Patterico's Pontifications


Veterans Sacrificed On The Altar Of Green Energy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:21 am

[guest post by Dana]

Even as veterans died waiting for appointment times at the VA in Phoenix, millions of dollars that could have saved lives was instead being poured into Green Energy at the facility.

[E]each and every year, from 2009 to 2011, the Phoenix VA Health Care System put in solar panels. The solar panels at the Carl T. Hayden VA in Phoenix cost $20 million.

Disgustingly, this was an official mandate:

In 2009, Obama had signed a Green Energy executive order. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced that “in order to continue providing Veterans with the best health care and benefit services, VA must adapt to climate change.”

South Texas also had Green Energy as their priority:

At some South Texas facilities vets had to wait 85 days for a primary care appointment and 55 days for a mental health appointment with “a worst-in-the-nation, 145-day average wait for new patients seeking specialist care.”

Meanwhile the South Texas Veterans Health Care System installed a 1.7 MW solar PV system.

The Amarillo VA Health Care System had the third longest wait times for mental health appointments in the country. Its Thomas E. Creek office complained of a lack of resources. Meanwhile $10 million was spent on solar panels for a facility that sees 25,000 patients a year.

Hawaii (with the longest wait list) spent between $1 and $2 million dollars on Green Energy projects as veterans died because of obscene wait times. While there was no time to see veterans at these facilities, there was always time to make sure the mandate of Green Energy was met.

But it wasn’t just the VA hospitals that were recipients of the Green Energy treatment and dollars.

The Massachusetts National Cemetery got a 50 kW wind turbine so the dead veterans would have all the sustainable energy they needed.

A VA press release about the cemetery turbine boasted that “under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki… VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America’s Veterans.”

Shinseki arrived in person at the dedication ceremony to flip the switch on the cemetery wind turbine. Resting in their graves were men who had died because of his policies.

“Nationally, VA continues to expand its investment in renewable sources of energy to promote our Nation’s energy independence, save taxpayer dollars, and improve care for our Veterans and their families,” he said.

Disgraceful. It is reprehensible that the VA’s priority was to invest huge sums of money into renewable energy rather than renewing the energy of dying veterans to ensure that they might live another day.

In Shinseki’s words:

We are investing in clean energy and renewable energy projects at our national cemeteries to reduce our environmental footprint.

The transition toward these renewable energy sources helps VA continue to be a leading example of going green in the federal government.

This was their priority: reduce our environmental footprint by reducing the living footprint of veterans by their deaths. Necessary sacrifices.


24 Responses to “Veterans Sacrificed On The Altar Of Green Energy”

  1. Somebody needs to investigate how many well-connected Obama/Democratic party rent-seekers got rich on this theft.

    You know, people like Tom Steyer who is spending $100M to kill the Keystone pipeline.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  2. Let’s not forget the 164′ monument to the stupidity, inefficiency, and waste of anything “government” located in St. Cloud, MN (VA).

    I have to drive near this disgrace many times a week. Makes me sick to look at – and think of the money spent on this which could have been spent on actually making veterans lives better. They deserved better.

    dc (685527)

  3. I respected Shinseki as a good man in a dishonorable institution, but to see his words…disgusting. He is not an honorable man. I don’t believe he did not know about the 2010 report.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  4. Regarding the solar panels, I have to call Bull$hit.

    The West Los Angeles Veteran’s Hospital has erected free-standing sun shades atop each row of ground-level parking, and across some buildings and open space. Looking at Google Earth (which shows a pre-installation picture but has a distance tool, and Google maps sat image, which shows the solar panels, I see an estimated 40,000 square meters of solar panels. Given a system efficiency of 12.5% (probably low), and the solar constant of 1KW/square meter, you get 5 megawatts of daytime power from this installation. That is enough to run several thousand homes and probably enough to run the VA hospital during daylight hours, with some excess for credit against nighttime use.

    The real question is what the installation cost. Residential solar can be installed for $5/watt or $5000/KW. Assuming that the vastly better scale balances the government markups, the installation cost on the order of $25 million.

    Power in Los Angeles costs about 15 cents per KW-hour and is climbing rapidly as the coal plants are phased out. The 5 megawatts of power, over 8 hours a day (again low), is 40,000 KW-hrs of energy, or $6000/day at DWP residential prices. (No doubt the Feds have a different deal, but that’s built into my lowballing of other factors.)

    Ignoring interest, it will take them less than 12 years to break even, assuming electric prices remain as they are (and they won’t).

    There are many foolish things the government does, but this is not an obvious one. The wind power, OTOH, is almost always a boondoggle.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  5. A perfect example, also in Los Angeles, of the idiocy of wind farms.

    There is really too much here to excerpt, but this is the theme:

    The Los Angeles Community College District would become a paragon of clean energy. By generating solar, wind and geothermal power, the district would supply all its electricity needs. Not only would the nine colleges sever ties to the grid, saving millions of dollars a year, they would make money by selling surplus power. Thanks to state and federal subsidies, construction of the green energy projects would cost nothing upfront.

    Plans for large-scale wind power collided with the reality that prevailing winds at nearly all the campuses are too weak to generate much electricity. To date, a single wind turbine has been installed, as a demonstration project. It spins too slowly in average winds to power a 60-watt light bulb.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  6. We are investing in clean energy and renewable energy projects at our national cemeteries to reduce our environmental footprint.”

    Excuse me but exactly how large a footprint does the average cemetery have? A couple of lights at the entrance, maybe an a/c for an office….

    I may not understand things but I don’t see a large electrical usage in any of these places.

    JohnG (5d295e)

  7. how large a[n energy] footprint does the average cemetery have?

    Well, a lot of those veterans are spinning pretty fast right now.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  8. Those parking lot solar shades are going up all over. Sure, it provides some power, but how much and at what cost?

    Our city fails to disclose the cost of construction. :)

    Patricia (5fc097)

  9. Kevin M. @4, it’s not as straightforward as that. It never is.

    The Los Angeles Community College System, blessed with $5.7 billion in voter-approved bonds, had a grand plan to be a national model of green energy: its nine colleges would be self-sufficient in electricity thanks to solar, wind and geothermal power.

    …So in 2009, when the Community College District assigned Chevron Energy Solutions to design solar projects that would be built right on the earthquake fault, it was up to the Division of the State Architect to review them.

    Not surprisingly, it rejected the plan. School buildings cannot be constructed above earthquake faults, and neither can fields of solar panels, the state found. State inspectors feared that heavy steel solar panels built over a parking lot near the corner of Western Avenue and Imperial Highway would crash onto bystanders in an earthquake.

    The college district was forced not only to drop its planned solar arrays at Southwest College, but also to scrap a proposal to build fields of solar panels and wind turbines on a fault that runs through Mission College in Sylmar, near the epicenter of a deadly 1971 earthquake.

    So far, the district has built six megawatts of solar energy, of a total of 16 megawatts now planned — well short of the 60 megawatts in renewable energy that would be needed to meet the original ambitious goal of self-sufficiency.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  10. I somehow missed #5. Sorry.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  11. R.e. the info @5 highlights the idiocy of subsidies for wind farms. When the governments skew the market with subsidies, then people put up the windmill where the subsidies are. Not where the wind blows.

    Not that i think wind energy is a great idea at all, though.

    Steve57 (5f0260)


    Wind turbines don’t last very long in any case. In the UK they’re discovering they wear out in 12-15 years then need to be replaced. Even if the industry estimates of 20 – 25 years were correct, compare that to the fact that there are coal fired power plants in this country that have been in operation for nearly 100 years.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  13. Wind energy is subsistence level for barren Greek islands and Dutch swamps which cannot feed a team of oxen to turn the mill wheels. If wind energy were reliable and efficient the Cutty Shark would still be sailing between San Francisco and Melbourne.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. Not to mention trying to unload cargo with those masts and all that rigging in the way.

    As if you could ever build a container ship with sails.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  15. We moved past renewable energy in the 18th Century, hence the Industrial Revolution, to think otherwise is fantasy,

    narciso (3fec35)

  16. Sure, it provides some power, but how much and at what cost?

    It depends on where you are, but if sunny areas like LA or Phoenix, the calculation for power is:

    * * 6 = Kilowatt-hrs/day average. The efficiency factor is some number between 0.1 and 0.2 depending on solar cell type and AC inverter efficiency. It’s assumed the panels are facing south to south-south-west at an appropriate angle for your latitude.

    Home residential cost, installed, complete is about $5000 per KW (the first two factors above), but can be higher for higher efficiency panels. A 4KW system for my house was bid between $17K and $30K.

    I calculated out the numbers for the LA Vet hospital in #4, although there are number of factors I don’t know, like just how much they paid for installation at prevailing wages.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  17. Hmmm.

    That * * 6 had some angle brackets.

    {Total panel area in square meters} * {efficiency factor} * 6 = Kilowatt-hrs per day average electricity produced.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  18. We moved past renewable energy in the 18th Century, hence the Industrial Revolution, to think otherwise is fantasy,

    More to the point, they stripped England of all its “renewable” hardwood forests and needed something else to burn for steam. Such as coal.

    If you are ever in London and have nothing better to do, the Science Museum has some working 18th century steam engines. Also a working Baggage Engine and an Apollo capsule, but the steam engines are impressively large.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  19. Damn spellcheck. Babbage Engine.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  20. Greeks, now, install solar hot water heaters wherever they can because natural gas, heating oil, and electricity are very expensive. Savings is not a reason for them, even in energy-poor California, but if I lived there I’d have one for environmental reasons. Money isn’t everything. But they’re a different animal entirely from photo-electric panels.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. death panels solar panels

    what’s the difference?

    dead veterans are the most cost-effective kind

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  22. Tens and tens of millions could have saved some of these lives. But that wouldn’t have made the most fashionable political statement by those running the VA.

    The coverup shows they aren’t sorry they did it. They are sorry they’ve been caught. And I’m sure there is tons more that we’ll never learn.

    Dustin (3eced7)

  23. Tens and tens of millions could have saved some of these lives.

    It has been shown that more money does not make a government agency move any faster. It simply allows them to hire more bureaucrats. The money never gets to the service end of the beast.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  24. Kevin M.
    Your calculations are way off. Solar farms in the best US conditions of the cloudless southwest deserts generate 6 W/m2 annualized. A 40,000 square meter array would generate 240 kW on a 24-7-365 basis, not 5 MW. You’re only off by a factor of 21. About the same degree of accuracy as the promises of most promoters of solar and wind. I have to call BS on your post #4 above.

    Cliff Claven (55f9f5)

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