DECEMBER 07, 2012
In a mind-boggling example of government waste, it will take the U.S. Navy an astounding 447 years to benefit from a costly green-energy project that’s supposed to save money by lowering utility bills.
Like many other failed renewable energy experiments, the Navy project was funded with money from President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus, the fraud-infested disaster that was supposed to jump start the economy and put Americans back to work. Instead, big chunks of money have gone to wasteful projects, including green energy ventures like the northern California solar panel company (Solyndra) that folded after bilking taxpayers out of $535 million.
Part of the administration’s aggressive green initiative is to transform the way the military gets its power in the name of reducing global warming. More than $335 million in stimulus money has been allocated for renewable power projects at military bases, according to Pentagon figures quoted in a Virginia newspaper this week. The story focuses on a massive new solar energy project at the Norfolk Navy Base.
It cost American taxpayers $21 million, features more than 8,600 solar panels and spans 10 acres. Here comes the good part; the monstrous solar energy project, by far the largest in Virginia, can only generate about 2% of the electricity required to operate the Norfolk Navy base. Leave it to a government bureaucrat, the project manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, to point out the positive side: “You have to start somewhere,” the manager says in the article.
The same Naval station was blasted by the Pentagon Inspector General last year for its handling of $1 million in solar and lighting enhancements. The changes are supposed to save enough money via lower utility bills to make the investment worth it, but it will take nearly 4 ½ centuries for this particular experiment to pay off! The IG audit focused on $117 million worth of renewable energy projects at the Department of Defense (DOD) that promised unacceptably low returns on investments.
Among them is a $14.1 million Air Force plan to build three wind turbines at radar stations in Alaska. The plan was pushed through without fully assessing the potential for wind at the turbine sites, the IG found. One turbine is already set to be eliminated due to “sporadic” wind at its location and the rest of the project it expected to take north of 15 years to pay off.
There seems to be no end in sight to this outrageous squandering of taxpayer dollars to make military bases more environmentally friendly. Just a few weeks ago a Senate report (“Department of Everything”) focusing on wasteful DOD projects revealed that the agency burned $700 million on “duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy” projects.
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