Republicans want to cut funding to a federal loan guarantee program meant to spur growth in the renewable energy field. If those cuts are made one major solar project in Tonapah could be lost. We talk with the head of the company developing the project, a Nye County Commissioner and the Tonopah Town Manager about potentially losing a large solar project in Nevada.
Joani Eastly, Nye County Commissioner James Easton, Tonopah Town Manager Michael Whalen, CFO, SolarReserve
While I understand the importance of new jobs in communities like Tonopah, the plain truth is that most green technologies are not yet ready for prime time - and subsidizing them will only prolong their inability to compete with other power sources. Remember, a basic law of economics is that when one subsidizes something, one gets more of it. In this case we would get more *inefficient* solar projects, for the subsidy will eliminate any financial incentive to create *efficient* solar projects. Can America afford jobs that exist *only* because the government is subsidizing them with our tax dollars or debt? Please, let the free market sort this out so that we'll have abundant green energy at low prices, and jobs that are based on productivity instead of handouts.
Believe me, if a solar project in Tonopah was such a good idea financially, private enterprise would enthusiastically provide the loan guarantees or funding that Solar Reserve wants from the government (i.e. taxpayers). Indeed, what Tonopah really needs is more mining, for the economics of that are quite good.Tom H. –Feb 22, 2011 17:51:50 PM
The idea that new renewable technologies should compete against old non-renewable technologies without "subsidies." is nonsense. Coal, nuclear, oil and gas all get federal subsidies of various kinds and have done so for years. Moreover, to build new power plants you need lots of water, whereas the Tonopah plant will use little water. So let's stop pretending that new made-in-America technologies shouldn't get some boost especially when both old energy continues to receive taxpayer largesse and our companies have to compete with subsidized Chinese renewable technologies.Ed –Feb 26, 2011 09:55:37 AM