, tungsten and salt mines; if you don’t happen to have any gold, tungsten or salt to mine.)

14 posted on 11/25/2012 12:10:48 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: slowhandluke; RLM

“In this case, going solar and getting off the grid is a wise thing to do. Not only is it going to get yet more expensive, it’s probably going to get more unreliable too. “

RLM can speak for himself, but I suspect that his system will go down when the grid goes down, as it costs a lot more to be able to operate in “Island Mode”. So for that capability you need to pay more and likely have at least some batteries - unless you have a way to pull power right from the panels during a blackout (not easy to do, but doable for RLM, since he installed, and therefore understands, the system).


15 posted on 11/25/2012 12:38:09 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: BobL; MV=PY

You’re correct about the grid-tied system going down when the utility power goes off. A system capable of generating A/C during a utility outage is an order of magnitude more complicated to avoid back feeding the grid. The current system is simply to avoid the higher tier penalty for using too much power. And, MV=PY is correct that the grid-tied system uses the grid to maintain phase, and absent any A/C from the grid, a grid-tied system must shut down. Since I have considerable land around my home, and a motorhome parked on the property, I could easily divert the output from the solar panels to sustain batteries and the A/C power in the motorhome indefinitely, by way on the on-board inverter. In fact, the motorhome is parked adjacent to the solar panel array so it would only take a few minutes to make the connection.


16 posted on 11/25/2012 1:15:26 PM PST by RLM
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To: RLM

Yea, I figured you could come up with something. That’s what’s neat about actually doing the work of designing and installing the system (I haven’t, but I wish I could...too many trees around).


17 posted on 11/25/2012 1:20:37 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: FReepers; Patriots

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18 posted on 11/25/2012 1:22:13 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: thecodont

DiFi and the Sierra Club blocked a 500MW solar plant in the Mojave Desert.

The truth is, they don’t want energy solutions, they want people to go away, as though earth “thriving without man” were some utopia to be sought after.


19 posted on 11/25/2012 1:39:52 PM PST by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: RLM

“...and during the winter I bank a couple of kwh per day for cloudy days, or summer use.”

Must be some massive batteries you have. What kind ?


20 posted on 11/25/2012 1:42:37 PM PST by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: slumber1
"There are gonna be screw-ups. There are gonna be bankruptcies. There'll be indictments and there'll be deaths. But we're gonna keep going — and nothing's gonna stop me.

You've just got to like his humility.

21 posted on 11/26/2012 7:06:48 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The Slave Party: advancing indenture since 1787.)
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To: PLMerite

Your correct it does take some massive batteries if solar power is the only source of electrical energy. And I’ve done exactly that in the case of some remote communications site installations. Perhaps I failed to explain that I bank the power as CREDIT with the utility. IOW, any energy I produce in excess of my demand, is credited through a procedure called Net Metering, and reconcilled annually. So I basically bank the excess generated power on the utility books as credit toward consumption. With regard to batteries, Google communications batteries, for battery types and sizes. I’m not currently trying to run my house on backup batteries.


22 posted on 12/09/2012 8:16:20 AM PST by RLM
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