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The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience
AEI ^ | 2/21/11 | Kenneth P. Green

Posted on 02/21/2011 3:35:30 PM PST by Nachum

With $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits allocated for green manufacturers, President Barack Obama and other Democratic politicians have high hopes for green technology. But their expectations clash with both economic theory and practical experience in Europe. Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy. Wind and solar power have raised household energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany, and Denmark has the highest electricity prices in the European Union. Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better at creating jobs or stimulating the economy.

Key points in this Outlook:

* The Obama administration, its allies in Congress, and the environmental community champion the benefits of green technology and the creation of green jobs to alleviate unemployment. * Green jobs merely replace jobs in other sectors and actually contribute less to economic growth. * Experiments with renewable energy in Europe have led to job loss, higher energy prices, and corruption.

Green is the new black, in both the United States and Europe. Virtually everyone on the left has thrown on the green pants, green shirts, and green cloak of what we are assured is the future of life on earth as we know it.

President Obama regularly references the green economy in his speeches. The Obama/Biden New Energy for America document released in 2008 focuses on green jobs, green technology, green manufacturing, green buildings, and even green veterans. In a speech to the Democratic National Committee in September 2010, Obama boasted, "We'd been falling behind and now we are back at the forefront of [research and development].

(Excerpt) Read more at aei.org ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: energy; green; jobs; kissmeimirish; myth

1 posted on 02/21/2011 3:35:36 PM PST by Nachum
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To: Nachum
Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy.

Here's how a liberal looks at this equation:

By denying the private sector the ability to produce 5 new workers not dependent on liberal social programs, we created one new job entirely dependent on liberal social programs, plus two-point-two new unemployed, also dependent on liberal social programs! It's a win-win-win! We're in heaven here!

2 posted on 02/21/2011 3:42:28 PM PST by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: Nachum

These are silly comparisons. The automobile industry killed jobs in the horse-and-buggy industry too. 30 years ago no one was burdened with a monthly bill for internet service of a phone that fits in your pocket either.

I’m fine with discussing renewable energy on the basis of technology or business model sustainability. Some of it makes sense, a lot doesn’t. But the fact that Obama gets it wrong doesn’t justify using equally crappy logic.


3 posted on 02/21/2011 3:51:14 PM PST by bigbob (-)
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To: Nachum; StayoutdaBushesWay; OldNewYork; MotherRedDog; sayuncledave; CatholicEagle; 0beron; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


4 posted on 02/21/2011 3:52:41 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: Nachum

5 posted on 02/21/2011 4:05:36 PM PST by 4Liberty (88% of Americans are NON-UNION. We value honest, peaceful Free trade-NOT protectionist CARTELS)
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To: Nachum

Most informative.


6 posted on 02/21/2011 4:07:02 PM PST by Ciexyz
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To: bigbob
The “crappy logic” comes from a study done by King Juan Carlos University in Spain, not a partisan hack think tank. I would suggest you familiarize yourself with the details of that publication before casting aspersions.
7 posted on 02/21/2011 4:14:49 PM PST by PDMiller
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To: Nachum; mmanager; Fiddlstix; Fractal Trader; FrPR; enough_idiocy; meyer; Normandy; Whenifhow; ...
 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

8 posted on 02/21/2011 4:20:38 PM PST by steelyourfaith ("Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips)
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To: bigbob
But the fact that Obama gets it wrong doesn’t justify using equally crappy logic. I completely agree with you. But the logic here is far from c--y:

The automobile industry killed jobs in the horse-and-buggy industry too.

This is a viable example of a natural technological progress. As in the case of cell-phone technology, governments had nothing to do with that progress. "Green" energy, in contrast, is shoved down the throats of a majority by a vocal minority by means of the coercive force of government. It is for this reason that your counter-examples do not apply.

The article, moreover, does not address the question of whether we should use green energy. It points to a lie perpetrated by some government, namely, that funding will help reinvigorate the job market. It is indeed a lie, the same lie that was used by Roosevelt: while telling the public that he works on the recovery of the economy, everything he did was directed instead at reformation of the economy (from the capitalist to a fascist model a la Mussolini). Pointing to the negative net contribution to the job market is therefore relevant and logical on the part of the author.

In your reply you appear to defend green energy on unclear grounds against a nonexistent attacker.

9 posted on 02/21/2011 4:24:43 PM PST by TopQuark
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To: bigbob
Maybe you could define a non-silly comparison? Hey, I got one, just define a green job and tell me what is the market driver for it.

The automobile industry killed jobs because people wanted the product and the use of automobiles drove the technology not vice-versa and I would say the same is true of the Internet.

10 posted on 02/21/2011 4:27:23 PM PST by WHBates
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To: PDMiller; bigbob

The Juan Carlos University study has been debunked and even the Wall Street Journal said the study used crappy logic


11 posted on 02/21/2011 4:35:42 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: bigbob
The growth in the automobile industry was driven by private investment, and consumer choice. While it “killed jobs” in the horse-and-buggy industry; it provided a huge boost to the economy. Automobile travel was faster, more comfortable, and far cheaper than travel by horse and buggy. Increased mobility lead to huge efficiencies throughout the economy.

By contrast, the drivers for most “green jobs” are massive government subsidies, and government mandates. No investors would step forward, without “investment” by governments, using funds coerced from their citizen taxpayers. Few consumers would step forward to purchase the “green products”; if they were not either bribed (subsidies) or coerced (mandates) to do so.

When government's use their coercive powers to take resources from the productive private sector (whether through taxes, or through mandates); they destroy productive jobs. The comparisons are not silly — they are simply based on standard multipliers applied to the resources that various governments have diverted to “green” industries.

12 posted on 02/21/2011 4:53:59 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Ben Ficklin
And the raging economic success Spain is enjoying as a result of this their crappy “investment” makes your case? A little homework on your part would reveal that the Obama goons in the DofE were behind the supposed “debunk”. I'll go toe to toe with anyone trying to justify wind and solar as being justifiable based on stand alone economics.
13 posted on 02/21/2011 4:55:20 PM PST by PDMiller
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

“When government’s use ....” = “When governments use ....”


14 posted on 02/21/2011 4:56:37 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: PDMiller
Obama goons at the DofE"

The problem with that statement is that the renewable standards are being set at the state level and were set before Obama came along. For example, Texas set their first renewable standard in 1999.

And what we see coming over the hill from Congress is not renewable standards but clean standards, which, in addition to renewables, includes Nat Gas, Nukes, and clean coal. 80% by 2035

15 posted on 02/21/2011 5:10:01 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: Nachum

It’s a sequel to Carter’s synthetic fuels boondoggle. If green energy technology was simple or cheap, someone would be doing it. The fact that these green technologies cannot survive outside of niche markets (without government subsidies) proves their economic viability, or lack thereof.


16 posted on 02/21/2011 5:28:43 PM PST by CitizenUSA (Coming soon! DADT...for Christians.)
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To: Ben Ficklin

I’m addressing your “debunk” assertion: http://biggovernment.com/chorner/2009/09/28/grande-gobierno-obama-uses-feds-to-protect-his-green-jobs-story/#more-9722


17 posted on 02/21/2011 5:31:16 PM PST by PDMiller
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To: PDMiller
That's the beauty of the internet. You can find a source for whatever you want. If you think Biggovernmentdotcom is a reliable and qualified tech source, so be it.

The problem with that is, on the ground, renewables are moving forward. Does Breibart have the wisdom of the Gods and those dumb asses putting up windmills down in Texas don't know what they are doing?

I'll tell you a major componant missing from Juan Carlos, AEP, and Biggoverment.com is the royalties. So if you go to Abilene or Sweetwater, its not just the jobs from the windmills, but the royalty money that is pumping up the local economy.

18 posted on 02/21/2011 5:58:26 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: Ben Ficklin
...on the ground, renewables are moving forward.

Because they're economically feasible? Or because they are massively subsidized?

19 posted on 02/21/2011 6:10:01 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: Ben Ficklin
The royalties needed to bribe landowners comes from you and me in the form of higher utility rates and the opportunity costs tied to subsidies and tax breaks. No business metric, Return on Investment, Simple Payback, cost per kilowatt hour, ... can justify them. And we haven't even broached aesthetics, health, property values and the other soft issues that make wind turbines complete turds that only a dumbass would embrace.
20 posted on 02/21/2011 6:15:52 PM PST by PDMiller
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To: okie01
Everything is subsidized.

Plus, what is the cost of pollution or the benefit of reducing pollution? What is the benefit of reducing NOx or ozone?

I know how that breaks out.

Some will say there is no benefit. Some will say there is a benefit but they will disagree as to what the exact benefit is.

But they will sit down at the table and negotiate a compromise. And unfortunately, those who said there is no benefit from reducing pollution won't have a seat at the negotiating table.

21 posted on 02/21/2011 6:28:03 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: PDMiller
Sorry Skippy.
If the logic is crappy, it doesn't matter who provides it.
22 posted on 02/21/2011 6:30:02 PM PST by Publius6961 ("In 1964 the War on Poverty Began --- Poverty won.")
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To: Publius6961

Your attempted line of reasoning has the same tenor as the smarmy “settled science” crowd and brings me much amusement. I’ll bet you’ve still got that rotting solar panel on your roof from the Jimmy Carter era.


23 posted on 02/21/2011 6:42:25 PM PST by PDMiller
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To: Ben Ficklin
The problem with that is, on the ground, renewables are moving forward. Does Breibart have the wisdom of the Gods and those dumb asses putting up windmills down in Texas don't know what they are doing?

Exactly!
They know exactly what they're doing! They milk the taxpayer subsidies for all they're worth, as well as the outrageous price they receive (4 time the normal price,) for the energy they produce (never when most needed) until the bennies begin to expire, then they leave town

Here in Altamont Pass, California, they have 4900 freaking windmills, only about 5% of which are actually working on any given day (personal eyeball, not hearsay.)

24 posted on 02/21/2011 7:03:24 PM PST by Publius6961 ("In 1964 the War on Poverty Began --- Poverty won.")
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To: Steely Tom
Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy.

Here's how a liberal looks at this equation:

By denying the private sector the ability to produce 5 new workers not dependent on liberal social programs, we created one new job entirely dependent on liberal social programs, plus two-point-two new unemployed, also dependent on liberal social programs! It's a win-win-win! We're in heaven here!

Excellent analysis.

25 posted on 02/21/2011 7:22:50 PM PST by denydenydeny (Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak-Adams)
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To: Ben Ficklin
Everything is subsidized.

Isn't that just a little pat?

Especially, when some things are subsidized to a much greater degree (e.g., windmills) than others (e.g., natural gas).

I believe we'd agree that, were it not for heavy subsidies, windmills wouldn't be a measurable part of our national power generation.

If their economics were favorable, windmills would have a place in the spectrum. But they aren't...and taxpayers have to pay twice for them -- in capital subsidies and in mandates that make all energy more expensive.

Plus, what is the cost of pollution or the benefit of reducing pollution?

There is a point at which the cost of lessening pollution far outweighs the benefit.

For example, when President Clinton reduced the allowable amount of arsenic in city water supplies, he forced many small communities to spend millions for new or upgraded facilities. Yet, the old levels had produced absolutely no identifiable health risks.

If somebody wants to have a windmill, I'm fine with that. Just don't ask me to help pay for your windmill, though.

26 posted on 02/21/2011 7:48:14 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: okie01; PDMiller; Publius6961
How did we get on to Arsenic?

If you burn fossil fuel you create pollution. Less with gas and more with coal. Either way we externalize the cost, we socialize the cost.

As for the subsidies, both wind and and gas are subsidized and you try to exaggerate the subsidies on wind. Certainly the tax credit/subsidy for unconventional natural gas has been in the Texas news recently because of the budget problems.

Most subsidies tend to be hidden or obscured so it is hard to know exactly what they are but generally we all acknowledge that windpower is subsidiized more that gaspower.

And, if you could remove all subsidies, how would wind ever compete gas in generating electricity.

That depends almost entirely on the cost of natural gas and their is no fuel cost with wind. So what is the cost of natural gas or what will be the cost of natural gas.

We have to turn to traditional wisdom or the conventional wisdom that has been in place for a very long time.

Simply stated, though the US domestic supply of natural gas was more than adequate to supply the traditional uses of gas, as the US used more and more gas to generate electricity, we would eventually out use our supply and would have to import LNG to supply our needs. And, that would raise the price gas and windpower would compete gas power.

What happened in the real world? How did the conventional wisdom play out?

We encountered our first ever natural gas shortage in 2000-2001. Gas prices went from $2.50/MCF to $17.00/MCF. The California electricity market descended into chaos. The dem governor was replaced with a republican, Enron crashed, and Texas Senator Phil Gramm had to get out of politics.

The shortages lasted only a year but they served as the notice that we had reached the point that the domestic supply was inadequate. And much natural gas activity took place in 2002

Numerous LNG projects were kicked of, most notably Exxon/Qatar. The development of the Bergos gas field in Mexico began, and Congress began working on the Alaska Gas Pipeline which eventually passed in 2004. Like wise, Devon Energy bought out Mitchell Energy's shale gas holdings and technology in the Barnett Shale.

Then Katrina took out a lot of the natural gas infrastructure in the Gulf and prices went up into the double digits again and stayed there for a long time. They gradually began falling and got down into the $7.00 range but by that time, crude prices were escalating and natural gas prices turned around and started following crude up, reaching double digits again. Rate payers in Texas were bleeding badly.

How did all this effect Texas?

When Texas deregulated they converted a lot of coal to natural gas and produce more electricity from gas than coal. And, based on the traditional wisdom, they implemented their first renewable standards in 99. Because of the price of natural gas windmills exploded because they were able to produce electricity cheaper than gas. Texas achieved their renewable standards way, way ahead of schedule and had to stop putting up windmills because they have exceeded the capacity of the transmission lines, and won't have the additional capacity until 2013.

Likewise with shale gas. Pre 2001, there were just a few drillers in the Barnett shale and they were developing their technology. After gas prices went up more and more drillers piled into the Barnett and drilling spilled over into AR , LA, and eventually the northeastern states.

Eventually shale gas output kicked in and the economy collapsed and natural gas prices fell. But those natural gas prices have not fallen to pre-Katrina prices. They will eventually work thru it. The intrastate transmission lines will get built. The interstate DC transmission lines and Tres Amigas will get built. Texas is going to export natural gas and windpower. In the coming years and decades the nation will convert more coal to gas and utilize more renewables.

So what does the price of natural gas have to be for wind to compete? I'm not an expert so don't rely on this but at $5.50/MCF, wind will compete. And if gas is at $7.50, wind will boom.

27 posted on 02/22/2011 8:03:09 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: Ben Ficklin
Sorry. I remain unsold.

As they are, windmills, bio-fuels, ethanol, et al are all artificial creations, driven not by economic efficiency, but by enviromental hysteria and its associated politics. That's my opinion, anyway.

Nothing against any of them...when, as and if they make good economic sense.

28 posted on 02/22/2011 8:46:30 AM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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