By Cleantech -
It was about a year ago when the California Energy Commission approved nine solar farms all within a few months in order to make sure those projects could qualify for a federal program that subsidizes 30 percent of their costs. so, where are they now?
We know one of them just received the final regulatory hurdle yesterday despite its high cost. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a power sales contract between Abengoa Solar and Pacific Gas & Electric because it didn’t want to stand in the way of a project that already had gotten all other state and federal permits and a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee.
A lot has changed for many other projects in just one year, and it underscores the difficulties of developing large-scale solar farms. All nine projects proposed to use the sun’s heat to produce steam or hydrogen gas to run equipment that produce electricity. The technology is commonly called solar thermal and is different from the use solar panels (photovoltaic technology).
||Under construction. BrightSource secured a $1.6 billion fed loan guarantee.
||K Road Power
||Under commission view again. K Road, the new owner, wants to use solar panels for bulk of the project.
||Solar Millennium is in the process of selling Blythe to HybridSolar, which will use solar panels instead.
||Same story as above.
|Imperial Valley Solar
||AES Solar Power
||Energy Commission revoked permit at AES’s request. AES wants to use solar panels.
||NextEra Energy Resources
||NextEra also wants to use solar panels but has yet to file paper to declare its intention.
||NextEra Energy Resources
||Under construction. NextEra secured a partial fed guarantee for a $ 852 million loan.
||Construction scheduled to start in 2Q 2012.
||Under construction. Abengoa secured a $1.2 billion fed loan guarantee.
My Take On This:
This is simple. Cause & Effect. There is a simpler long-term cost-effective way of generating energy. Pay a large lump sum once to get it all jump-started, but after that, it is all maintenance and energy generation for free thanks to the sun.
Building solar farms like crazy is not my cup of tea. I am all for urban development. Every home should have at least, its rooftop’s worth of solar panels. Which would at the very least cover energy consumed by air conditioners and more or less help home owners fight off energy costs.
This is particularly true for Puerto Rico where a monthly bill is as follows:
Basic Fee: $28.20
Energy Purchase Fee: $25.69
Fuel Purchase Adjustment: $96.86
And so, in Puerto Rico you pay tons more for gas than you do for the real energy you consume. This of course, raises a lot of questions & concerns about the company’s service. People in general say they are being robbed when asked about it. On top of this all, the company will never clarify how they make the intricate calculations for that fuel adjustment fee. For now, they only claim it is excessively expensive because of an EPA mandate saying they MUST use a low sulfur fuel, establishing a low value and thus, demanding a very expensive fuel.
How does that really translate into a bloated monthly bill? That is beyond this humble blogger. I just smell a at mystery in there… and it ain’t pretty.