Toledo Talk

Solar Field Project

Does anyone here think it's a good idea for the City to commit $5,000,000 over 5 years to install a solar field that will make electric power for about double the cost of what we now have available? What are the benefits?

created by AmericanPie on Sep 24, 2008 at 06:17:33 pm     Comments: 6

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less pollution, and they make power cheaper than coal when you add the one trillion in coal subsidies taxpayers have paid for. The solar field is probably supporting local solar industries, or if not then some other good technology in solar. Its a nice little starter field that could train techs for solar work. Its the first step toward non co2 emitting power generation in Toledo. To realize how important the switch to clean energy is just try to figure out how much cash it would take to move Manhattan a few miles inland, then multiply it by all the U.S. coastal cities. I just hope that the city will run it, and not First Energy. While we already pay just about the highest electric bills in Ohio, and are high ranked in the nation, First Energy is doing a double digit rate increase on their service area.

So a double digit increase in our electric rates for coal and nuclear, but alternative energy installed by edison is limited to raising your bill by 3%.

The cost of coal keeps doubling at a faster and faster rate, coal is even now considered an internationally traded commodity. Coal will double in price due to a sinking dollar , down 35% since Bush and his FraudCo's took over. Solar will soon emerge as a cheaper alternative to coal and nuclear. Wind is already cheaper than even an existing old coal plant that can gush pollutants like mercury and radioactive particles, and lung irritants that cause and promote asthma. There is no accountability in the face of F.E.'s payoff to the bush campaigns , for which they received a several year delay of implementation of the clean air act with regard to their poisonous emissions.

Then there is the water use by the power plant, Bayshore is the biggest killer of fish on the great lakes, no license required, and no penalty paid. So whatever doesn't use Bayshore is of benefit to the fishery to the tune of billions of fish.

Mark the day, and watch how quickly coal doubles in price again, then watch when they finally start having to actually obey the clean air act again. Coal power will go up again in price and so will our rates.

I hope they do a field or two of monster wind turbines too.

Congrats to Toledo for doing this solar project!!! I don't know the details as I've been boating for a while, but its a Good thing.

posted by prime3end on Sep 24, 2008 at 08:04:00 pm     #  

"... coal subsidies taxpayers have paid for."

This proposed $5 million solar panel field project will be paid for by the taxpayers.

From the Sep 22, 2008 Toledo Blade story

Mr. Wilkowski was joined by City Councilman Joe McNamara, who said he would submit a request today to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's administration for an initial $1 million allocation for the project in the city's 2009 capital improvement budget. With $1 million buying about one acre's worth of solar panels, the full five-acre, $5 million field could be financed and built in pieces, said Mr. Wilkowski, who is a lawyer.

Councilman McNamara said this solar project needs to move forward despite the looming general fund operating budget deficit, which might reach $7 million this year at current spending levels.

He said the electricity produced by the solar panels ultimately could save the city money, although it's unclear how much. 'It's projects like this that actually have a payoff to the taxpayer and create jobs that are important,' Mr. McNamara said.

McNamara wants this project to move forward fast before too many people wise up to the fact that it's a waste of taxpayer money.

If built, the proposed five-acre solar field would be among the largest in the area and one of the few large-scale city-owned arrays in the state. The ground-mounted photovoltaic cells would produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or enough to power 112 homes, Mr. Wilkowski said.

That's it?

  • 5 million taxpayer dollars
  • 5 acres of solar panels
  • 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year
  • Enough to power 112 homes

The bullshit spewed by jackasses McNamara and Wilkowski could power more than 112 homes.

If it was really being used to power 112 homes, wouldn't that be like the city giving each homeowner $44,000 to use for electric bills? What's your average electric bill? How many years worth of electricity could you get for $44,000? Over 20 years? What year does this McKowski solar plan begin saving the city money? And how many jobs does this create?

Mathematically, how is this a good thing, prime3end? It's token environmental concern by the government at the taxpayer's expense.

Yeah, Toledo is overflowing with extra money to squander on projects like this. Meanwhile, Toledo city councilman Tom Waniewski said back in July about resolving the street flooding problems that occur after a very heavy rainfall :

"The city has no money I'm told."

posted by jr on Sep 24, 2008 at 09:19:50 pm     #  

I've seen panels with claims of 40 years, but lets say 30 years. With an average bill approaching $100/month that would be 112 x $100 × 12months x 30 years. Now add in the ever increasing costs related to coal, the hundreds of millions in tax subsidies we have already paid to Ohio coal under the language that mandates it in the Ohio constitution, and the death and disease it causes. Then consider that the last doubling in the price of coal happened over 6 or 7 years and the next doubling will probably happen within three or 4 years. Add rate increases for coal and nuclear produced electricity and the solar fields are better than break even by a good bit. Its possible the city of Toledo finally has a leveraged club to use against Toledo Edison's outrageous rate increases caused by corporate greed run so wild that they don't inspect the head of a nuclear reactor even when they know there is a leak. A reactor that sells its power out of our area while we pay for the foul thing. First energy just bought a coal mine in Montana and plans to increase its output 50 fold. That should do a lot for carbon dioxide levels. The financial ripoff of America just jerked funding out from under the nuke industry handouts, so I expect they will be trying to build yet another coal fired plant to make up for the eventual shutdown of Davis Besse. They have the options of;efficiency programs which are the cheapest way to avoid building a new power plant, wind and solar to avoid having to build a new plant, and pushing for the decoupling of profit from electricity sales, as in they'd make more money for selling less power. The latter would require they push efficiency and solar and wind and promote net metering by offering a fair price for power that people put back into the grid. It will be interesting to see what they do.

posted by prime3end on Sep 25, 2008 at 02:43:20 am     #  

under the grand plan to export coal and use it like its good for us, they are literally wiping out a mountain range and ignoring the laws that have been on the books for decades. Bush's Corps of Engineers are breaking the law. All you have to do to get a permit to blow the top off a mountain into the stream below is send the Corps a fax. All so they can export it and so drive up the price. Those evil environmentalists, imagine them wanting someone to obey the law. Interesting that most of the coal comes from mountaintop removal now, while employing only 6 or 800 workers, compared with 29000 regular miners. This is how they have reacted to keep coal cheap, the literally destroy a mountain range. They are approaching 500 mountain tops in Appalachia that they have blown off and to bits to get at the coals seams below. Again, solar and wind are both cheaper when you look at the true and full price of coal.

Coal price hikes likely if mine ruling sticks
Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:41pm EDT

By Steve James

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The price of coal will rise sharply if a U.S. appeals court upholds a ruling restricting surface mining in the Appalachian mountains, analysts and industry observers say.

The battle over surface, or mountaintop, mining resumes in a Virginia court on Tuesday, and one expert said there could even be power shortages and brownouts if the judge sides with environmentalists over the miners.

At the least, several mining companies -- Massey Energy Co, International Coal Group, Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal Corp -- will lose production, said analyst Jeremy Sussman of Natixis Bleichroeder. Those companies have a large number of surface mines in the central Appalachian coal fields.

"If the ruling is upheld, we believe that Appalachian prices could spike," he said. "Producers with a significant amount of surface exposure in Appalachia could get hurt."

Conversely, producers with significantly more underground than surface production, such as Consol Energy, should benefit, Sussman said in a research note.

Jim Thompson, editor of industry newsletter Coal & Energy Price Report, said a restrictive ruling would probably drive up costs for any miner with surface operations in Central Appalachia.

He also warned that higher coal prices could lead to increased electricity prices and a potential for brownouts.

"If you lose a big percentage of (Central Appalachian) production, it would be impossible not to have a severe impact on coal prices and the availability of coal," Thompson said. "It does not change the fact that 50 percent of our electricity comes from coal."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will hear an appeal brought by Massey and the West Virginia Coal Association. Surface mines account for about one-third of coal from West Virginia and half of that from Kentucky.

The court will hear arguments on the March 23, 2007, ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers on a petition filed by a number of groups led by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. The ruling said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not fully evaluated the potential environmental damage before approving permits for mountaintop mining for four mines operated by subsidiaries of Massey.

FROZEN PERMITS

Basically, OVEC contended that the Corps of Engineers had violated the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Since then, the Corps has effectively frozen so-called 404 permits for surface mining.

"We believe that Consol Energy would be the biggest beneficiary if Judge Chambers' ruling is upheld," said Sussman. "Appalachian prices would likely rise as other producers are forced to limit production."

Consol is by far the largest producer in Appalachia, but derived only 4 percent of its 2007 production from surface mining.

By contrast, International Coal Group has 60 percent of production from surface mines, Massey has 47 percent, Alpha 44 percent and Patriot 36 percent, Sussman said.

The National Mining Association, a trade group comprising most of the major U.S. miners, is not a named party in the case, but has filed a "friend of the court" brief.

"We have been in court for many years over challenges to mountaintop mining and have prevailed," said NMA spokeswoman Carol Raulston. "We maintain that the Clean Water Act provides for mountaintop mining, and will continue to press that position."

The United Mine Workers Union is watching the case closely, said spokesman Phil Smith. "Our members just mine the coal, wherever it is, and we press for our members' jobs to be respected."

The UMWA has some 30,000 members, of whom 700 or 800 work in surface mines.

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

posted by prime3end on Sep 25, 2008 at 03:08:01 am     #  

From the Blade story, these asinine comments by Wilkowski and McNamara :

Wilkowski :

"I've said for years that we have to stop being just a cheerleader for solar energy and we have to start doing things to actually move that market forward."

McNamara :

"We design solar panels here, we manufacture solar panels here, we should use solar panels here. If we're the solar capital of the world, we need to have some sort of demonstration of that."

Why are we getting into the marketing business? Why is it the taxpayers responsibility to demonstrate the capabilities of solar power and to move the solar market forward?

The Blade story mentions two local solar companies :

The Toledo-born company First Solar Inc., headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., with its sole U.S. factory in Perrysburg Township, had the fastest-growing stock last year on Wall Street. Toledo's Xunlight Corp. on Nebraska Avenue is another bright spot. The solar panel manufacturer and developer received tens of millions of dollars in investment capital from around the world in recent months.

Does First Solar have a marketing department?

If this 5 acre, $5 million solar panel field project is such a wonderful idea, why doesn't First Solar or Xunlight pay for it 100% themselves? We'll donate the land and maybe minimal cost somewhere, but nearly all the cost for the project would be paid by the local companies. They can use our land as their "little" demonstration garden to market their products, and we'll get some electricity for nearly free. What's wrong with that idea?

From the Blade story :

[Wilkowski] said he was pushing for this solar-field project now rather than later because this week is the deadline for submitting requests for 2009 capital improvement projects.

So why didn't Wilkowski announce this project idea a month ago or three months ago? Did he mention it before, or did he intentionally wait until the week of the deadline for submitting CI requests?

This smells like a political campaign stunt by Wilkowski. If his solar field request makes it into the 2009 proposed budget, he'll use it next year as part of his mayoral campaign. "Look at me, I'm for green energy technology." If the request gets rejected, he'll somehow use it against Carty.

Again, McNamara said :

"It's projects like this that actually have a payoff to the taxpayer and create jobs that are important."
  • How many jobs will this create?
  • What year does the city start seeing savings from this taxpayer-funded project?

Local solar power related companies

posted by jr on Sep 25, 2008 at 05:22:17 am     #  

Remember when we were the glass capitol of the world, well it Does offer bragging rights and a display, but the big point I want to make is that it will be cheaper than coal over the life of the panels.

I don't know much about city politics but would favor the idea and perhaps even find a way for the massively rich company Solar Fields to finance part of it. In fact I'd have all the solar companies in the area contribute panels and give them a place to show off a little, but it also has a payoff.

We supported glass, we should be behind solar because we are a world leader in it and its the way of the future. Add up the tax breaks and other subsidies we gave to corporations who had much less to contribute to the Toledo economy.

I find it troubling that an industry like the solar industry which seems to be exploding with growth rates of probably 50% per year , haven't been embraced by the city as were the glass companies and the companies who decided to leave the city for the burbs. The potential in solar is far greater than all of them combined. Maybe someone should go to Xunlight and ask for the entire output of their first experimental production line. They will eventually want to shut it down for the bigger line they have planned, why not pay what it costs to run about 10 megawatts of panels , ask them to put some employees in training and promise to secure land to plant the things on.
Why not? Because its not nasty coal? I know its not as poisonous as coal smoke to inhale, but we could pretend we were being killed by it.

posted by prime3end on Sep 25, 2008 at 11:15:14 am     #