American Elephants

Green Jobs, The Last Redoubt of the True Believers. They Remain Uninterested in the Evidence. by The Elephant's Child
February 21, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Donald Hertzmark of Master Resource does a little math experiment.  In the interests of green tech, and what it can do for the U.S. economy, he chose a number at random: $287.4 billion dollars.

What can you do with $287.4 billion?  Well, in green tech you can construct about 136.9 GW of wind generation.  At an average plant factor of 25% this will yield about 299.7 billion kWh per year.

Is There Any Other Way to Generate 300 billion kWh/year in the USA?

Actually, there is.  If you took 2 trillion ft3/year of gas from shale deposits, put that gas into 45.6 GW of CCGT units operating at 75% plant factors, then voilà, your 299.7 billion kWh would appear.  To produce 2 trillion ft3 of gas from shale annually you need about $85 billion (present value) in fixed investment and production costs over 20 years.  You also need to build the CCGT plants, for say, $38.8 billion.

So the “bad” future, the one that produces reliable and clean electricity from natural gas (domestic US gas, no laughing Russians I bet), will cost about $123.4 billion, or 43% what the windy future costs.  And the terrible thing about it, from the green point of view, is that not one cent (well, about $0.00025 per kWh) comes from taxpayers.  Willing investors and customers will be all that is needed to support the investments and production.  What are we going to do with the $164 billion that’s left over?

Actually, there are a lot of things we can do with $164 billion, but it’s not really the government’s business if we stop fooling around with subsidies for wind and solar (subsidized at a rate of about $0.024/kWh in the US).  People can invest in new plants, skills training, technology research.  In short, we can invest in figuring out new and better ways to use that energy we have so efficiently generated from gas.  While energy is the master resource, it is not the purpose of the economy.  We love energy for what it does, not what it is.  The greenies love the machines more than they love the economy.  That’s why they are willing to destroy the economy in order to build the machines.

As ever more evidence accumulates that the army of global warmism is on life support, a new battle line is arising.  “The American economy is ill, energy is important, green jobs will save us, so we must promote green jobs, give us your money.” The trouble is that their much hyped stalwarts — wind, solar, ethanol, and high-speed trains —are simply not up to the jobCap-and-trade and/or a carbon tax were supposed to force that support, but they have failed.

There are very few things that the government does well.  To deflate the enormously overblown budget, a good start would be to defund every agency, bureaucracy, office and program that funds attempts to eliminate, reduce or sequester carbon dioxide or replace it with “renewable” energy. And lose the subsidies for useless “green technology,” and “green jobs.”

The European Union has already volunteered to be an example for us.  They are watching their future sink into a sea of red ink by subsidizing “renewable” energy and putting excessive taxes on electricity and fuels to pay for the subsidies. ” Spain”s annual subsidy bill for renewable energy is now about $38 billion — more than twice as much as the U.S. Federal government spends — to subsidize energy for an economy just one-ninth the size of the U.S. ”

Just this once, could we pay attention to the evidence?  A good intention is not a successful policy.  It may seem old-fashioned, but studying the evidence is how you learn.  You learn what has been successful and what has failed, so you emulate success and try to correct for failure.  Beats the hopey-changey stuff every time.

ADDENDUM: Spain is Europe’s second worst economy with nearly 20% unemployment (thanks in part to all those green jobs) and a crumbling GDP.  The leadership of the Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero have blamed the collapse on everything but their socialist policies.


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