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Touting Failure

Posted By Russ Roberts On May 28, 2009 @ 9:52 am In Energy | Comments Disabled

The Washington Post reports [1]:

President Obama touted his plans for clean energy and economic stimulus
Wednesday at an Air Force base near Las Vegas, pointing to the base's
vast array of solar panels as a model for the nation as it seeks to
reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Obama, visiting Nellis Air Force Base between fundraising events in
Las Vegas and Los Angeles, toured the largest solar power plant of its
kind in the Western Hemisphere, a collection of more than 72,000 panels
built on 140 acres, including part of an old landfill. The plant, a
public-private venture that cost $100 million, generates about a
quarter of the electricity used on the base, where 12,000 people live
and work.

The president said the project created 200 jobs and will save the
Air Force nearly $1 million a year while reducing carbon pollution by
24,000 tons a year — the equivalent of removing 4,000 cars from U.S.
roads.

A project that costs $100 million (though I'd guess this number probably doesn't include the land costs) to save almost $1 million a year? There's a name for that—a lousy investment. And creating 200 jobs? Not really. The project employed 200 people. Not the same thing.

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