The Hoku solar panel plant struggling to get itself up and running in Pocatello can’t even pay its agreed upon electric bill to Idaho Power, it was revealed in a filing before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission Thursday.
The Chinese backed company has been the beneficiary of all kinds of public largess including local urban renewal funds (property taxes diverted from city, county, and schools), assorted state energy and economic development funds as well as Federal funds. Now they want extra time to pay their power bill, citing “cash flow” problems.
The company’s stock has plummeted to less than 1/4 its value earlier this year and is in danger of being delisted on the stock exchange where the current price is less than 60 cents a share.
The would-be polysilicon maker said losing power would delay the Pocatello plant’s commissioning and expose infrastructure to freezing as winter sets in. Southeastern Idaho’s hopes that Hoku’s $390 million plant will eventually add hundreds of green-energy jobs to the local economy have been shaken by uncertainty over whether the project will survive.
“If service is terminated, these high value systems may freeze, causing irreparable and material damage to Hoku’s plant assets,” the company’s lawyers told utility regulators in their complaint. “Any damage would need to be repaired, at additional cost, prior to continuing with the commissioning and operation of the plant.”
This failure to pay an existing Idaho utility a contractually agreed amount does little to help the local economy and could be a harbinger of the future for energy schemes dependent on government subsidies. We GROWTHOPHOBES have long welcomed corporations and individuals to our state as long as they can afford to pay the same taxes the rest of us pay and offer decent wages for the jobs they may create. If not, please visit one of the states competing against us.
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