Saturday, February 21, 2015

How Billionaires Run Solar Plant Scams

At the recent inauguration of the Desert Sunlight solar farm, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell stated, “This is the beginnings of a renewable energy future.”

Let’s hope she is wrong, because the Desert Sunlight project is cronyism at its worst. This project involves $1.5 billion of subsidized loans. It also mandated purchases of overpriced power, all to benefit the project’s owners. And don’t think those owners are struggling mom-and-pop operations. Instead, they’re three of the world’s largest corporations—GE (market capitalization of $247 billion), NextEra Energy (market capitalization of $47 billion) and Sumitomo Corporation (market capitalization of $13 billion).

Here’s how the scam works. It begins with proposing to build a solar plant. But solar plants take up a lot of land. Gosh, that can be expensive. So, the government rents them the land at bargain prices.

The next problem is that solar plants are outrageously expensive, which is why real capitalists tend to shy away from solar energy. Luckily for the aspiring political crony, the government will...
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