Politics of Misinformation

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Politics of Misinformation (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Why am I not surprised that more MISINFORMATION are spilled from the FOX NEWS.  Wasn’t Fox News the same media responsible for previously reporting that “solar energy cannot be successfully implemented in U.S. because Germany is a small country and have more sun”  in our Feb. 2013 report. I am, however, rather disappointed that this time the misinformation is coming from some one I normally respect a great deal, John Stossel,

If you’d go to https://www.facebook.com/JohnStossel you would find Stossel’s comment regarding energies:

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After 100 billion in subsidies, windmills and solar power combined amount to less than 4% of the energy we use. Both are so inefficient that they only exist because they get billions in subsidies from you. Fossil fuels get subsides too, but wind and solar get 100 times more. Get rid of them all! Chill Out! re-airs tonight at 10pm on Fox News.

This comment was attached to a chart of Energy Subsidies such that:

natural gas, oil & coal——> $0.64 per MWh of subsidy

nuclear———————–>$3.14 per MWh of subsidy

wind—————————> $56.29 per MWh of subsidy

solar—————————> $775.64 per MWh subsidy

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My immediate response was: Where did they get the $775.64/MWh ? Did they grab it out of a hat? FOX News researcher(s) must have believed that all of their audience would not do the math to check on the credibility of these numbers or units!

This chart is so misleading that it makes one wonder if the research is being funded by the Koch brothers. If you work all the numbers, for an example of a 1 MW solar farm:

1 MW solar farm–>at approximately 4 hrs peak light per day, 1 MW–>4 MWh/day, at 365 days/year, 1 MW solar farm–>1460 MWh/year, at 50 year plant life–>73,000 MWh/lifetime of the plant. So, according to the chart, at $775.64 per MWh, 73,000MWh/lifetime multiplied by $775.64/MWh= over $56.5 million subsidy for a 1 MW solar farm. This chart is claiming that a 1 MW solar farm is getting over $56.5 million subsidy. Keep in mind that a 1 MW solar farm costs in the range of $1.5 million to build  in Germany to about $5 million in Alaska (most would fall some where in between). Keep in mind that federal subsidy in U.S. for solar is based on 30% of initial cost of the solar farm. So, if the solar farm costs $1.5 million to build, it would receive federal subsidy of $450,000. If the solar farm costs $5 million to build, it would receive federal subsidy of $1.5 million. But the chart is claiming that the subsidy is over $56.5 million….believe me, there would be far more people building solar farms all over the country if a $1.5 million or $5 million solar farm would receive over $56.5 million subsidy! I would have started building my solar farm(s) long time ago! This is simply too absurd that I cannot believe Stossel’s chart and comment would receive so many “likes”! We need to do a better job in educating our public in the application of math and units.

I do understand why this is happening. With the dramatic decrease in cost of solar, available super data and technology, better understanding of Value of Solar, and improved battery technology, it is obvious that Solar and Wind are no longer the smallest kids on the block. When there are forecasts that solar industry will be bigger than the semiconductor industry within a decade, the final punch out of the traditionally bigger kid(s) is nothing more than spreading misinformation. It is time for all of us to grow up. The most mature thing for any kid (big as well as small) is to learn to collaborate, for we all need to transition into the renewable energy age, together…for fossil fuels will be the energy of the past and we will still need energy in the future.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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