Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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The Green Bubble

Sometimes I really hate being right all the time.  It’s so boring.

Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power - - which are charged to consumers in their bills—translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

Spain’s Acerinox SA, the nation’s largest stainless-steel producer, blamed domestic energy costs for deciding to expand in South Africa and the U.S., according to the study.

“Microsoft and Google moved their servers up to the Canadian border because they benefited from cheaper energy there,” said the professor of applied environmental economics.

I said in the last post I get nervous translating events in small countries to big countries.  And I think that green energy may ... possibly ... one day ... perhaps ... be financially sound.  But Spain is stark lesson that you can’t just create viable economic technologies out of thin air.  And “green jobs” may not be the economic powerhouse we imagine them to be.

Not that this is likely to deter an Administration fresh off taking over the auto industry and horking green technology down their throats.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/31/09 at 07:20 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 04/01/09 at 08:33 AM from United States

And I think that green energy may ... possibly ... one day ... perhaps ... be financially sound.  But Spain is stark lesson that you can’t just create viable economic technologies out of thin air.  And “green jobs” may not be the economic powerhouse we imagine them to be.

While I agree with you that Obama most likely is over-selling Green Jobs, Our country is the countyr that went to the moon first, and has led the way in many tech industries.  Why do you seem so sure that there is no way we can make advances now if we are fully committed to it? If we made research into Green Tech a top priority as far as R&D;(like fidning ways to improve the life of solar panels and finding better ways to recycle the toxic remnants, Improving wind turbine design, et al) do you think it still would not matter?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/01/09 at 08:35 AM from United States

I think we can make these breakthroughs, no question.  Breeder reactors, nuclear fusion, solar panels in space beaming microwaves to the Earth, etc. But we have to accept that switching from fosil fuels to new energies may be a net economic loss—at least in the short to medium term.

Posted by on 04/01/09 at 01:26 PM from Germany

solar panels in space beaming microwaves to the Earth,

Yep, nothing like orbiting weapon platforms to make me feel safe....

Posted by on 04/03/09 at 10:43 AM from United States

But we have to accept that switching from fosil fuels to new energies may be a net economic loss—at least in the short to medium term.

Hal, hasn’t that always been the problem?  We take the short term benefits at the expense of any long term goals.  We have to start thinking long term as far as many issues go, like social security, health care, energy and getting control of the budget.  There has been too much “I’ve got my ass covered and I’ll worry about the grandkids ‘later’ “.

Posted by on 04/03/09 at 11:45 AM from United States

There has been too much “I’ve got my ass covered and I’ll worry about the grandkids ‘later’ “.

There’s Obama’s budget for you in a nutshell.

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