The Problem With Green-Job Creation

In a Washington Times article, Patrice Hill brings to light what most of us have realized for quite some time. The sizable portion of the stimulus bill designated to put the unemployed to work and resuscitating our great economy by way of green or renewable energy projects is expensive and slow.

The plan put in place appealed to policy makers because at face value it made some sense. In order to change the way energy is produced, stored, utilized, or conserved a significant amount of effort would have to be applied to make those changes happen. That effort would be applied by the unemployed and struggling businesses, and in effect, stimulating them.

The problem we are now seeing is that this approach is far from being the best “bang for the buck”. After spending a substantial portion of the stimulus designated for green or renewable energy we have not created more than 100,000 jobs and “the prospects are for only modest growth in alternative energy jobs for years to come”. Even when the number 100,000 is considered, numerous inconsistencies can be found as green-economy advocates tend to use “fuzzy math” when attributing job creation to the stimulus, as standards for defining a green job do not yet exist. The calculation becomes even trickier when the 200,000 jobs lost each month is taken into account.

One major setback is that the majority of the technology is, at best, in experimental stages. That, coupled with the fact that most jobs in the alternative energy sector currently require high levels of education and skill and leave those who are currently unemployed, unemployed. Even with government subsidies, wind, solar, and ethanol alternative sources of energy are still not competitively priced with respect to conventional sources of energy and will continue to be “expensive” until a significant breakthrough occurs which will shift the playing field, enticing market support.

There is only so much that can be done by simply throwing money at a problem. Even $27 billion dollars could not prevent 1 million construction jobs from being terminated last year.

In the words of Max Schulz from the Manhattan Institute:

For all the talk about green-job creation, there's an unavoidable problem with renewable-energy technologies and the policies that promote them: From an economic standpoint, they're big losers.
 

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