Alternative energy could cost jobs

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Is renewable energy technology destroying jobs?

A study examining green energy in Spain could have implications for the “green economy” in the United States.

The study says that every renewable energy job created by Spanish government subsidies “destroyed” an average of 2.2 other jobs. Each green megawatt – energy from solar or wind power – also destroyed 5.39 jobs in non-energy sectors.

Study authors Gabriel Calzada Alverez said that only one in 10 jobs in Spain were permanent – two thirds were construction, fabrication and installation jobs, one quarter were positions in administration, marketing and engineering and only one in 10 were related to more permanent maintenance and operations.

In fact, study authors predict that the U.S. could lose 6.6 million to 11 million jobs if it creates 3 million largely temporary “green jobs.”

But Eric Cefus, executive director of the Catamount Institute and creator of the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network, believes the numbers are wrong.

“They’re pulling those figures out of their you-know-what’s,” he said. “In fact, we know that every megawatt of green energy creates an additional $2 million in economic output. That’s jobs, money saved in conservation efforts, in being more efficient.”

Cefus said that putting off the move to green energy is not possible – more jobs will be lost in the long run.

“If we don’t do this, the numbers are going to be much higher,” he said. “As fossil fuels become more and more difficult to find, and more and more expensive – the cost of doing business is going to go up, not down.”

Read more about this in Friday’s Business Journal

5 Responses to Alternative energy could cost jobs

  1. That study of Spanish green energy was probably commissioned by some veiled petrochemical company. However, it seems rational to expect that jobs in old, established, unionized and bureaucratic industries would be more numerous (and superfluous) than jobs in new, freshly organized companies. Perhaps there’s some truth to the author’s findings.

    Green Flash
    April 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

  2. Green Flash – … and, you’re probably a paid radical environmentalist …

    Look – I’m just illustrating the point that attacking the motives of scientists is not a good way to have a reasonable discussion on such important issues. Studies are funded from various sources – most are perfectly legitimate. If you believe the Spanish report was funded by a conspiracy by energy companies, you should also discount any study that supports alternatives since it could be funded by the Sierra Club or some other very well-funded national environmentalist group with an agenda of their own.

    In my opinion, we should work to develop all domestic sources of energy. Not only do they create American jobs, but as our economy grows (as it surely will after the Recession), energy to fuel increased standards of living will be in shorter and shorter supply. Like it or not, we will continue to be dependant on traditional energy sources, including natural gas from Colorado. We need to encourage growth in natural gas in Colorado – both because we need the energy and we need the tens of thousands of jobs the industry provides.

    Eagle25
    April 8, 2009 at 8:22 am

  3. I don’t understand why it has to be one or the other? We should be pursuing renewable energies and clean fuels like natural gas. We need green energy but a complete conversion to renewable energy can’t just happen overnight. Renewable sources make up a fraction of the electrical power today (wind produces .77 percent of the total electrical power supply and solar procures .01 percent of total electrical power supply). We shouldn’t be hurting one industry to promote another.

    News Flash
    April 8, 2009 at 9:23 am

  4. Anything that creates more efficiency and productivity is likely to reduce the need for manpower in the direct, short-term. Over time, efficiency and productivity open new opportunities which can create jobs. The key is whether or not the new “green” energy really is more productive and efficient than what it is replacing. If it’s just a make-work project, nothing good will come of it.

    Ed Duffy
    April 10, 2009 at 8:10 am

  5. it’s true alternative energy is going to cost a few jobs here and there. however, the benefits will greatly outweigh the job loss. I see no major problem with those wind or solar power generating schemes ,other than it’s not for everyone. I live in Michigan where there’s very little strong sunlight. and as far as that wind power generation goes, we experience less than 30 days out of a whole year where the wind is strong enough to spin a wind turbine. i’ve read countless articles that deal with those alternative forms of energy too, in in relation to non-polluting cleaner burning forms. now they all sound promising and prove conclusively that the American innovation is alive and well today. on the other hand, we shouldn’t just embrace these is the only alternative solution to our current energy generation problem. I also find myself a bit skeptical when it comes to that magnetic principal of power generation too, which is the closest concept to any form of perpetual motion that there is. magnetic generators are not going to help existing technologies such as those automobiles that still utilize that old internal combustion engine concept.

    Pure Fission

    as a bit of a self-made scientist and garage mechanic researcher I propose a new approach that symbolically converts all the existing internal combustion technologies by modifying the power utilization curve to fit the energy output of all V4- V6-V8 engines. in my humble estimation the internal combustion engine is going to outlive us all. Yes, at a time where semi new technologies such as battery-operated hybrids don’t seem to be very popular,it’s time to embrace the symbolic concept of internal combustion.

    good day to you all, Albert Einstein’s smarter Brother.

    Ray Greenfield
    April 19, 2009 at 11:18 am