Net Loser: Subsidised Wind & Solar ‘Industries’ Destroy More Jobs Than They Ever Create

Calling wind and solar ‘industries’ is sloppy; any operation that can’t survive without massive and perpetual subsidies isn’t really an ‘industry’, at all. Industry connotes effort, output and production. Whereas the wind and solar scam involves destruction on all fronts: environmental, social and economic.

The myth about so-called ‘green’ energy jobs, is just that.

South Australia’s wind and solar obsession drove power prices through the roof and whole industries out of business. The state is an economic backwater, critically dependent upon Commonwealth defence spending to maintain a few meaningful jobs building frigates and submarines for the Navy.

And South Australia isn’t the only place in the world where subsidised, intermittent and wholly unreliable wind power has become a proven social and economic disaster. Oh no. The inevitable consequences of trying to run an economy on the whims of the weather are universal.

In this post STT covered a very detailed study from Wisconsin on the effect of rising power prices (caused by the massive subsidies diverted to wind and solar) has on real jobs. Based on actual data, not models and assumptions – Wisconsin’s piddling 10% renewable target knocked a $billion hole in annual economic activity; is killing off 10,000 real jobs every year; and, surprise, surprise has failed to deliver any sign of the much vaunted ‘green’ jobs bonanza – long promised by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers.

And any job that depends upon constant taxpayer subsidies in perpetuity, isn’t meaningful employment; it’s welfare by another name.

The relationship between subsidies to wind and solar and ‘green’ jobs becomes pretty obvious, as soon as the subsidies get slashed. As Europe began cutting them in early 2019, its wind industry hit the ropes: German turbine construction ground to a halt. Twelve countries in the European Union (EU) failed to install “a single wind turbine” in 2018.

The collapse in wind turbine manufacturers and solar panels was sudden and staggering, but not surprising. The new ‘green’ economy turned gangrenous; thousands of jobs were slashed overnight: the German solar ‘industry’ chopped 80,000 from its payroll in 2018 and Danish turbine maker, Vestas sacked 600 of its ‘valued’ team at one plant alone

With those examples in mind, it would take a pretty brave soul to start touting a ‘green’ jobs bonanza, anywhere.

But, there are plenty who traipse the halls of power who are not just brave, but ‘crazy brave’ – the kind who ignore facts and evidence, as if they were pesky bush flies at an outback race meeting. Trouble is, you can only swat them away for so long, until they eventually come back to bite you.

The Australian’s Adam Creighton takes a look at the great ‘green’ jobs hoax.

Green jobs revolution running out of power
The Australian
Adam Creighton
13 February 2021

Once, “learning to code” was the key for workers facing the economic scrap heap to stay in jobs.

New US secretary of state John Kerry recently urged workers upset by the Biden administration’s decision to scuttle the Keystone XL pipeline to “learn to make solar panels”.

The 500km-plus upgrade approved by former president Donald Trump, an early casualty of the climate change wars, would have pumped oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

Just as programming jobs still make up a minuscule share of employment, “green jobs” — vaguely defined, virtuous work that mitigates climate change — have also failed to live up to the hype.

Amid the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic few should find much solace in the track record of green jobs. In the decade to 2019 the number of workers in the renewable energy sector in Australia grew an impressive 120 per cent. But that amounted to 27,000 in total, in a labour force in excess of 13 million.

In fact over the same 10-year period, renewable energy jobs accounted for 1 per cent of new full-time work generated, according to analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs. “For every full-time equivalent job in renewable energy there are 56 jobs in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing,” notes Daniel Wild, an IPA research fellow.

Former ACTU boss Jennie George pointed out last week “carbon workers” in coalmining, gas and oil extraction, fossil-fuel generation and integrated steelmaking amounted to around 100,000.

It’s not fair to say green jobs haven’t had enough time to proliferate. The renewable energy target, which requires electricity retailers to buy more than 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources, was fully rolled out by 2020. In Queensland almost 40 per cent of suitable homes have rooftop solar panels, while South Australia routinely boasts how over 70 per cent of its power is from renewable sources.

[Note to Adam: you’re a trained economist, and ought to know your statistics terms backwards, so it wouldn’t hurt to add “on average” to the 70% figure in the paragraph above. When the sun sets and calm weather sets in, you can’t buy wind or solar power in South Australia (or Queensland), at any price. Oh, and by the way, power isn’t consumed “on average”. The bloke in ICU wants it here and now, not just when the wind is blowing or the sun’s up.]

We should be seeing a green jobs boom already.

Germany, which takes its transition to renewable power so seriously it has a word for it, Energiewende, offers a cautionary tale. It is on track for 65 per cent of its electricity to be from renewable sources by 2030.

A report last week revealed the number of jobs in the German renewable sector — production and installation — had almost halved from 300,000 in 2011 to around 150,000 in 2018, offset partly by a gain of 30,000 in maintenance, up to 80,000.

China’s growing competitiveness in making solar panels explains the loss. Of the top 10 solar panel manufacturers in the world, eight are Chinese. If China’s wages rise too much, India would be on the job.

If Germany’s manufacturing sector can’t compete, Australia’s can’t. Unless wages and conditions deteriorate significantly in advanced countries, their workers won’t be making solar panels as Kerry hopes.

What else “green” is there? Becoming a “chief sustainability officer” on $500,000 a year at a large company isn’t an option for most displaced workers.

Renewable energy is fundamentally less jobs-intensive than supplying energy from traditional power sources. It takes hundreds, sometimes thousands, of skilled workers to operate coal, gas and nuclear plants. By contrast, solar panels and wind turbines are largely set-and-forget once they are up and running.

[Note to Adam: in large-scale plants, spraying weeds around their solar panels, washing them with water to remove filth and dust build-up is a constant chore for a ‘lucky’ few. And wind turbine maintenance keeps quite a few lads busy. Gearboxes and generators often need replacing after a few years and so do fractured blades, before they disintegrate and fly off in all directions; and, as an unexpected side-line business, there’s been an uptick in jobs for truckers and bulldozer operators involved in burying the remnants (see below). The Operations and Maintenance costs associated with turbines starts at around $25 per MW/h delivered and increases over time. So, hardly a ‘set and forget’ operation.]

Of course, it’s bad economics to choose a particular energy source because it sustains a large number of jobs. Economic history is a series of new labour-saving devices that free up workers to do other, higher-value jobs.

What matters ultimately is how cheaply the energy can be provided. Electricity prices affect employment in manufacturing, agriculture and mining, and more broadly through the whole economy. Renewable power has great superficial appeal: “free” energy should see power bills tumble, freeing our economy from one of the largest costs it faces, not to mention lower carbon dioxide emissions that help mitigate global warming.

But electricity prices have not been falling as the share of renewable energy has been rising; on the contrary, the global stampede to roll out solar and wind power has seen an extraordinary increase in power costs that have accelerated the decline of manufacturing work in rich countries.

From the early 1990s to 2017, Australia went from having among the cheapest electricity to the most expensive in the world. Prices have fallen a little since, but it’s far from clear that’s thanks to renewable energy.

Renewable energy itself might be “free”, but the construction, erection and maintenance of the turbines and panels — and the massive costly batteries that must necessarily accompany them — is anything but. And no one will invest in a sector that doesn’t provide a return.

Ironically, by making electricity more expensive, the shift to solar energy has undermined Australia’s scope to make solar panels. If we must achieve net zero by 2050, nuclear power seems a better option than wind and solar. Even if it’s more expensive than coal and gas, at least with that power source it requires a highly skilled labour force, and works around the clock.
The Australian

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Andreas Demmig says:

    I translated and reblogged it on https://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/
    “Netto-Verluste: Subventionierte Wind- und Solarindustrien zerstören mehr Arbeitsplätze als jemals zuvor”
    Thank you

  2. Adam should perhaps consider renewables jobs in terms of workers per unit of power produced. If he were to do this I think he would find that in whole of life cycle terms, wind and solar generation requires many more man-hours per megawatt hour generated than does coal, nuclear or gas generation.
    But of course this is not the whole story because it fails to take account of the labour costs for the massive task of providing balancing megawatts to compensate for the intermittency of wind and solar. In other words the labour cost of the generation or storage needed to transform unreliable wind and solar megawatts into reliable megawatts, this is essential if one is to obtain a true apples for apples comparison.

  3. https: //www. breitbart. com/environment/2021/02/15/half-of-texas-wind-turbines-freeze-hurting-electricity-output/

  4. Terry Conn says:

    My response to Adam Creighten’s article in the ‘comments’ section in the Australian follows –
    Renewables (wind and solar particularly) would not exist in Australia without having been mandated and subsidized by Commonwealth and State legislation throughout Australia. The number of jobs lost, industries lost and the cost of environment destruction (in rural areas) has never had a dollar figure attached to it. Costs of electricity to consumers throughout the world where “renewables” have been forced onto them have only ever spiralled upwards, but the cost of economic stress caused by this upward spiral has never been given a dollar value either. Further, the fact that wind and solar can never be fit for the purpose of supplying the electricity needed to run a modern society is continually ignored (including the provision of electricity for electric cars) other than for the never ending band aid schemes such as pumped hydro, gas peaking power plants, big batteries and as yet non commercially available ideas such as hydrogen. Transmission costs and pollution from unrecyclable components in wind turbines and solar plants are also uncosted. Businesses such as the Blue Scope and Tomago aluminium plants are left continually on tenterhooks as to whether they can expect to receive the dispatchable power they need to survive from one day to the next. The 100,00 jobs in coal, mining and etc mentioned by Jennie George as being potentially lost in the pursuit of “green, renewable energy” is just the tip of the iceberg. The flow on effect of these job losses is hard to imagine once you add in independent contractors (working on machinery maintenance, fuel suppliers, mechanics, parts retailers, and on and on). Electricity from wind and solar plants in never actually “free” and never cheap – when the wind and sun are plentiful at intermittent times, these operators offer “free” or negative costs to wholesalers but then receive “renewable energy certificates” that can later be cashed in for real money.

    World renowned environmentalists, such as Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Shellenberger acknowledge that cheap reliable fossil fuelled power to the planet’s people still living in poverty will save the planet more effectively than wind and solar and burning trees (biofuels) and burning dung. Both these environmentalists see that the future lies in using nuclear power world wide.

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