Clinton Wants A 700 Percent Increase In Solar Power. Anyone Have $240 Billion?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 07, 2015 4:00 PM
Clinton Wants A 700 Percent Increase In Solar Power. Anyone Have $240 Billion?

Like Obama, Hillary Clinton wants tackle global warming as well. One of her policy positions is to increase solar power by 700 percent by 2020 at the cost of $700 billion. Right now, solar generates 20 gigawatts (GW). A 700 percent increase would boost output to 140 GW within that time frame, which is tight. As American Action Forum noted, it’s going to take an enormous amount of land to meet the needs of Clinton’s ambitious solar project:

AAF found Energy Information Administration (EIA) data for the amount of projected solar capacity in GW in the year 2020 under current policy: 27.57 GW. To reach a goal of 140 GW of solar capacity, the nation would need to increase capacity by roughly 112 GW. But what would this solar build-out cost? Next, with data from the EIA, AAF used the cost of solar power per megawatt hour ($/MWh) of $114.3, including the subsidized rate. Finally, AAF examined recent solar projects and installations for real-world prices.

Assuming solar remains at $114.3 $/MWh and the subsidies continue, the cost of a 140 GW goal could reach $246 billion. On an annual basis, this is approximately $67 billion. For perspective, that’s the cost equivalent of passing another “Clean Power Plan” during a four-to-five year time horizon and perhaps far more. If this were a federal regulation, and not a budget appropriation, it would easily rank as one of the most expensive rules of the Obama Administration.

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The nation must also consider the incredible amount of land required to build 112 GW of new solar capacity. For example, the Topaz Solar Farm will produce 550 MW of solar power in an area covering 9.5 square miles. If this project were a representative sample, 112 GW of solar power will consume an area of land roughly 1.5 times larger than Rhode Island.

There’s also the effect that solar farms will have on wildlife; something that greenies also fuss about regarding the fight to save humanity from the non-threat of global warming. These farms have been documented to literally fry birds out of the sky. The temperatures above the solar farm have been noted to reach at least 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At one solar farm in Nevada, engineers and biologists visiting the site could see trails of smoke from birds that were flying through the complex.

[Image credit: AAF]

AAF also noted that expanding solar would have dubious benefits regarding combating global warming. Also, a 112 GW increase in give years is probably not going to happen.  

Right now, Obama's Clean Power Plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emission by nearly 30 percent by 2030 (some had the date at 2025). It's also incredibly expense, will cost millions of jobs (especially in the black and hispanic communities), places an enormous burden on rural Americans, and pretty much punishes states that voted for Romney in 2012.