Green stimulus isn't putting people to work

Washington Times:

"Green energy" is proving to be no miracle solution to the nation's monumental unemployment problems, and it is doing little to help the economy emerge from its deepest recession in decades, economists say.

A large part of the $786 billion stimulus bill was devoted to green or renewable energy projects, with President Obama, Democratic legislators and their environmental allies repeatedly promising that the money would be used to create an army of home weatherizers, wind-turbine factory jobs and other employment opportunities that would help put to work the nearly 8 million people who have lost jobs during the recession.

The president and his allies have asserted that as many as 5 million jobs would be created by spending $150 billion over the next decade on new technologies such as solar and tidal power while retrofitting buildings and residences to make them more energy-efficient.


But the reality is that after a big dose of spending in the stimulus bill, no more than 100,000 or so jobs have been created, economists say, and the prospects are for only modest growth in alternative energy jobs for years to come.

"This is not the spark" that will pull the economy out of recession and put it in a lasting expansion that creates millions of jobs, said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University. "This is not the solution to the current big unemployment problem."

Green-energy industries other than wind and hydropower remain mostly in the experimental stages and are not proven enough technologically or economically to be instrumental in pulling the economy out of recession and putting millions of people to work like the Internet boom of the 1990s or the housing boom of the early 2000s, he said.

"We need to put 7.3 million people back to work, and none of these ideas can make a dent of more than a few hundred thousand at best, and then after only a long gestation time," Mr. Dhawan said.


At this point it looks like another sinkhole investment. It is producing little of lasting value and nothing to spur the economy. If these jobs really had significant economic value they would not need the subsidies anyway. If the government would just get out of the way, there would be significant jobs in the oil and gas business that would also produce revenue for the government. It is energy we are going to need in the future anyway.


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