Exemption for Ivanpah (In the Name of “Renewable Energy”)

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) located in the Mojave Desert, California (Photo courtesy of Brightsourceenergy.com)

The story of the Ivanpah solar plant is a tale of green expectations dwindling away in the Mojave heat. With public support and over $2 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees and federal tax credits, the Ivanpah plant was built as an effort to move public dependency off of fossil fuels onto renewable energy. However, good intentions did not automatically create good results. The inefficient California plant has repeatedly fallen short of production goals.


Unfortunately, the story does not end there. The plant, once destined for green greatness, has also increased its consumption of natural gas and production of greenhouse gas emissions. Essentially, the plant should no longer be counted as a renewable energy producer under California law.


The plant should not be considered “green” for its production of greenhouse emissions, yet it has received an exemption within California’s cap-and-trade program. While other projects and business are held accountable to California’s energy consumption and emission laws, Ivanpah received an exemption. At this point, not only can the Ivanpah plant be added to the list of failed solar projects, it also illustrates the Green Movement’s ability and tendency to move the goal posts around in their favor.


Still, solar energy remains popular with the general public as an effective alternative to fossil fuels. In his article, “More Solar Jobs Is a Curse, Not a Blessing,” Paul Driessen outlines the unfavorable qualities that characterize the Ivanpah plant and many other solar and wind plants in the U.S. With this research widely available to the public, how is it then that legislators, companies, and the citizens in states like California continue to give special exemptions and public funds to projects that fail to meet their own goals?


Somehow, the love of green has overtaken the common sense of certain institutions in society. The Green Movement has found support from the government and public without producing the results they promise. More than that, they have successfully gained support for inefficient projects that are not the best use of public resources. As we look at the actions of the Green Movement at home and across the globe, we can only ask ourselves: what else will the Green Movement do in the name of “renewable energy?”