Prop 23 Update: Scathing “Green Jobs” Report

Russ Steele

During the Prop 23 debate we were assured by our local liberal defenders of AB-32 and Obama’s investments in green technology, that both were going to create millions of “green jobs” and the California economy would soar on this wave of green energy.  Prop 23 proponents were not buying this green wet dream!

Now we learn the truth in a report by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce titled: Where Are the Jobs? – The Elusiveness of Job Creation under the Section 1603 Grant Program for Renewable Energy

From the Executive Summary:

  •  Section 1603 of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act or “stimulus”) created a grant program administered by the Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Department of Energy (DOE).  This program offered cash payments to renewable energy projects, mainly solar and wind.  Before the stimulus, qualifying renewable energy projects were Federally supported, primarily through the production tax credit or investment tax credit.  Through March 15, 2012, $8.2 billion (74.7 percent) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $2.0 billion (17.4 percent) was for solar electricity.  The remaining 8 percent went to technologies such as geothermal electricity, biomass, solar thermal, and small wind.
  • The Recovery Act was touted by President Obama as a jobs program.  Separately, DOE Secretary Steven Chu, in testimony before a joint subcommittees of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (Committee) on March 16, 2011, stated that “the Section 1603 tax grant program has created tens of thousands of jobs in industries such as wind and solar by providing up-front incentives to thousands of projects.”
  • An investigation by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations shows that:

o Most current methods used to calculate jobs created by Section 1603 are largely unreliable.  What accurate jobs data that exists for Section 1603 shows that it produces very few long-term jobs.

 o The Section 1603 program has resulted in higher costs to the taxpayer than previously anticipated.

  • Despite statements made by the Administration that the Recovery Act, and Section 1603 in particular, would create jobs, information gathered by the Committee shows that job creation is an afterthought of the Section 1603 program.
  • The Committee requested that DOE and Treasury report on the number of jobs created by Section 1603:

o Treasury stated that it does not consider job creation when awarding the Section 1603 payments: “…job creation is not one of the statutory requirements for eligibility and thus it is not a factor in the consideration process.  Because the 1603 program’s primary focus is on domestic renewable energy production, Treasury also does not report on the number of jobs created by the program.”

o DOE echoed Treasury, but also referenced estimates contained in a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report.  The operation and maintenance of photovoltaic and wind energy systems, in which around $8 billion of Section 1603 funds were invested, were estimated to support just over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs per year over the lifetime of the systems.  Removing indirect jobs, the estimate falls to “910 annually for the lifetime of the systems,” alarmingly low figures consistent with those reported by the Wall Street Journal in February 2012.

  •  The NREL estimates relied upon by DOE include projects that even NREL admits might have progressed without the Section 1603 award.  In fact, NREL acknowledged that “the results presented in this report cannot be attributed to the Section 1603 grant program alone.” Further, a New York Times article and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report from 2010 confirmed that Section 1603 funds went toward many projects that were already underway.
  •  Besides overstating the number of jobs created by Section 1603 grants, NREL’s models do not account for displaced jobs,  economic activity related to changes in utilization of existing power plants, electric utility revenues, and household and business energy expenditures.  The NREL study does not estimate job creation and economic impacts associated with possible alternative spending of Federal funds.
  • The job creation numbers that exist for Section 1603 are based on models, not actual data from completed projects.  Neither Treasury nor DOE have turned over actual jobs data on the Section 1603 grants program to the Committee.

You can read the rest of the Committee Report HERE. It is clear that the Department of Energy has no idea how many “green jobs” were created, nor the cost of those jobs that were created. Here in California government agencies continue to spend billions in an effort to create CA “green jobs.”  So, where are those jobs promised by our local global warming lefties? It looks like they did not know what they were talking about. So, do they know what they are talking about now?

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

5 Responses to Prop 23 Update: Scathing “Green Jobs” Report

  1. sean2829 says:

    I think there is a bigger issue than just green jobs created here. I recall that towards the end of the $800 billion stimulus, there was talk of stimulus II. While democrats typically wanted a second dose and republicans balked, neither republicans nor democrats wanted more money thrown at green energy. It turns out that 70% of the money spent on green infrastructure manufactured items was spent offshore. Obama hammers Romney for spending exporting American jobs but I’d argue Romney is an armature compared to Obama when it comes to exporting jobs and Obama did it with out taxes. (I guess Obama could argue that since we borrowed much of the money from the Chinese and bought Chinese solar panels and steel for wind turbines that it was really not our taxes.)

  2. MikeL says:

    The lunatic left will just resort to the typical change the subject tactic by claiming the rebubs are just on a witch hunt to make the Obama administration to look bad because of racism. And besides those who think that investing in so called Green energy projects by the government is a bad idea obviously must like pollution.

    • Gas prices have been inching down and Obama and his lackeys were crowing how it was his policies. Then within hours the prices started rising and they went silent. What a hoot! Those darn repubs just won’t allow him a break!

  3. gjrebane says:

    Agenda21 – the simplest explanation for it all.

  4. D. King says:

    Patent laws: Check
    Healthcare Laws: Check
    Energy Costs:On the way up. Check
    Nanny State Laws: Check
    …and on and on!

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