It has been several weeks since we discussed Cap & Trade, renewable energy, and green jobs. Now that Senators Graham (r-SC), Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-Conn) are on the verge of introducing such legislation, it bears revisiting.
Readers may recall our discussion of subsidized green jobs, primarily solar generators, in Spain, wherein we said that
…studies by a team at King Juan Carlos University in Madrid showed that the costs of such programs to the public sector were unsustainably high, and actually resulted in the loss of a significant number of jobs.
We now have a copy of that report. Not only is it profound and exhaustively revealing in its discussion of the unsustainable costs of government subsidized renewable energy facilities, but it pointedly denotes the error that the United States would be making were we to follow a similar path. Consider this excerpt from the executive summary:
Europe’s current policy and strategy for supporting the so-called “green jobs” or renewable energy dates back to 1997, and has become one of the principal justifications for U.S. “green jobs” proposals. Yet an examination of Europe’s experience reveals these policies to be terribly economically counterproductive.
This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style
“green jobs” agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created and the net destruction per installed MW.
The study’s results demonstrate how such “green jobs” policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil.
The following are key points from the study:
1. As President Obama correctly remarked, Spain provides a reference for the establishment of government aid to renewable energy. No other country has given such broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. The arguments for Spain’s and Europe’s “green jobs” schemes are the same arguments now made in the U.S., principally that massive public support would produce large numbers of green jobs. The question that this paper answers is “at what price?”
2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data1, we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.
The Obama administration has successfully kept these revelations from most Americans, especially those who still rely on the conventional media outlets for their information. This may not be so easy any longer, for Spain’s “mainstream media” began a full frontal attack on the subsidies this week. On Tuesday, the story appeared on the front page of Expansión (their equivalent of the Financial Times). On its front page is stated that
the cost of renewables skyrockets to 6.2 billion euros” — though that number refers only to the feed-in tariffs of last year alone.
The paper goes on to report that the cost to subsidize the renewable energy program is 250 Euro, or about $335 per consumer.
New levels of corruption have also been reported in the Spanish solar energy industry, where some operators went so far as to purchase diesel generators to falsely generate more “solar” power, using agricultural fuel (which bears no road tax and is thus less costly) to power them. The corruption was finally revealed when the fools began selling their “solar” power to the grid at night!
Solar panels don’t work all that well at night.
We cannot afford this legislation. Like most legislation pending and recently passed by Congress, it will ultimately require unprecedented (in this country) levels of taxation to sustain it, and will offer new opportunities for the unscrupulous to abuse it. It’s all been demonstrated in Spain (and Germany, and Denmark).
The President is right. We need to look to Spain for our renewable energy inspiration.