A carbon emission-free energy source sounds like a grand idea, assuming it can compete at least somewhat with other sources of energy. When it costs four times as much, however, you’ve got a problem.
NBC Chief Environmental Correspondent Anne Thompson praised a Nevada solar plant that had zero carbon emissions, which she said “was equivalent to taking 20,000 cars off the road a year.”
“The mirrors cover 280 acres and take enough energy from the sun to power 14,000 homes,” Thompson said on the March 13 “NBC Nightly News.” “It is a small part of Nevada's energy portfolio, but one intent on competing with coal and natural gas power plants.”
The power source is at the mercy of nature, counting on plenty of cloudless days, of course. But there’s a larger issue.
“And there is the matter of price,” Thompson said. “The Electric Research Power Institute says this kind of solar power is two to four times more expensive than electricity from natural gas or coal.”
But the solution Thompson put forward wasn’t a market-based solution – one where innovation would make solar power more cost-efficient. Instead she suggested a cap on carbon emissions that would artificially inflate the price of fossil fuel-based energy and force demand for solar and other alternative sources.
“But if there is a cap on carbon emissions, [Accione Energy, NA CEO Peter] Duprey says that could change,” Thompson said.
Duprey said a carbon cap would make coal plants more expensive, and that would force the cost of solar power down because it would draw more focus as an energy resource.
However, such rhetoric from a solar company shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), these companies lobby for a cap-and-trade system in the name of global warming. He referenced a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last year, sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va., that would cap carbon emissions.
“Senators Lieberman and Warner should stop listening to companies that hope to profit from higher energy prices under a cap-and-trade scheme,” Ebell said in a July 2007 CEI release. “Instead, the [U.S.] senators should learn from the European Union’s disastrous experience with its emissions trading system – that a cap-and-trade scheme can be very expensive and still not lower emissions.”
In February, Thompson disregarded economics when promoting the agenda of anthropogenic global warming. She railed against building a coal-fire power plant in Ely, Nev., that would have brought badly needed jobs to the community.