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Stimulus Update: Clean Energy ‘Savings’ of the Day

By Doug Powers  •  March 19, 2012 07:03 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Thanks to the Stimulus, the “clean energy” initiatives it funds are already paying dividends in Nevada:

Nearly two years after Reno started installing energy-producing windmills at city facilities from downtown to Stead, some have proven to be better at generating electricity than others despite claims made by manufacturers.

The city’s seven windmills have so far saved Reno $2,785 in energy costs after generating 25,319 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

A couple thousand dollars in savings. Hey, that’s better than nothing, but it kind of depends on how much was spent on the windmills. Or are we not supposed to ask that?

The windmills were installed between April and October 2010 and cost about $1 million out of a $2.1 million federal energy grant given to the city that was part of the stimulus package approved by Congress in February 2009.

That’s according to data available on Reno’s new “open government” website that tracks the amount of power each windmill generates and the average wind speed from each day.

The savings come in the long term… the really long term. According to Write on Nevada, at the current pace, the windmills will have paid for themselves by the year 2551 — or somewhere in the vicinity of Harry Reid’s 95th term in the Senate.

Some say the limited power output is due to “lower-than-expected wind speeds in downtown Reno,” which is surprising because usually the Stimulus “green jobs” cost-benefit ratio blows big time.

Related stories:

–Results in the US are causing the UK to re-think the whole wind turbine thing.

–The government is paying some Pacific Northwest wind farms — that were already taxpayer subsidized in the first place — to go on down time. The extra expense will simply be added to electricity bills, so consumers get hit twice. Somehow this makes everything more affordable for taxpayers.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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