For years, I have been saying that green energy is the place to look if you’re looking for tales of cronyism, corruption, and corporate welfare. It has all the elements: profits dependent on subsidies, customers that are often government-protected monopolies, deep involvement of finance types ranging from Goldman Sachs to politically connected VC, PE, and hedge funds.
And Harry Reid.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has the latest story:
Now Reid is pushing for a Chinese company he played a key role in recruiting to Nevada, ENN Mojave Energy LLC. The company plans a billion-dollar solar energy manufacturing and generating plant near Laughlin, but an ambitious development schedule is being threatened by a lack of green power customers.
And there are some legitimate reasons: Power costs are passed directly to consumers, and green energy currently costs more than power generated by coal-fired or natural-gas burning plants. State law mandates NV Energy buy power as cheaply as possible, except when it’s required to buy more-expensive green energy to meet state-mandated quotas. But the more green energy you buy, the higher bills climb.
NV Energy has already met its quota…
Reid says those weak excuses. He said in that April interview that if “NV Energy wanted to do more with renewable energy, they could.”
There’s another factor, however, one more personal to Reid: His son, Rory Reid, is one of the attorneys for the ENN Mojave Energy project.
I’ve written about Reid’s long record of cronyism and potential corruption. Russ Choma of the Investigative Reporting Workshop has written about Reid’s odd dealings with Chinese green-energy companies.