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How effective were Obama’s green jobs initiatives?

Written By : Wintery Knight
February 14, 2012

From the LA Examiner.

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Excerpt:

U.S. House of Representatives investigations have revealed the failed green jobs initiative in President Obama’s ambitious environmental agenda.  With an initial government cost of one-half billion dollars, evidence proves that only about 10% of sponsored trainees were placed in green jobs.

As part of the Obama green energy program, the goal was to train 124,893 people, and place 79,854 (64%) in new green jobs. After 17 months, the results of the green jobs program indicate that only 52,762 were trained, and only 8,035 got green jobs – each job costs tax payers about $62,000. (U.S. Dept. of Labor Inspector General, Jan. 2012)

[...]The Solyndra, First Solar and many other new energy failures are direct evidence of energy technologies that fail economic viability in today’s competitive global markets, even with massive government subsidies. Current solar and wind power systems still cost 3 to 4 times that of conventional coal, natural gas and nuclear power production. Further, the giant Chinese producers of solar panels and wind energy turbines have reduced production projections due to lack of global market demands.

President Obama’s first re-election campaign ad boasts of 2.7 million green energy jobs. But, nothing in the Departments of Energy, Labor or Commerce justifies such job claims. Obama appears to be losing his big green bet on his new green economy. Sadly, he’s gambling with your money and future prosperity to win environmental votes.

The problem with the Democrats is that they keep trying things that are known to fail.

In Spain, the socialist’s green jobs programs failed.

Excerpt:

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.

Here’s a study from Denmark, which shows that wind power programs failed.

Excerpt:

But according to a new study from the Danish Centre for Political Studies (CEPOS), commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, the road to increased wind power is less traveled for a reason. The study refutes the claim that Denmark generates 20 percent of its power from wind stating that its high intermittency not only leads to new challenges to balance the supply and demand of electricity, but also provides less electricity consumption than assumed. The new study says, “wind power has recently (2006) met as little as 5% of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption with an average over the last five years of 9.7%.” Furthermore, the wind energy Denmark exports to its northern neighbors, Sweden and Norway, does little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because the energy it replaces is carbon neutral.

The study goes on to say that the only reason wind power exists in Denmark is “through substantial subsidies supporting the wind turbine owners. Exactly how the subsidies have been shared between land, wind turbine owners, labor, capital and its shareholders is opaque, but it is fair to assess that no Danish wind industry to speak of would exist if it had to compete on market terms.”

But there’s a cost involved. When government spends more money, it necessarily diverts labor, capital and materials from the private sector. Just like promises are made in the United States about green jobs creation, the heavily subsidized Danish program created 28,400 jobs. But “this does not, however, constitute the net employment effect of the wind mill subsidy. In the long run, creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment but only in a shift from the non-subsidized sectors to the subsidized sector.”

And because these resources are being diverted away from more productive uses (in terms of value added, the energy technology underperforms compared to industrial average), “Danish GDP is approximately $270 million lower than it would have been if the wind sector work force was employed elsewhere.”

And the same goes for Ontario, Canada where the Liberal government embraced unproven wind and solar power.

Excerpt:

If you haven’t opened your September hydro bill yet, you’re in for a shock. Rates have risen 18 per cent this year to date, and that’s just the start. By this time next year – election time – Ontario power consumers will be forking over about twice as much (in nominal terms) as they did when Dalton McGuinty took office in 2003.

[...]Power expert Tom Adams may know more about this subject than any other living being. And he’s steamed. Ontario’s rates, he says, have already surpassed the U.S. average and are headed for European levels – “just because of public policy.”

The policy is to go all out on renewables – wind and solar– whether or not it makes sense. The province is paying sky-high rates for power it doesn’t need so we can have wind turbines marching on and on to the horizon, just like Denmark does.

Smart people don’t repeat mistakes that have been made elsewhere. They learn from other people’s mistakes.

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