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Google — the bird killing green rent seekers

Posted By Joanne Nova On September 27, 2014 @ 1:00 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

This week the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, called people who oppose green energy subsidies “liars”.

Mr. Schmidt said: “And the people who oppose it (climate change) are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

Meanwhile, Google uses mostly non-renewable fuel to power its operations, but has “pledged $1.5billion” to fund renewables. It has invested millions into solar panel plants that are “bird-fryers” — literally roasting birds in the sky. These investments mostly occur in states with renewable-mandates, would not survive without taxpayer funding, qualify for tax credits, and require infrastructure (like transmission lines) that electricity consumers or governments have to fund.

Wall St Journal

Google Kills Birds

The mercenary motives behind Eric Schmidt’s appeal to green virtue.

“The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare.”

… nearly all of Google’s solar and wind farms are located in states with renewable-energy mandates, which create opportunities for politically mediated profit-making. For instance, California requires that renewables make up a third of electricity by 2020. Google has invested about $600 million in California’s solar plants such as the Ivanpah system in California’s Mojave Desert. Ivanpah is the world’s largest solar-thermal project, which is the target of environmentalists.

Dozens of federally protected desert tortoises have been displaced or killed. The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that Ivanpah’s “power towers”—which burn natural gas—incinerate about 28,000 birds annually. The death toll is disputed by others, but Google has made taxpayers complicit in its avian-cide. The $2.2 billion bird fryer was funded with a $1.6 billion federal loan, which Google and its business partners plan to repay by applying for a federal grant.

The do-no-evil company has invested $157 million in a wind farm in California’s Tehachapi Mountains, which has killed thousands of birds including federally protected golden eagles. Google’s renewable portfolio includes a $275 million investment in two wind farms in Texas that are partly responsible for the construction of $7 billion in new transmission lines. The Texas Public Utility Commission estimates the lines will cost ratepayers on average $72 per year. Google has about $60 billion in cash and short-term investments sitting on its balance sheet.

Most of Google’s renewable investments qualify for a federal investment tax credit that covers 30% of the cost. Its $450 million investment in rooftop solar-systems also benefits from state incentives such as “net-metering” laws. This hidden subsidy compensates ratepayers for power they remit to the grid at the retail rate, which can be three times as much as the wholesale price of electricity. Net-metering allows solar companies to charge higher rates to homeowners who lease their panels, and thus for investors like Google to reap larger profits.

Read it all: Wall St Journal

Apparently most of the fuss is because Google are withdrawing from a group called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), allegedly because of their “denial of climate change”. The Wall St Journal claims that this is a smear campaign, and ALEC have no position on climate science.

“ALEC provides a forum for sundry businesses to discuss free-market reforms with state lawmakers. Two of its policy targets are renewable-energy mandates and subsidies, which are being exploited by big businesses like Google at the expense of low- and middle-income taxpayers.

Google’s real problem with ALEC is a conflict of pecuniary interests.”


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