Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2014

Currently: 82° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Solar plant won’t benefit residents

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

In a recent letter, “Reid working to diversify the economy,” Peter Pall defends Sen. Harry Reid’s latest attempt to promote a $5 billion alternative-energy project near Laughlin proposed by a Chinese company, arguing it would be a major factor in solving our unemployment problem.

The jobs created by such a project are mostly temporary construction jobs, gone after the panels are in place, windmills built or whatever.

The Tonopah solar project, financed by a $737 million Department of Energy loan guarantee , is projected to provide 45 permanent jobs ($16 million per job), but it is taxpayer-sponsored.

The second overlooked fact is that the Chinese company could bring its own workers, like the company building a new bridge over the San Francisco Bay.

The main effect the project would have for Nevada residents is the cost of the power it could possibly produce.

The considerably higher cost would be passed on in everyone’s utility bill, causing a real problem for our seniors and low-income residents.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 15 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Thanks to the letter writer for exposing the vast inefficiencies and low yielding job creation of these green solar enegy projects. The insanity of heaping the cost burdens of these projects on taxpayers and rate payers is extreme. It is bad business. Koolaid drinking environmentalists and Leftists embedded in the Obama administration and Reid congress are to blame. May they all go!

  2. Okay, BChap, then why does "green" energy need subsidies? If it's so great, creates such a bonanza in jobs and is nearly competitive in cost to coal, gas & oil, why can't it stand on its own merits? Why aren't guys like you rushing to invest your money in company's such as Solyndra? It's probably because the facts & statistics you bandy about are made up from thin air by those with a vested interest in seeing to it the subsidy spigot is not turned off. Subsidizing "green" energy company's is merely another way to "redistribute" the wealth. Only in this case, it's to favored company's by way of "crony" capitalism. It's unfair, unwarranted and must be put to an end!

  3. There are those whose attention span for climate change extends only until the next power bill arrives. They pretend to know the economic cost of burning fossil fuels by simply extending current prices indefinitely into the future while neglecting the health costs, droughts, tornados, forest fires, etc. They cannot see an easy solution to the problem so they deny it exists and establish a pseudo-belief system to counter all the scientific evidence. If we will only solve problems with easy and painless solutions then we'd better get used to living with severe problems that only get worse --- as long as we can live at all.

  4. Robert Latchford is either confused or deliberately confusing the readers by mentioning two separate solar projects. The Tonopah solar project website here:
    http://www.solarreserve.com/what-we-do/c...
    is interesting reading and Robert could have done so BEFORE writing his letter. But that would have been inconvenient for his purposes now wouldn't it readers?

  5. I think there is a place for solar, and it is not building farms out in the middle of a desert. The solar applications should be onsite based to provide direct electricity to a building to lighten the load of the main power grid. These installations require no transmission line and other expensive hardware. The government could give tax credits to those who invest in their own power making the overall government money given away available to many not just a few. The jobs would be created and more stable as workers go from job to job doing installs instead of one big project then they have no work. The letter writer is basically correct.

  6. My understanding of the agreement is that: the Chinese company is required to build and operate a solar panel production factory in Clark County -- and the details are spelled out in writing in the contract with the County -- or they lose their concession. Is this not true? If this is true, then Mr. Latchford's letter is an Emily Littela Moment: "Oh, that's different. Never mind." On the other hand, maybe, somehow that contract has big holes in its language and our County Staff and Commissioners have been duped. But since the contract was and is a public record, it seems unlikely that no one has noticed anything amiss until now.

  7. Kinks---high initial cost, low number of permanent jobs, the subsidy bug-a-boo, etc---aside, wind, solar and other "green" energy sytems will, in the long run, pan out and be more beneficial than other systems.

  8. Seems like there is an 800lb gorilla in the room. Why are there only companies like Solyndra or Chinese companies that want to get involved in solar energy in Nevada? Why aren't any legitimate US companies getting in the game? (Why isn't Reid supporting any legitimate US companies who want to get in the game?)

  9. boftx,
    Is Bombard Electric legitimate?

  10. rusty57 links to a crank website as if it were credible. Oh well, back to ignoring "rusty57".

  11. An electrical contractor (Bombard) is not the same as the company that actually owns the plants and is getting paid to supply power.

  12. Boftx opens mouth and inserts both feet and both hands:
    http://www.bombardelectric.com/Divisions...

    "Bombard Renewable Energy (BRE), is part of the MDU Construction Services Group, Inc. Bombard Renewable Energy was created as a response to an increase in demand and interest in the Renewable Energy industry. We are committed to providing the solar industry with the qualified service and support necessary to successfully meet and exceed the expectations of our solar partners. The Renewable Energy Division of Bombard Electric has installed over 20 megawatts of solar PV Renewable Energy on over 500 projects in and around the State of Nevada. BRE is also versed on wind power technology and can support our clients in this sector of the Renewable Energy marketplace.
    Bombard Electric's Renewable Energy Division is the result of Bombard Electric's commitment to the successful implementation of Nevada's sustainable next generation "green energy" technologies. We have installed 11 percent of all grid interactive photovoltaic systems introduced in the United States in 2007. To date Bombard Renewable Energy has installed over 20 megawatts of Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Electric Systems in both the public and private sectors. That's more than all other licensed Solar PV contractors in Nevada combined.
    Please add an additional line at the end of this text which reads: to learn more about Bombard Renewable Energy, please visit our website at www.bombardre.com."

  13. Mark, thank you for posting the very passages that define Bombard as a construction contractor and not a plant owner/operator.

    You should go back and research my posts on renewable energy, I'm *in favor* of it. It's the scams going on behind the scenes that piss me off.

  14. For those watching boftx move the goalposts here is his original question:
    "Why aren't any legitimate US companies getting in the game?" Nothing there about plant owner/operator. I am in favor of accuracy boftx.

  15. Sorry Mark, I thought it was obvious that I was talking about owner/operators, the permanent stakeholders. Not trying to move the goalpost at all.