Thursday, July 26, 2012

Concentrated Solar Plant funding via Securitization- plus the new and “improved” Western Solar Zones- the beginning of the end for western wilderness?

How serendipitous to have all these articles come out at the same time, and that they fit so neatly within the framework that I have laid out all along on these scribbled pages! What am I talking about? You will see, have patience,
little ones.

For the longest time, I have been suspecting that the parasites on Wall Street
were planning something big, a new way to extract money from this obscenely
expensive, so called green renewable energy land rush taking place on our
federal lands; having participated in the stimulus portion, the free money from
the taxpayers in other words
, the Wall Street Wonders couldn’t help but worry that they would be up the creek without a paddle after that ended, and
had been feverishly wracking their avaricious minds trying to come up with a
way to keep the money flowing in, and they have succeeded.

Why come up with a new approach when a tried and true old friend is standing
by to serve you again? Of course I refer to securitization, the same scheme used with home mortgages to inflate the housing bubble, and ultimately to almost bring down the whole global financial system, when combined with derivatives, after all they do go hand in glove after all.

You can read all about it in a piece by John Farrell here at the Renewable Energy World site. Now I have read many of Farrell’s articles and he is a good
advocate for rooftop or distributed power generation, but I just had a feeling
about the source for the information in his article. He referenced this blogger's article which explains the nuts and bolts of securitization using the money that you pay a movie theatre for your ticket, a good primer on how all this works, and I suggest you look at that to up your understanding of the process.

So far, so good. Actually too good, I felt. So I did further research on solar financing in general and discovered a few other juicy tidbits of information, hot
off the presses. This article flat out states the federal solar tax credit pays for itself, and links to another white paper that purports to prove it. Then I found
another paper which says, in effect, don't count on securitization just yet. Basically a daisy chain of articles, pros and cons on solar issues.

Now what does all this have to do with desert solar and wilderness destruction?
I thought you would never ask. You know when you research some of these links on the net, you find papers published by organizations such as the
US Partnership for Renewable Finance. They are part of a larger trade group called ACORE, you can read about them on their site American Council on Renewable Energy. I visited their site, it is nice, they obviously are a trade group, a lobbying group in Washington, involved in many facets of the renewable energy scene- but, I still wasn’t quite sure about them or their motives. So I did a google search with this parameter:

BrightSource+ACORE go ahead, do the search, I will wait for you. Did
you find the information that you need to know on the first page of the results?
I found all that I need to know, that’s for sure. So BrightSource Energy, an
ACORE member, is going to standby while this group tries to formulate a financial policy leading to the potential “E-Z” FINANCING of residential and
commercial photovoltaic systems on rooftops, which would be a direct competitive threat to their own business model? Don’t forget BrightSource
Energy builds concentrated solar power plants, that’s what they do, not rooftop.
But still not satisfied, I googled:

SCE+ACORE and of course, Southern California Edison is a member also.
Hhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. The B.S.’ers and SCE are both
members. How many other concentrated solar developer/players are members?

Look, I subscribe to the theory that says where there is smoke, there has to be a fire somewhere, you know what I mean? All these big players in the ongoing desert destruction otherwise known as renewable energy development on federal lands, seem to be members of this ACORE group. My guess is if I had
googled most of the big names, I would have gotten similar results.
Knowing that some of you might be harder to convince, I also googled another
big name in concentrated solar power and soon to be a neighbor to the Ivanpah Solar field, First Solar. Guess what, they are an ACORE member also!
Satisfied now?

So why would all these players be interested in promoting rooftop solar via solar securitization? My guess is they aren’t. This is just the “stalking horse” to
test the waters(or muddy them) while their main attention is focused like a laser beam on applying just this model to their business- the business of providing the funding needed to complete their core mission, which is building
their specialties, giant scale solar and wind farms on the cheap public lands, courtesy of the Obama and state administrations, all made possible up to now by soon to be expiring almost free federal financing programs, and in the future
if this securitization scheme works, by long suffering global investors, scared by
the Eurozone crisis etc and desperate for decent and relatively safe returns on their capital investment.

Again, my educated guess is that the financial securitization scheme is being perfected as I write this, and they are floating a trial balloon about home power
being the main use for this, as a misdirection perhaps, to make everyone reading it think wow, this is great! I; on the other hand, being suspicious as hell of these folks, believe that the ultimate goal is to provide the easy financing to develop all the lands that the feds have just put on the table.

Speaking of the federal lands, the Departments of Interior and Energy have at
long last released their new guidelines, the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), you can read about it here and make sure read the comment section. Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog has an interesting article about this where he points out a very disturbing fact about this latest development, I hope he will forgive my quoting the lines here:

A proposal to exclude solar energy development from critical desert tortoise connectivity areas was added late last year, but the proposal appears to have  been significantly weakened by industry lobbying, and now only amounts to words of discouragement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that developers can ignore.”

You can surf right over to read the whole article at the link below:

Desert Solar Policy Codifies Status Quo

So do you see now what I am talking about? Is this serendipitous or what? How
about the chances that all these things can occur at the same time? Since when does Jupiter align with Mars, in such a neat fashion?

I stand by the title of this post. I believe any reasonable person will agree that with the release of all this land, and a new(actually old reliable) funding mechanism, global investors yearning for what they perceive is a safe harbor
investment that will actually pay them a return, the global financial mess, worries about global warming and climate change driving groups that should know better right into the very bosoms of the energy promoters, governments
interested in job creation allegedly, and the moneyed interests eager to inflate
the next bubble, and a diffident and disinterested public showing no interest in their preservation- our desert and other wilderness may very well
be, as we say in chess, reaching the endgame point.

Bill McDonald

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