Impact on Economy and USA
At Katana Summit, Kevin L. Strudthoff, the president and chief executive, said that his industry's problem was probably similar to the situation of the domestic solar panel industry. In fact, the American wind industry is also subsidized, mostly through a production tax credit, but by all accounts the scale of Chinese subsidies is far larger.
Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator.
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter ...Job training programs intended for the clean economy have also failed to generate big numbers.
Some, including economist Christopher Thornberg, figure there's some wiggle room in defining exactly what a green job is.
"Who the hell knows what they classify as a green job?" Thornberg said. "That's what it boils down to. There are very few jobs you could say are truly green - maybe a solar-panel installer ... but who else?"
Advocates for such renewable, carbon-free sources of electricity are in full defense mode, as recession-battered consumers blanch at the modest added costs required to shift to cleaner power and resurgent Republicans rail against government subsidies or carbon-control programs that might add costs for businesses and "kill jobs."
In asking to intervene in the case, the two agencies argued that the project, stretching from Virginia to New Jersey, could adversely affect the rates paid by consumers and also place much of the risk on the ratepayer instead of the developers.
The Atlantic Wind Connection is a 350-mile underwater transmission line, which aims to connect the spate of offshore wind farms being developed by New Jersey and other states.
The poor performance of some sectors aiming to slow climate change is pushing money managers to cast further afield for investments that both carry green credentials and are likely to post better returns.
Some renewable-energy stocks, such as those in solar and wind industries, have fallen spectacularly in recent years, belying hopes that they were poised to break out.
First Wind Holdings Inc., the operator of wind-energy projects backed by D.E. Shaw & Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, said it withdrew its initial public offering because of unfavorable market conditions.
The company had already postponed an offering of 12 million Class A shares at $18 to $20 each last month.
Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers' electricity bills.
Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia.
Matt Rogers, the Department of Energy's senior adviser on stimulus, testified to Congress in April of this year that the Section 1603 program was responsible for "50,000 additional jobs in 2009."
In an interview in late September, however, Rogers did not dispute the records showing that a large portion of work on many projects was completed before 2009.
"People want jobs, and all the more so in a situation like this," with an ongoing recession, said Alan Viard, an economist who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "It naturally has a political resonance."
But Viard and other economists warn that the jobs arguments is flawed. Industries tend to look only at a policy's impact on one sector, ignoring the broader economic impact.
Wind farm developers, including FPL Group Inc.'s NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. wind-power producer, and AES Corp., based in Arlington, Va., have slowed investments in domestic wind energy.
AES has directed most of its planned wind turbine installations overseas, said Ned Hall, president of the wind generation unit.
"Eighty percent of our development budget is outside the U.S.," Hall said at the conference.
The recession-induced drop in power demand and lower electricity and natural gas prices have "had a profound effect on utility willingness to ink
power purchase agreements," IHS said.
In addition, the study said that increased transmission congestion and reduced utility demand have reduced growth in traditional "wind hot spots".
The Department of Commerce released "Measuring the Green Economy," an early attempt to take inventory of how many "green jobs" exist today -- and what should count anyway.
The report (pdf) says selling "used merchandise," including toys, books and jewelry, can be thought of as a green job.
But even by a generous count, one that adds such jobs to other, commonly cited occupations like installing solar panels and weatherizing buildings, green jobs make up only 1 to 2 percent of the workforce.
The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute. (The below is the English translation of an article published in Spain's La Gaceta newspaper.)
Although hundreds of millions in federal stimulus dollars are been funneled to the Bay State to create so-called green jobs, no government definition of "green job" exists ...The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is working to establish an official definition, but it won't be finalized until next year, an official said. The bureau itself is spending $8 million in stimulus funds just to define and quantify "green jobs."
But there's no sign that demand for solar-panel installers, wind-farm workers and other green positions will be strong enough to drive California's unemployment rate below the national average, the forecast said.
"As we look at the hype around 'green is going to drive the economy,' the fact is, not really," Jerry Nickelsburg, author of the forecast, said in an interview.
A group of senators wants to halt stimulus funding for several wind projects regarding concern that the program has subsidized too many jobs overseas.
The dispute began after a planned Texas wind farm with substantial Chinese investment announced it would seek a $450 million stimulus tax credit. The developers initially said the project would support 3,000 jobs in China and about 300 in Texas.
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A group of Democratic senators may seek to halt stimulus funding for wind-energy projects over concerns that the program is subsidizing jobs overseas.
The dispute was prompted by a proposed wind farm in West Texas, whose investors planned to use Chinese-made turbines and seek a $450 million stimulus grant. The senators insist that stimulus funds shouldn't go to projects that get most of their materials from abroad and create "the bulk of their jobs" in other countries.
A heated national debate is now occurring over whether renewable energy projects, such as wind farms, create a substantial number of jobs for Americans.
A controversial analysis recently undertaken by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University alleged that stimulus money intended to bolster the renewable energy industry continues to flow overseas. The analysis also claimed that "while some construction jobs are created when a wind farm is built, they last, on average, nine months."