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Posts Tagged ‘green energy jobs’

Welcome if you’re just joining us.

Today, we offer an article from The Huffington Post by John Laforet.

The inconvenient truth about green energy jobs

Supporters of wind energy subsidies have historically done a fantastic job of tying the merits of wind energy to the contemporary problems of the day. During the latest worldwide economic crisis, wind energy proponents have heavily touted the number of jobs created by wind energy production as a reason to push these projects forward.

At a time of punishingly high unemployment in North America and Europe that is further compounding the impact increased global competition is having on traditional manufacturing sectors, wind energy backers are heavily trading on the claim that ‘green collar’ manufacturing is the future.

In 2009, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty decided to take Ontario boldly where no North American government had gone before. He introduced a wide ranging piece of legislation called the ‘Green Energy and Green Economy Act‘ and promised at the first press conference to create 50,000 jobs in three years.

While no independent verification for these job figures have been offered, the premier of Ontario continues making new announcements of jobs, and promotes fear mongering that his political opponents would kill those jobs if elected. The reality is no matter who wins Ontario’s Oct. 6 general election, those jobs won’t be there to kill, because in most cases they aren’t real.

In December 2010, the Government of Ontario issued a press release titled “New Wind Tower Plant Creates 700 Jobs in Windsor.” Yet when McGuinty went to tour the facility in September 2011, CS Wind reports just 50 people are employed at the plant.

Fort Erie is home to Ontario’s first wind turbine tower plant owned by DMI Industries. The day before McGuinty’s visit to Windsor, word broke that DMI Industries was laying off “in excess of 50 workers.” Local MPP Kim Craitor has said DMI Industries had sought his help in getting assistance through a federal work-sharing program “until orders pick up again.” With insufficient demand to maintain employment at one wind turbine tower manufacturing plant, it is hard to imagine how Windsor’s fate will be any better or why their order book as a start-up would be more robust than an established international producer.

A lack of demand for products made by ‘green collar’ workers created another embarrassing situation for Dalton McGuinty, who was accused last week of staging a campaign photo opportunity at a solar panel manufacturer Eclipsall Energy that has idled its plant due to a shortage of orders as well, confirmed by plant management.

In Tillsonburg where a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant was credited with creating 900 jobs in a December 2010 government press release, nearly 20 months later, the plant owners report a staff closer to 30 employees.

During an election where spiking energy bills, smart meters, and the government’s handling of opposition to industrial wind turbine development are all playing major roles, two things are becoming clear. Maybe it is a good thing McGuinty’s green energy jobs plan is in shambles. It means plans to give Ontario families and businesses a break by ending the feed-in-tariff program and controversial Samsung deal can help real, private sector employers stay cost competitive through reasonable electricity prices. Cancelling these deals won’t result in thousands of layoffs because they haven’t resulted in anywhere near the employment the government claims.

Jan Carr, the former President of the Ontario Power Authority completed a study of the economic impacts of Ontario’s Green Energy Act and found that each so-called ‘green job’ would result in a taxpayer subsidy of $179,000 per job, per year. Employees at Eclipsall Energy, who recalled their workforce for McGuinty’s photo op, are paid a poverty rate just 20 per cent higher than minimum wage. That subsidy is seven times their pre-tax take home pay. To provide those subsidies, all Ontarians will need to pay an additional $310 per year in electricity costs by 2015 according to Carr.

Spain’s expensive green energy failure can serve as a lesson to Ontario. A recent study shows for every ‘green job’ created 2.2 real jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to the impacts on electricity pricing.

During this election, Ontario voters will need decide whether to consider our energy policy as an economic policy. Voters have the opportunity to determine whether our government puts more economic stress on the automotive, natural resources and manufacturing sectors which employ hundreds of thousands of Ontarians to chase a green dream that has so far proven fruitless.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind.

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Here, from Wind Action, a timely editorial on the promises being made about industrial-scale wind power generation, jobs, the economy, and meeting energy needs in the U.S., and what the results have been. For more articles, go to http://www.windaction.org

WindAction Editorial

Wind energy’s broken promises

(Posted July 13, 2011) <!–
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Energy subsidies have proven fertile ground in the debt-ceiling debate now raging before Congress.

Congressional lawmakers arguing over how best to rein in spending, have set their sights on eliminating ethanol subsidies and oil and gas tax breaks. Renewable energy subsidies are also under pressure. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy’s Section 1705 loan guarantee was cut. The popular Section 1603 cash grant program created under ARRA is expected to expire later this year. And some industry insiders indicate the federal production tax credit, in effect since passage of the Energy Act of 1992, will be allowed to sunset at the end of 2012.

Our recommendation to Congress: Eliminate all of the energy subsidies. Let the economics of a freer market prevail.

Doing so will create winners and losers, for sure, but the public is far better served when industries compete for market share and profits rather than fight for political favoritism and handouts.

If you doubt this economic truism applies to the energy industry, consider the US wind market, which has relied on public funding since its inception over 30 years ago.

Wind — a trail of broken promises

The history of governmental handouts to the wind industry dates back over 30 years to the Carter Administration. Billions in public dollars have poured into the wind industry since that time and more is obligated every year for the next decade. Yet for all the promises made, we have little to show for the money spent. 

Promise #1: Meeting US Electricity Needs. A 1976 study by the Department of Energy estimated that wind power could supply nearly 20% of all U.S. electricity by 1995. By the end of 1995, wind represented only one-tenth of 1% of the US market. Today, wind delivers about 2% of the US electricity market. DOE now claims we will reach 20% wind power by 2030. Moving the goal post does not address the logistical and cost barriers to reaching the 20% goal. These barriers are significant and it’s time DOE considers the realities of what a 20% wind world would look like. It’s unlikely the scenario will ever be realized.

Promise #2: Reducing Cost. In the mid-1980’s wind power sold at around 25 cents per kilowatt hour. By 1995 prices dropped dramatically but were still double the cost of gas-fired generation, even after allowing for the production tax credit (1.5 cents per kwh in 1995). Today, wind pricing is even higher, despite continued federal support (figure 22, 2010 Annual Wind Market Report). Promises of technology improvements that could drive down costs have not translated into energy price improvements. 

Wind’s intermittency still means that high upfront capital costs are spread over fewer hours of operation which places upward pressure on the price of the energy sold. Cost pressures are also tied to policies on renewables. Aggressive renewable policies have placed developers in strong negotiating positions relative to energy buyers. They know full well that state regulators will approve their pricing demands and pass through the higher costs to ratepayers (footnote 50, 2010 Annual Wind Market Report). And with power purchase agreements now a requirement in order to attract investor financing, above-market energy prices are locked in for extended terms ranging between 10-20 years.

Promise #3: Improved Performance. In 1994, ninety percent of the US wind energy capacity was located in the State of California and operated at a 24% annual average capacity factor. In 2010, the capacity-weighted average capacity factor for Californian projects in 2010 was only 27.2%. In most regions of the US, wind operated at under 30% capacity factor. New York State wind performed at 22.7% last year. While newer technology has resulted in modest production improvements, US wind has failed to meet the promised 35% capacity factor

Promise #4: Jobs creation. Over eighty-percent of the nearly $6 billion in Section 1603 grants paid out in 2009 and 2010 went to wind energy projects. Yet by the end of 2010, the American Wind Energy Association reported jobs declined from 85,000 to 75,000. When installations dropped in 2010, it was no surprise that jobs dropped as well. And since growing the manufacturing base is predicated on installing more wind turbines it’s hard to see where job growth is sustainable.

The perpetual ‘infant industry’

Fourteen years ago, energy expert Robert Bradley wrote “Wind power has proven itself to be a perpetual ‘infant industry’ with its competitive viability always somewhere on the horizon.”

This week GE’s ecomagination VP Mark Vachon said this: “Without clean-energy mandates or tax subsidies, wind struggles to compete with cheap natural gas. And there’s uncertainty about those subsidies, particularly in the U.S. where Congress is looking to manage budget deficits.”

The American Wind Energy Association insists wind is now a mainstream energy resource but blames the 50 percent drop in US installations between 2009 and 2010 on a lack of long-term, predictable federal policies. After 30 years of paying the way for this infant industry, apparently the public has still not done enough to create a market for its product.

Has anything changed?

Call Congress. Remind your representatives that wind energy has yet to deliver on any of its promises. And history has shown we have no reason to believe things will change.

Eliminate all wind energy subsidies as part of the debt ceiling compromise. Let’s finally move on to energy solutions that can deliver on their promises. 

The North Gower Wind Action Group is a corporate member of Wind Concerns Ontario, and a signatory with the North American Platform Against Wind. Our view is that industrial-scale wind power generation projects need to be responsibly located…away from people.

Contact us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca  Join our e-mail list for updates and news.

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More news: this ship is sinking fast. Note Duguid’s comments about the 50,000 jobs being created by “green energy”—none of that is true, and the jobs that are being created come at a price tag–according to Randall Denley of The Citizen, and the experience of other countries like Germany and Spain–of over $300,000 PER JOB.

A new wind action group was born in Ontario this week, too. The citizens of Whittington Ontario are fighting for democracy.

October 14, 2010

Green power driving up prices: Hudak
By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, QMI Agency
 

TORONTO — Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said he won’t rip up signed energy contracts, but the days of attracting solar and wind power to the province with pledges of highly lucrative rates would end under a PC government.

A Hudak government would also seek out “willing hosts” for energy projects and allow people to opt back to flat electricity rates, he said.

“Energy policy is about economics and stop treating it like a social program,” Hudak said in breakfast speech Thursday hosted by the Ontario Energy Association. “Quite frankly, we cannot continue to pursue green energy policies that unnecessarily drive up the cost for consumers and have punitive impacts on our broader economy.”

With the provincial election less than a year away, and the Ontario Liberals taking heat on rising hydro rates, many players in the power sector were interested to hear Hudak’s vision for energy.

The PC leader said he would hit the green light on new nuclear and water power.

Hudak said he would also put a consumer advocate into the Ontario Energy Board — the body that regulates the province’s electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest.

While he isn’t dismissing renewable energy, Hudak said wind and solar power can’t continue to be purchased at guaranteed prices well above the market rate for electricity.

The Liberal policy on green energy is driving up hydro prices, he said.

Hudak said one of the measures most needed in electricity is consistency and long-range planning, criticizing both the Liberals who just pulled the plug on a natural gas Oakville power plant after inking a deal, and on his own government under former Conservative Premier Ernie Eves who pulled a “180” when it abruptly abandoned its own plans for the electricity sector.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid said Hudak’s vision is backward-looking and would return the province to a time when it was forced to rely on dirty sources of energy.

It’s the Liberal government’s commitment to finding additional cleaner sources of energy that has given the system the option of nixing the Oakville plant, which is no longer needed to meet electricity demand, he said.

“With (Hudak’s) policies, there’s no question there would have to be a gas plant in Oakville because we wouldn’t have the flexibility to consider any other options,” Duguid said, predicting the Tory leader’s views on hydro would kill many of the 50,000 jobs that the Liberal’s Green Energy Act is creating.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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