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Another Taxpayer-funded "Green Energy" Company Fails.

With all the talk about a "Green New Deal" and saving the planet from the scourge of fossil fuels, it's only prudent to remember that those pie-in-the-sky "carbon neutral" technologies aren't quite ready yet. As evidence of this, witness the recent bankruptcy of Tonopah Solar Energy, which operated the Crescent Dunes Solar Plant in Nevada.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy was approved by Judge Karen Owens in early December. Tonopah received $737 million in guaranteed loans from the Obama administration. Under the terms of the restructuring is a settlement with the Department of Energy, which will leave taxpayers on the hook for as much as $234.68 million in outstanding debt.

Billed as the first plant to be able to store the sun's energy, Crescent Dunes is a giant solar plant (1,670 acres) with a vast circular array of 10,000 mirrors and was supposed to be able to deliver power 24 hours per day. Crescent Dunes was supposed to be able to store heat from the sun using molten salt to create steam, which would allow it to deliver power whether the sun was shining or not.

But the facility suffered a string of leaks in its hot salt tank, which is a key part of the plant's energy storage system. When the plant was running from 2015-2019, it was selling power at $139 per megawatt-hour (MWh). On average, large solar energy plants today generally sell power for under $30 per MWh.

The plant was expected to deliver 482,000 megawatt-hours each year, but to date, it hasn't produced that much power in its lifetime. When it did operate, the plant was plagued by equipment failures and regular outages. The plant's sole customer, NV Energy, said that Crescent Dunes posed "the most significant risk" to meeting its renewable energy goals.

In the spring of 2019, the plant's hot salt tanks suffered what owners referred to as "a catastrophic failure," and the plant has not run since.

It's yet another reminder that the "carbon neutral" technologies that green activists and leftist politicians are always crowing about don't actually exist yet. Perhaps they will someday, but the American people--and the people of the world, for that matter --cannot afford to keep throwing money at them until they do.

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Title Annotation:INSIDE TRACK
Publication:The New American
Date:Jan 18, 2021
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