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Obama Awards Nearly $2 Billion For Solar Power

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the proactively-cleaning-up-sunlight-spills dept.

The Almighty Buck 514

crimeandpunishment writes "President Obama says it's time to heat up solar power, and he's willing to spend a big chunk of federal money to do it. Saturday the president announced the government is giving nearly $2 billion to companies that are building new solar plants in Arizona, Colorado, and Indiana. The president says this will create thousands of jobs and increase our use of renewable energy."

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514 comments

Can somebody say (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785548)

Drunken sailor?

Re:Can somebody say (0, Flamebait)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785636)

Drunken sailors stop spending when they run out of money.

Re:Can somebody say (5, Insightful)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785706)

The defence budget for the current war is around 480 billion dollars per year, so it's the equivalent of two day's budget for the war to be spent on something that may eventually reduce the number of wars.
Money well spent, all drunken sailors should be so wise.

Re:Can somebody say (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785764)

The defence budget for the current war is around 480 billion dollars per year, so it's the equivalent of two day's budget for the war to be spent on something that may eventually reduce the number of wars.

How exactly does subsidizing solar power prevent Muslims from crashing airliners into skyscrapers or suicide bombing nightclubs in Bali?

Re:Can somebody say (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785870)

How exactly does subsidizing solar power prevent Muslims from crashing airliners into skyscrapers

But more importantly, subsidizing solar power research means people can import less energy. Reduced global demand for petroleum reduces the market power and therefore political power of countries that harbor Islamist crusaders like the ones who committed a mass murder-suicide in New York on 2001-09-11.

Re:Can somebody say (2, Insightful)

abarrow (117740) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785878)

Okay, you started it:

How exactly does invading countries of mostly peaceful Muslum people make them less likely to do such things.

(with solar power... just to stay on topic)

Re:Can somebody say (2, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785894)

I don't think we went to war over the bali incident, and they don't bomb your skyscrapers as much when you stop killing their families for oil.

Re:Can somebody say (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785902)

Follow the money. From your wallet, into the gas pump, and from there onwards.

Eventually some of it ends up going to terrorists.

Re:Can somebody say (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785906)

America doesn't need so much oil so the US doesn't prop up pro-US tinpot dictators in oil rich countries.
The people in those countries then don't get shit on so much by the US and so are less likely to be pissed off and violent towards the US.

Re:Can somebody say (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785836)

Subsidizing non-economical power generation is not money well spent. If anything they should have given an extra 2 billion to NIF or the DOE's Gen IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative(which is only requesting 200 million for 2010).

Re:Can somebody say (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785888)

Agree totally!
You're right, that's even better with an even brighter future if fusion ever (and it will!) pays off.

Re:Can somebody say (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785892)

It MAY reduce the number of wars! This is the same sort of rationalization that addicts make. In this case it's a government that is addicted to spending money (on a foolish 'solution' in this case). It seems to be their answer to every problem.

Loan guarantees (4, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785908)

He's actually not spending any money. The companies building solar power are taking loans for $2B and probably expect to make a profit.

Re:Can somebody say (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785772)

It's folksy economic "wisdom" like that may yet lead us back into recession. Until jobs come back, we can either pay people to build things with long-term value, or we can pay them to sit at home.

Re:Can somebody say (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785826)

Financing private sector: the long term value seems less important than short term bonuses to high management.

Need examples? :D

You want long term value? finance the installation of solar panels at home. Same or more temp jobs for construction, no 85 jobs, but no bill for the families. In spain they would likely provide cheap electricity to the neighborhood.

Re:Can somebody say (1)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785846)

I don't know too much about the US, but my understanding was that if you have no income and no money, then that doesn't get you anything from the government. If it weren't for private charity, people with no income would die from starvation or exposure. In that case there isn't a notion of paying people to sit at home, though perhaps I'm wrong when I think that the government in the US doesn't give money to people with no other income. Am I?

Re:Can somebody say (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785910)

You're correct. Any welfare money tends to come with strings attached and is unreliable as a substantial portion of the populace believes fully that nobody ever had bad luck. If you're poor, then it's because you were lazy or incompetent and that they shouldn't be required to help out. Farming all those essential services to nonprofits means that portions of the needy just don't get anything at all. If it isn't a popular cause chances are you'll get precisely zip in terms of support.

What's really fucked up is that if you're abused as a child, they'll send the abuser to prison if caught, but the actual support given is pretty minimal and it's a pretty good bet that people are going to look the other way.

This is a similar deal, people gripe about fuel prices and terrorism, but they don't want to actually pay for the measures needed to deal with it. Folks are all for change, but they don't want to pay for it, and they don't want the upper classes to pay their fair share.

Re:Can somebody say (-1, Flamebait)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32786012)

Your a f'n idiot.

You're correct. Any welfare money tends to come with strings attached and is unreliable as a substantial portion of the populace believes fully that nobody ever had bad luck.

1). I've been on welfare, so I am speaking from experience.
2). They limit the time your allowed on it. You stupid cunt, if people don't have to get off welfare at some point. They never will try to. They never will look for further education to get a better paying job, they never will even look for jobs.
3). Again, you stupid cunt. You get better fucking health benefits when your on welfare then working families do.
Again you dumb mother fucking asshole, I have been on welfare and this is from personal experience and not reading some cunt media outlet like faux news so don't give me your lame attempt to try to pass the buck.
Typical fucking liberal response. Fucking cunt. Why don't you just fuck off and die.

Re:Can somebody say (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785934)

For unemployment at least, you just need to "prove" youre trying to get a job, then you can get free money. Proving it involves picking up applications and calling some hotline or going online and inputting where you went.

Re:Can somebody say (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785990)

also this is not supposed to last indefinitely... once a given time period is up you then have to qualify for welfare which is more difficult to qualify for. Once again they try to keep tabs on you to make sure youre looking for a job, I'm not sure how the time limits work for that one.

Re:Can somebody say (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32786008)

You forgot something. For unemployment, you have to have been employed, and as such, paying unemployment *Insurance* premiums.

Generally we frown on insurance policies that try to take the money and run.

For some reason, though, that seems to be exactly what the Republicans want the Feds to do with the UI insurance programs.

Re:Can somebody say (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785864)

Let's give our tax / borrowed money to a South African corporation, Since we have no manufacturing capability here.

Re:Can somebody say (1, Troll)

mikerz (966720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785940)

I would be more inclined to call neo-Keynesian welfare economic wisdom folksy in the sense that everyone is taught FDR took us out of the Great Depression with the New Deal and WW2 (which is just wrong - check out the depression that never was: 1920).

Regardless of the existence of jobs, any variation from what people actually want can be considered wasteful; private or public. You're right that jobs are important and in demand; but to just create them is to treat the symptoms rather than cure the cause.

Keynes himself said that all government spending turns into inflation and that any public spending, to be at all effective, *must* be unexpected.

Re:Can somebody say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32786002)

It's folksy economic "wisdom" like that may yet lead us back into recession.

"Back into recession"? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

NEWSFLASH!!! We're going into depression......a recession would be an improvement.

Re:Can somebody say (5, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785794)

Yeah, because BP spending $27B for a one-time oil spill is money much better spent than $2B in a long term strategy which might prevent such future catastrophes... and even that pales in comparison to the loss of life and incredible expense of continued efforts to do whatever it is that the U.S. is doing deployed in oil-rich countries.

Don't blame the current administration. The previous administration takes a lot of blame, but going much further back there were errors all along the way which could be easily forseen. The truth is that there are a lot of people who simply don't give a F- as to what happens to the people who are going to be living with the results 20 years from now. The bad decisions which made people wealthy 20 years ago are being paid for by the people today. And the bad decisions of today won't be paid for another 20 years.

I swear that there are some people in this world who simply disagree with political policy because they didn't vote for it, and form their opinions about what affects their immediate well-being. Choosing not to see the problem doesn't make it go away, it just makes it all the harder to deal with for the generation which will inherit the problems 20 years from now.

If you think that $2B on solar is a waste, what do you think a better policy is for a sustainable future? Solar is not the answer... but it's part of the answer.

Re:Can somebody say (3, Insightful)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785958)

I think we should be spending more on alternative energy YEARS ago unfortunately the problem is that the Obama administration has show no fiduciary responsibility spending on EVERYTHING under the sun (no pun intended) with no viable funding stream to pay for it - they spent $3B on the cash for clunkers program for heavens sake !

Re:Can somebody say (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785994)

If it were the answer, it would already be happening. That 2 billion just created a solar energy bubble.

In other news (0, Troll)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785554)

Obama funds massive solar powered money printing machine....

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785592)

Dear Mr Obama,

Thank you for listening to Bill Gates and the corporations who asked you to help fund their research into alternative power. They obviously need to keep the billions they get from ripping us off to spend on more important ventures like keeping US corporate IP rights protected in the third world. Please remember that they asked for $13 billion and not the measly $2 billion you're giving them. I hope you can close a few hospitals or schools to find the rest soon.

Yours sincerely

The People.

Re:In other news (1, Insightful)

MathiasRav (1210872) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785678)

Bill Gates doesn't care about US corporate IP rights anymore, he cares about his legacy as a philanthropist.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785942)

Do you mean his 'goodwill' tours of the third world where he gives away tens of millions for drugs and education?
That is ALL about US corporate IP. The money for drugs is on the condition that they don't buy copied
(cheaper) drugs from Pakistan and other countries that violate US patents.

He is as much a philanthropist as the street corner dealer giving away free heroin to get you hooked.

Re:In other news (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785950)

Exactly. When you're rich enough, you start to want to whitewash all the evil you did to get that rich using all that money you have from being, well, evil. I'm not sure why they try though, it doesn't work ... it's not like people have forgotten how evil Rockefeller was. No one is going to erase from history the damage that the windows monopoly did to the computing industry, or the lives that that ruined or ended.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785844)

Oh, yeah, Bill Gates and his 'legacy', 'philanthropy', etc. Gimme a break.

Some legacy:
http://uppitywoman08.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/microsoft-caught-exploiting-child-labor-in-china-gee-what-a-surprise/ [wordpress.com]

Oh, heck, just google "Microsoft China child slavery" to get some real insight, etc.

And don't get me started on his 'donations' (i.e. investments in big pharma, to reap the profits) about 'malaria research, etc., etc.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785974)

Your quote does not belong to Sun Tzu. If it is a translation of one of his teachings then it must be translated again because it is too thin to approximate any of his teachings.

$20,000 per home? (5, Insightful)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785568)

Abengoa Solar, a unit of the Seville, Spain-based engineering company, will receive a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to build a solar-power plant in Arizona that will create 1,600 construction jobs and 85 permanent jobs, according to White House documents released in conjunction with Obama’s address.
The power plant will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and generate enough energy to power 70,000 homes, Obama said.

1.45billion to power 70,000 homes.
That's $20,000 per home?

Re:$20,000 per home? (1, Troll)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785618)

...or $906,250 per job!

Re:$20,000 per home? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785722)

"Dollar per job" figures such as yours are pure absurdity. All you are doing is dividing the total cost of the project by the number of salaries paid by the project. By that measure, the most efficient "job creation" program is... wait for it... welfare, because there are almost no costs other than paychecks. Back in the world of real projects, you can't get stuff done for just the cost of labor. You can't remodel your kitchen for just the price of a handyman, and you can't build a road for just the cost of road workers. Of course, all the money for materials, supplies, insurance, etc. does go to pay somebody.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0, Troll)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785802)

Welfare doesn't create jobs...

Re:$20,000 per home? (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785962)

Sure it does, it creates the job of cashing your welfare check. And you get paid well for it. And you are totally missing the point of the GP.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0, Troll)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785626)

Abengoa Solar, a unit of the Seville, Spain-based engineering company, will receive a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to build a solar-power plant in Arizona that will create 1,600 construction jobs and 85 permanent jobs, according to White House documents released in conjunction with Obama's address. The power plant will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and generate enough energy to power 70,000 homes, Obama said.

1.45billion to power 70,000 homes.
That's $20,000 per home?

And 85 jobs. Don't forget the 85 jobs. 1.45B for 85 jobs. Are you against economic recovery? I bet you pirate music too.

Re:$20,000 per home? (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785642)

Well at least the families in those 75,000 homes won't have to worry about their electric bills for- wait, what? That's not how it works?

Re:$20,000 per home? (3, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785988)

Actually, that is exactly how it works. Solar power customers can predict with very high certainty what their future electric bills will be, because the costs are known. Coal generated or natural gas generated power customers, OTOH, can only hope that their electric bill won't skyrocket due to fuel scarcity or carbon emissions laws.

So no, solar power isn't free. But it is reliably priced.

Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (5, Interesting)

stomv (80392) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785646)

What is the total cost of install and operation for 50 years for the solar project? What is it for a nuclear plant? A coal fired plant? The solar power plant likely has a higher construction and installation cost, but it likely has a lower operating cost.

I don't know the answers to the questions I'm raising -- but I do think that simply asking "That's $20,000 per home?" isn't the question which yields the most useful answer.

P.S. It's a loan guarantee. $1.45B is the upper limit on how much it will cost the taxpayers. The lower limit is $0.

Re:Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785720)

P.S. It's a loan guarantee. $1.45B is the upper limit on how much it will cost the taxpayers. The lower limit is $0.

It really doesn't take a genius to accurately predict how much it is actually going to cost.

Re:Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (4, Informative)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785854)

If they make it and produce electricity, then they will have to repay this loan over the years. So, unless the company screws up very badly or unless the the Sun turns off, in the end this will cost tax payers exactly $0.

Re:Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785922)

>> unless the the Sun turns off

I'm pretty sure this would be covered under a sunset clause in the loan documentation.

Re:Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (2, Informative)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785880)

One of the riskiest classes of loan guarantee made by the feds is for nuclear power plant construction.

Those loans are expected to have a 50% default rate [motherjones.com].

Solar's a bit less risky than that -- far less likely to have cost overruns or construction problems. Generally the government does not price risk high enough, but that doesn't mean they lose every dollar they guarantee. Most of it gets payed back.

Re:Is that a lot? I'm not sure. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785832)

Shush. Don't rain on their parade. They want to believe it's a gross injustice. Logic just gets in the way.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785662)

It's hard to believe solar panels have a lifetime of over 10 years. What is the replacement cost of all this stuff?

Notice how the Republican response uses the tired old saw that "future generations" will pay for the $13 trillion in national debt. Financial Reckoning Day will come in the next 5 years or so... So anyone planning on being around then, this is you.

Re:$20,000 per home? (3, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785740)

Even thin film panels generally last >15 years (and they are still working, really, after that, just not putting out as much power.)

Mono-Si generally is in the 20-30 year range.

As far as replacement costs go, 15 years is a very long time now that the Si crunch is over, so the panels that replace the ones that are installed today should be considerably cheaper. Solarbuzz tracks Mono-Si retail prices here [solarbuzz.com].

Re:$20,000 per home? (3, Informative)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785936)

These plants will not use panels at all, so this seems off point. They will use mirrors to focus the radiation onto pipes of flowing molten salts that then transfer the heat to turbines or to storage. Solar panels are improving steadaly and need investment so as to continue to improve as all technology that gets the R&D improves in theis day and age, ...in leaps and bounds...but they have nothing at all to do with the power plants being built. And mirrors are pretty well done technology, although the corrosion factor has been an issue I believe because of all the salt perhaps.

Re:$20,000 per home? (-1, Troll)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785668)

That's $20,000 per home?

That's not even half of it. They'll need another loan to build the nuclear plant to power them at night.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785824)

This is absolutely false. The current technology uses mediums that collect and retain the heat, Molten salt being the current best option I believe, and allow the plant to produce electricity even well after the sun sets....even up to a week
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-use-solar-energy-at-night
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy#Molten_salt_storage

Re:$20,000 per home? (1)

gorgonite (79857) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785984)

This is not correct. Thermal solar power can store heat for the night. Probably you should learn a little before mistreating small helpless screen pixels like that.

Re:$20,000 per home? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785686)

That's right, energy costs money! For example, a single automobile that lasts 150,000 miles and gets 20 mpg of $3 gas will cost $22,500 over its lifetime.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785804)

That's right, energy costs money! For example, a single automobile that lasts 150,000 miles and gets 20 mpg of $3 gas will cost $22,500 over its lifetime.

Since I expect the car to last 250000 miles and get a little better than 20mpg, i'll call that $33000 worth of gas. A decent 250000 mile car will cost about $30,000 plus maybe $5000 in maintenance. Total budget is $68000, or 27 cents per mile. That's not bad. The IRS says it costs 55 cents per mile.

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785710)

Well, I suppose, but the price of the sun does not go up, does it?

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785754)

Abengoa Solar, a unit of the Seville, Spain-based engineering company

Outsourcing again.

Re:$20,000 per home? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785766)

The solar power plant does not cost much to run, so almost all of the energy cost is the installation. So that is $20000/home for many years of power, plus the jobs...

Re:$20,000 per home? (2, Interesting)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785768)

Erm... you and title = fail.

How the hell is a LOAN = "gives money to" ?

The bank loaned me half-a-million to buy my house, they sure as hell didn't GIVE me half a million and if I don't make my payments on that loan you can bet your short-and-curly's they'll take my house.

Government loans to help large projects with long-term profitability get founded is not unusual in the world and has on many occasions been critical to getting projects done. Corporations have a massive problem justifying a short-term large expense with slow long-term profits.
But such projects can be important investments in needed infrastructure, so governments find ways to help justify it. One way which America did with most telephone companies was to say "spend the money - and we'll give you a monopoly on selling telephone services"... how did that work out for you ?

Now "here's a LOAN, that way the expense is ALSO long-term just like the profits so you have no reason not to do it and you have access to the capital" may actually be a MORE free-market solution to a problem the free-market is utterly incapable of solving without intervention.
Somebody has to make the investment for any large infrastructure project to happen. Individuals - want to be sure of a return in their lifetime. Corporations want to be sure of a return at the next stockholder meetings. That leaves pretty much -government.

There is one OTHER way - that is when you live in a culture that things doing awesomely cool projects for the hell of doing it is so great that everybody will be happy to invest KNOWING they will never see a return. England once ruled half the world because they thought like that. They built great bridges and ships and towers not because there was any chance of making money but "for queen and country".
America simply won't build a great bridge (or solar power station) for President and Country - it doesn't fit in your culture's way of thinking at all. So you get to choose HOW government will intervene, not IF... unless you choose to never again make any noteworthy progress as a nation in the fields of engineering and infrastructure (in case you were wondering THAT is a very efficient way to become a very poor nation very very fast).

Re:$20,000 per home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785774)

A $200 monthly power bill is fairly average there given all the AC. Figure $2,400 per year, I had $300 bills at times when I lived there and I had a small house so I'd say even 3 grand a year wouldn't be out of line. Figure $24,000 to $36,000 over 10 years. So even factoring in operating costs you are making money after 10 to 15 years. Decommissioning it involves a bulldozer and you don't have to store waste or tear down mountains to get the fuel. Now how is this impractical? It's an investment in an established technology.

Gross mischaracterization (5, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785800)

1.45 billion is a LOAN. If the Spanish company takes the money and runs, the feds are on the hook for it. If they take the money and default after they complete the project, the feds are on the hook for the money, but we get the project. If they don't default, the feds are on the hook for $0.

The 1.45 billion is not part of the budget, it is not being paid by tax payers at this point, it is a loan from a bank (not the feds) that the feds are insuring.

Increased power consumption is a fact of life in the US today. You can either invest in Nuclear (assuming you could get it okayed) for $3-5 billion; a coal solar park for $1.45 billion; or a coal plant for about $1 billion even. In any case, the feds are going to have their ass on the line for the project, and IMO, increasing the risk by 450 million is well worth it for not having to deal with the ramifications of yet more coal plants.

-Rick

Re:$20,000 per home? (2, Informative)

gorgonite (79857) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785884)

yes, and at an interest rate of 3% (lets just assume that, we have a low risk loan here) that's $50 per month and home. That's still a large number, but if you add the other positive effects like job creation and technology build-up this not a "drunken sailor" invest. Just as a remainder: Iraq and Guantanamo for example, these are drunken sailor activities.

Re:$0 per home? (1)

garyrich (30652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785898)

It's a $1.45B LOAN GUARANTEE, not cash money. Unless they default on the loan it only costs imaginary money.

More (solar) power to his elbow... (1, Insightful)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785572)

Good: I'm in favour of vastly increasing the proportion of solar in the energy mix.

Rgds

Damon

Re:More (solar) power to his elbow... (2)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785716)

I am too, but 70,000 homes is not "vastly increasing" anything.

And why isn't the government paying my electric bill? I don't live in any of those states.

Re:More (solar) power to his elbow... (2, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785780)

And why isn't the government paying my electric bill? I don't live in any of those states.

Who did your state vote for in the 2008 election?

Last time I checked... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785576)

Wind power offered way more bang for the buck, in fact it was the only really contender with traditional energy sources. Has anything changed, or is the government still being stupid with our money?

Re:Last time I checked... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785616)

Has anything changed, or is the government still being stupid with our money?

What do you mean "our money"? It's the government's money! Now STFU you right-wing, racist, Fox News watching, Glenn Beck worshiping fascist!

Re:Last time I checked... (0, Troll)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785758)

Well then, the government can start doing my job then if it's their money. I'd love to see the bureaucrats design and develop rapid software solutions. ;)

What a mistake (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785672)

The 2 billion SHOULD HAVE GONE TO GEO-THERMAL AND SOLAR THERMAL. Look, one of the smartest things that Obama can do is to increase AE, as well as push for electric cars. That is good. The problem is that AE, in wind and solar PV, already has massive backing. OTH, Solar Thermal has some real potential. In particular, collectors should be added to thermal systems. That would allow these to be used 100% for dropping the use of coal/natural gas. OTH, when building a new solar thermal plant, half to 2/3 of the collectors are used for during none sun times. But that adds a lot of expense to solar thermal.

Likewise, Geothermal has minor amounts of funds. Yet, we are on the edge really getting it cheap. Why? Potter drilling and Foro Energy. Both are working on spallation approaches to drilling (hydro and laser). In addition, there is a REAL simple and relatively inexpensive way to get to geo-thermal. Basically create tax breaks, or even subsidies, to continue drilling down on dry wells. Many wells are exploratory and will be dry wells. These are typically at around 8-10K feet. But, we offer up breaks/subsidies to continue down to hot areas so that the well is not a total bust for the drilling company. Most of the Geo-thermal area is around 12-16K. That is expensive if you are starting from the surface. But if you are starting from a well at 5-10K, then it is relatively cheap. And from the drilling companies POV, they would very much like to make money in places that they drill. If they can not have oil/natural gas, they will be excited to have 10-50 MW geo-thermal power.

Re:What a mistake (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785912)

Government cann't just throw money at an idea - there needs to be an offer, a company that has the base work and created a viable design and a business plan. It would also be good to have a pilot in place and working. So - go fund a company, get some VC funding, get smart people together, make a design, a business plan and a pilot and THEN go to both banks and government and VCs for the big lump sums for the actual construction funding. That is what the solar companies did.

Re:What a mistake (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32786010)

Abound Solar got its original money from the state of Colorado. The Solar Thermal plant being proposed in AZ, gots its original money from the state of Az. Basically, these companies are living far far more on gov. funding then are the suggestions that I had.

In my case, there are multiple companies that create collectors. So, by lending the money to Thermal power plants for collectors, and requiring that it be from nations/company not dumping, it means that MULTIPLE companies are helped out. Likewise, by doing the geo-thermal approach that I suggested, the drilling company already has skin in the game (lots of it), and are simply being given enough to continue drilling to a depth in which they will hit geo-thermal levels. Then for less costs of processing oil, they can add electrical generators and get power. Heck, if these companies were smart, they would combine those units with some solar collectors. The solar Collectors can bump up the temps and increase the efficiencies.

Jobs (0, Troll)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785674)

The unfortunate reality of this is that the "thousands of jobs created" is, at best, an overestimation and would really only open the opportunity to a small number of people. Jobs like these are very highly skilled and specialized which might re-employ about 2%-5% of the approximately 25 million unemployed. In the grand scheme of things, only a politican could celebrate this. Jobs need to be created across the socio-economic stratem in order for there to be meaningful economic recovery. Even if we looked at the rosiest side of this claim, the only people getting full time, permanent employment would be the solar engineers. The installers and the IT professionals would most likely be outsourced or hired as temporary, project labor. Thus, once the project is completed, we are only marginally better off economically. This is certainly not to say that we will being do our ailing planet a very large favor! But let's call a spade, a spade. We are not really helping our economy but helping the planet!

Re:Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785742)

So what you're saying is that the unemployed have obsolete skillsets, and probably should be spending their time out of work learning new ones so that they can find jobs?

Re:Jobs (4, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785812)

I heard laying one brick would not a house build, so I gave up.

After a week of binge drinking to drown my sorrows, I finally went home only to find my neighbor's brick house completed. To this day I couldn't figure out how he did it; magic faeries wished the house into existence perhaps?

Re:Jobs (1, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785972)

"[G]reen growth ... leads the government in strange directions. For example, with public money very tight, the government has halted private-sector, tax-generating airport investments in favor of tax-consuming rail spending. As Spain is discovering the hard way, more green jobs means fewer real ones."

(--Rupert Darwall, "Britain Tries Fiscal Austerity", the Wall Street Journal, 29 Jun 2010)

Re:Jobs (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785978)

So, what you're saying is, unless Obama can come up with one single, perfect jobs solution that will blanket "the socio-economic stratem" with high-paying, permanent positions, there's absolutely no point in doing anything at all.

Uhuh.

May I introduce you to the Nirvana fallacy [wikipedia.org].

Loan vs. Grants. (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785730)

These are loans, not give away money. I am fine with that. Obama's 1'st years and W' 8 years did trillions of give away dollars all based on deficits. This is the feds lending the money at a low rate. The 2 billion loan will probably cost us around 100 million long-term. In fact, the smartest thing that Obama/congress can do is to lend the money to state and local entities to build out projects. Had they done that originally, then we would have a pretty low debt down the road (though with the potential to have much higher).

Re:Loan vs. Grants. (1)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785946)

If I understand how this works (this is similar to federally backed student loans and small business loans I'm assuming), I'm okay with offering a company loan backing (though I'm not okay with the misleading title). But, aren't there U.S. companies that can do this kind of work? Using Abengoa as a consultant would be fine--you know, teach a man to fish and all that--but to build the plants? Are they required to use Abound as the panel provider? And when the plants are built, who owns and runs those plants? 85 new jobs are nice... but more importantly, where do the profits go?

Limits of executive power (0, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785732)

I remember the good old days, when Congress would appropriate money for projects. When, exactly, did Presidents get signing authority on the national checkbook?

Nevermind that Spain's experiment with subsidizing solar power is one of the causes of their looming fiscal insolvency. Let's follow them down the path to ruin. Yay!

Re:Limits of executive power (1)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785856)

I remember the good old days, when Congress would appropriate money for projects. When, exactly, did Presidents get signing authority on the national checkbook?

The president is spending from the checkbook on an account created for him by Congress. This is the stimulus bill money from last year for which there was an immediate need. "Immediate"' is clearly not what it once was.

Re:Limits of executive power (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785938)

Nevermind that Spain's experiment with subsidizing solar power is one of the causes of their looming fiscal insolvency.

And now to break out that classic Slashdot trope: Citation needed.

Same asshats playing you for fools (0, Troll)

UziBeatle (695886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785756)

  These are the same asshats (feds run by leftist expletives) that
pumped nearly half a billion dollars into Tesla, the electric car company.

  According to Ed Wallace of http://www.insideautomotive.com/ [insideautomotive.com] (he has a radio program where he
went on at length about Tesla car company today)
This outfit is in over its head 300,000 dollars in per car for cars they expect to sell for some 120k or there abouts.
  They claim to expect to sell 20,000 units per year. To date they have only sold some few 1000.

  Bottom line according to MY reading of what Mr Wallace said is that this company is a shill and sham
that will accomplish taking money from foolish investors that came late to the game and US Taxpayers who
as we can all bear witness appear to be fools as well.

    Further reading on the sham Tesla TSLA electric cars:
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/07/01/behind-the-hype-on-tesla/ [cnn.com]

    Expect no less from this expenditure of YOUR money.. (assuming you are a American taxpayer).

      I recommend anyone take a listen to his show when it is on Saturday AM.
      Great site for talk show junkies is http://streamingradioguide.com/radio-shows-on-air.php [streamingradioguide.com]
     

Re:Same asshats playing you for fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785830)

Problem here is that they talk and rant and rave, but do nothing to solve the problem.

Re:Same asshats playing you for fools (1)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785872)

OK what the hell does the Tesla electric car have to do with a solar power plant?

Tesla, brought to you by (1)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32785900)

Tesla is brought to you by the same people who brought us PayPal and SpaceX.
Except that they appear to have been subsidized with federal tax taxpayer money (something I despise) they could be good people doing a good/hard thing at the wrong time. I suspect that if the fed-govt wasn't so expensive these days that Tesla could stand on its own.

Nuclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32785778)

Why not just build more nuclear plants? Nothing speculative about them at all.

What we're NOT paying is equally important (5, Insightful)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 3 years ago | (#32786004)

Folks are making points about the money spent, or loaned actually, but what is saved is just as valuable. Less $ on oil wars, oil cleanup, medical costs associated with pollution, retraining for lost jobs due to spills ruining livelihoods. And then there's the savings that are less about money but perhaps even more important. Like fewer fouled beaches, saved species, oh and that global climate change thing. The calculations for this kind of investment really need to be more wise and less driven by simpleminded ideology if you ask me.

Jobs created? (5, Interesting)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32786006)

I'm always puzzled at this notion that if you allocate money to some project, and as a result that project hires somebody to do a job, then you've created a job. I suppose it is true if we compare what you've done to keeping that money in a mattress. However, if you put it in a bank then the bank is going to invest the money which will move that money into the hands of someone who is doing something with it. That "doing something" is likely going to entail hiring someone at some point. So it mostly doesn't matter how you allocate money: it's mostly always going to create jobs. The government is taking money from people through taxes, thereby preventing those people who originally held the money from putting that money somewhere where it could create jobs - like putting it in the bank, investing it or perhaps just buying sodas. So the government doesn't directly create jobs by allocating money to a project, since jobs would have been there anyway by not collecting that money through taxes in the first place.

Now the economy is not a zero sum game, so it may still sometimes be a good idea to have the government redistribute money to projects that will benefit the country or humankind in the long term, e.g. where those projects wouldn't obtain funding otherwise because the benefits of the project are external and won't be enjoyed directly by the person undertaking the project. Perhaps this project will do that, and perhaps in benefiting us all it will even indirectly create many more jobs than those that are directly necessary for carrying out the project. What I'm puzzled by is just the idea that the direct employees of the project represent "jobs created" when a similar number of jobs would likely exist anyway if the project never existed. I guess the most you can say is that jobs have been created in one state/town/place by removing a similar number of jobs from other states/towns/places, and that is a benefit to the place that is receiving those jobs. So a politician presenting such a project will want to focus on the benefit of jobs created in one place and downplay the harm of removing those jobs elsewhere.
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