The estimated $1 billion cost pales in comparison to the trillions of dollars being spent battling the coronavirus and its economy-destroying aftermath. But a boondoggle by any other name remains a boondoggle and, even though it takes NV Energy a step closer to complying with Nevada’s nonsensical law that requires utility providers to get at least half the energy they produce from renewables, Gemini Solar is certainly a boondoggle.

Dr. John Lehr, Tom Harris

PJ Media

Gemini Solar: A Billion-Dollar Vegas Boondoggle

On May 11, the Interior Department approved Gemini Solar, the largest solar power project in U.S. history. It is to be built by Arevia Power, a California-based energy group, with backing from Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Nevada’s energy utility NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which will be the customer for the project’s electricity. Gemini Solar will sit on 7,100 acres of public land, the size of 5,369 football fields, in the Mohave Desert, about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The estimated $1 billion cost pales in comparison to the trillions of dollars being spent battling the coronavirus and its economy-destroying aftermath. But a boondoggle by any other name remains a boondoggle and, even though it takes NV Energy a step closer to complying with Nevada’s nonsensical law that requires utility providers to get at least half the energy they produce from renewables, Gemini Solar is certainly a boondoggle.

This ambitious three-year project will never come close to its target of 690 megawatts, enough to power 260,000 homes. And the 900 new construction jobs that the Department of the Interior (DOI) boasts will be created by Gemini Solar will quickly shrink to only 19 full-time workers required to operate the plant once it is completed in December 2023, according to the Reuters news agency.

Studies in Europe show that the cost of renewable energy such as solar raises electricity costs for consumer so much that, for every job created in the renewables industry, two to three are lost in the rest of the economy. So much for DOI’s Casey Hammond’s statement that, “This action is about getting Americans back to work, strengthening communities and promoting investment in American energy.”

That makes no more sense than employing millions of Americans to exercise on stationary bicycles connected to electric generators to make power. At least the bikes would increase our citizens’ fitness and give them long-term jobs. 

The government tells us that a massive 380-megawatt lithium ion battery backup will be included to replace the power the solar plant is not able to generate at night. These batteries supposedly generate no greenhouse gases. Yet, even the left-leaning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) pointed out that “Mining and processing the minerals, plus the battery manufacturing process, involve substantial emissions of carbon.” 

In reality, no batteries exist that could take up the load for long when the sun is not shining. And, if they could, it would take hours or even days to recharge them.

Anyone who thinks all this is a ‘green solution’ must not have seen Michael Moore’s brilliant new documentary Planet of the Humans. The film shows how active solar projects such as Gemini Solar are anything but green. Moore demonstrates that, when one considers the materials that are required to build these massive facilities, they produce huge amounts of toxic waste.

The CBC cites Jennifer Dunn at Northwestern University’s Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience who explained: “the material that helps power the battery is produced from a number of different metals, things like nickel and cobalt and lithium.”

And, of course, China controls most of the lithium and cobalt which are often produced with child labor and near-slave labor, and with practically no health, safety or environmental safeguards. For example, CBC reports that “there have been mass fish kills related to lithium mining in Tibet.” 

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