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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 21, 2012 4:51 PM. The previous post in this blog was Handouts 'R' Us. The next post in this blog is Cogen and the gals just don't get it. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perfectly Portland

Its transit system is completely in the tank, but it's got money and time for this. Day after day, stupider and stupider.

Comments (21)

Yes but, will the 29 tons of carbon saved be off-set by all the lead and gun-smoke pollution?

What's the hassle? This project will be paid off faster than Randy's pension.

This is the best possible argument for the solar panels I think:

"TriMet had already been required to dress up the buildings. The city permit for the new Transit Mall required a "gateway treatment," a potentially major decorative expense, at the otherwise sort of ugly MAX turnaround. Most of the ways to satisfy this requirement would not have generated revenue. This one does."

Still I find Trimet's constant arguments that they're just spending capitol funds that wouldn't be available otherwise kinda bs. Especially since the Orange line has operational funds committed to building the darn thing.

So, way after the fact Tri-Met now says it cost a lot less to build than what they said before. Does that mean they can't count or did some other source pitch in to make up the difference?

Even if it broke even, which of course it never, ever will, this is the perfect symbol of what is wrong with Portland government. These people do everything but what they are hired to do.

"Food justice" mayors, solar power transit agencies, Rose Festival water bureaus, bike-friendly sewer agencies, on and on, all while bankruptcy looms.

In November, when the transit agency began installing panels made by Hillsboro-based SolarWorld

Bzzt! Wrong again, Oregonian.
Try Bonn, Germany.

An Energy Trust of Oregon rebate and a Portland General Electric green-energy grant, TriMet officials said, would cover $133,200 of the solar station's cost, TriMet said.

Hey folks, the Energy Trust of Oregon gets their money from us and will until 2025.

Look at your gas and electric bills; a portion of the "Public Purpose Charge" goes to the Energy Trust to be sent back as a rebate to TriMet (or the $50 you get for scrapping an old refrigerator, or the TV ad that shows someone scrapping their old refrigerator or a plethora of mail inserts.

It's always sunnier in Neil Goldschmidt's universe.

All together now!
Green green it's green they say on the far side of the hill.....

It could be they have more vision than we give them credit for. They are getting us prepared. When we are all completely broke we will at least have solar power energy to heat the winter warming centers for the masses. This may also explain the city's recent ecouragement for us to own chickens, or getting us accustomed to having our garbage around for weeks at a time.

America may be headed for third world status, but Blumenauer & Co. want Portland to get there about 75 years early.

For better or worse, I noticed that new Bud Clark Commons public housing building, across from Portland Union Station, has its entire roof covered with solar panels. I can't tell if they are the Hillsboro or Bonn, Germany kind.

America may be headed for third world status, but Blumenauer & Co. want Portland to get there about 75 years early.

And give "rapid transit" a whole new meaning.

"Over the next several months TriMet will identify a business "passthrough partner" willing to take the tax credit, spread over five years, in exchange of a $134,765 payment to the agency."

I'm wondering which areas Oregon will lose their tax base. Is this another sustainable money laundry like a URD? What evil Corporation will purchase these tax credits at a discount?

Never mind. "Handouts 'R' Us" should add the pass through incentive to complete/add to the Solar Power circle of funding.

TriMet had already been required to dress up the buildings. The city permit for the new Transit Mall required a "gateway treatment," a potentially major decorative expense, at the otherwise sort of ugly MAX turnaround

Since when was that required? It was only required because the City wanted to scam TriMet and TriMet bent over and took it.

There are dozens and dozens of "substation structures" throughout Portland on the MAX line that have no such "gateway treatment"...heck some are just covered in grafitti. And "Gateway"? WTF? This is a piece of property bordered by 20 year old can't even see the solar framework except from behind.

This is a joke. And for that joke, TriMet cut a bunch of bus lines, $1,566,000 is lost, and the city looks no prettier nor is TriMet using the cost savings (less than $5,000 a year) to improve bus service.

It's a JOKE.

Jack, you finally put in succinct terms what it is that bothers you so much - that the various agencies go outside their defined mission. I appreciate that, and I guess I've lost sight of it over time.

I actually believe there is substantial benefit to NOT specializing, that everybody should, in some way, think about and do everything for themselves. That said, it is very easy for that mentality to become so inefficient that it becomes a substantial negative. I know I go there way too often.

I expect electricity rates to more than double over the next several decades and the payoff for this project should come in at 25 years, making it not too bad a project. You can't expect PGE (the specialists) to build these projects, and local generation and distribution is very important in building a resilient grid for the future. If Tri-Met doesn't do it and many people believe it's important, I can't imagine you would support a new agency to specialize in building urban energy projects.

Anyway, I respect the "stick to your job description" viewpoint, I really do. I just don't see the alternative as theoretically verboten. If agencies get too far off track it's the job of the electorate to fix it.

Erik H. -- This gateway treatment sounds like a garbage collection service spending money to erect a fancy gate to the dump and then cutting garbage collection.

Huck: But what is the actual usable life of the solar panels? 20-30 years? Is that in the wet Pacific NW environment, or a nice sunny and dry environment. My guess is that the majority of the panels will have to be replaced before the 25 year pay-back, making the pay-back take way longer. (Assuming it ever will.)

But what is the actual usable life of the solar panels? 20-30 years?


I looked into them, since Solar City offers a "free" residential set-up. I also spent some time chatting on the phone with one of their reps down in California. Here's the deal:

They install the panels on your roof, and then take energy credits. You pay a pittance that is derived from the savings on your electricity bill; after 15 years, they're yours to keep. In essence, it's a lease-to-own program.

The expected life-span is 15 to 20 years.

Now: after 20 years, you're the proud owner of a dead solar array on your roof. Perhaps your roof needs re-shingling or other repairs. Who gets to pay for removal and disposal of the array? Why, you do!

Isn't that special? Oh, by the way: the gallium arsenide (gallium+arsenic) and other materials will require specialized handling.

But think of all the money you'll save on your electric bill!

Michael - 20-30 years in the PNW. Sunnier spots actually burn them out more quickly because their life is based on hours in use. This is based on research I did, not on personal experience. However, for every person who claims to have only gotten 15 years out of them, there appear to be numerous people in the 30-40 year range.

However, if the panels have to be replaced in 20 years, that isn't the worst thing in the world. Their efficiency diminishes over time, and technology improvements will allow the replacements to to be more cost effective. Plus, the infrastructure, property acquisition, etc., which is a large part of the cost of this project, will not need to be repeated.

The same argument goes for wind turbines. Large parts of the cost are the siting and connections to the grid. Replacing the turbines with more efficient product down the road will be vastly more cost effective.

Max, SolarPower in Hillsboro is out front on a recycling program. I'd be surprised if you can just drop old ones off there yet, but I'd be just as surprised if you can't in the near future.


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