Newsbytes: Green jobs and carbon pricing – up in smoke?

The green-jobs revolution may be going up in smoke. Despite billions of dollars in federal investment and cheerleading from President Obama, even the most ardent supporters of a transformed, job-generating energy sector based largely on wind, solar and other renewable sources acknowledge that their dreams have not translated into reality. The records for other countries chasing green employment opportunities have been equally unimpressive. –Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times, 12 September 2011

Ministers should abandon a central pillar of their energy policy and abolish a carbon floor price that amounts to a “tax” on British industry, according to the head of the manufacturers’ association. Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, said: “We are calling for its abolition.” The measure was, he added, “not in line with the government’s stated policy of rebalancing the economy, regenerating the British manufacturing sector, encouraging exports”. –David Blair, Financial Times, 12 September 2011

Companies including Tesco Plc and PepsiCo Inc. are racing for about 1.7 billion pounds in green power-generation subsidies being offered by the U.K. through March 2015, according to a report by the Carbon Trust. It forecasts energy prices to rise 37 percent by 2020. Bloomberg, 9 September 2011

Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, warns – not for the first time – that the world must act now to avoid “unprecedented environmental and geopolitical catastrophe”. This parliament, he warns, is the last one with a chance to help avert catastrophic climate change… Mr Huhne is right to issue his warning. There is no great evidence that fellow politicians are listening very intently. –Editorial, The Guardian, 11 September 2011

An abundance of cheap natural gas has industry players the continent over clamouring to advertise the fuel’s use for anything from power generation and home heating to the latest craze – transportation. North America may soon be running on natural gas. –Rebecca Pentry, Calgary Herald, 10 September 201

The demise of solar energy company Solyndra has already sparked an FBI investigation, congressional hearings, and raised numerous questions of political cronyism and corruption connected to the highest levels of the Obama Administration. The Solyndra debacle is rapidly becoming a White House scandal.  It is far too symptomatic of an Administration that is founded not on principle, but on Chicago-style cronyism and political corruption in the worst sense of the term. –Bob Beauprez, Townhall Finance, 11 September 2011

h/t to Benny Peiser of The GWPF

 

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24 Responses to Newsbytes: Green jobs and carbon pricing – up in smoke?

  1. H.R. says:

    It’s easy to tell the good ideas from the bad ones. If it takes government subsidy to make it worthwhile… it ain’t worthwhile and the subsidy is just gravy to be sopped up.

    If it is worthwhile, the private sector will be screaming to high heaven for the government to get out of the way.

    Yes, there are always a few exceptions, but they are few, and in the Solyndra case, someone got a LOT of gravy.

  2. kim says:

    The collapse of this socio-political-financial bubble has already paled the South Sea Bubble into the ocean of insignificance.
    =====================================================

  3. Nuke Nemesis says:

    From the linked article by Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times:

    Critics aren’t surprised. Spain and other European countries have embraced green-jobs programs only to see higher-than-expected costs and little payoff. A 2009 study by Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University found that the creation of every green job eliminated at least 2.2 jobs in other industries, the result of a government push toward wind and solar power at the expense of other fuels.

    This was well-known before we fell into this green jobs debacle. But we did it anyway.

  4. Beta Blocker says:

    Cap and trade has failed miserably to reduce carbon consumption, and has also failed to make as many of the right people rich as it was intended to.

    Not to worry ….

    A stiff tax on energy consumption at the point of distribution on the order of 100% might cut overall energy consumption 20 percent initially; with further reductions in consumption coming later as the economy responded with lower outputs and with lower employment, thus placing further downward pressure on energy consumption.

    However, we can predict the government would respond to the rise in general unemployment with yet another economic stimulus program, one side effect being that upward pressure might again be placed on energy consumption patterns if the economy began to recover. (Assuming the economy actually did begin to recover.)

    Not to worry ….

    Just increase the tax again and repeat the cycle. With enough repetitions to establish a clear trend, this new positive-negative economic feedback cycle might eventually be labeled by economists as the Gore Cycle, including a corresponding Gore Curve.

  5. kim says:

    Nuke, I’ve forgotten the details, but this White House deliberately and awkwardly manhandled the EPA’s response to that Spanish Study of green jobs. It acted despotically.
    ============================================

  6. john says:

    I am convinced that the boondoggle is going to continue full speed ahead. GE and jobs czar Jeff Immelt will spearhead this effort. Here is a quote from him.

    “The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.” General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Letter to Shareholders, GE 2008 Annual Report

    http://www.firstwind.com/news/press-release-ge-provide-wind-service-coverage-entire-first-wind-ge-fleet

  7. john says:

    “The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.”
    General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Letter to Shareholders, GE 2008 Annual Report

  8. Nuke Nemesis says:

    john says:
    September 12, 2011 at 8:29 am

    This is better known as corporatism and more accurately known as economic fascism.

    BTW: It’s one more sad mark against the modern education system that most people believe fascism = capitalism. The fascists were anti-capitalists.

  9. john says:

    Sorry about the quote double post… Here is what I was getting at.

    G.E. Plans to Build Largest Solar Panel Plant in U.S.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/business/energy-environment/07electric.html

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a move that could shake up the American solar industry, General Electric plans to announce on Thursday that it will build the nation’s largest photovoltaic panel factory, with the goal of becoming a major player in the market.

    Solyndra?????

  10. keith at hastings uk says:

    Our (UK) Govt is cleverer than yours, the subsidies are hidden within our ‘leccy bills so no one can easily tell how much subsidy the wind farms and solar PV are getting, and can’t complain about saving the world! Also, amounts to a tax on the poor, for whom lec bills are a major outgoing – and quite right too, they need to get off their butts – as well as driving those nasty heavy energy consuming industries elsewhere, so we can live once more in a green and pleasant land. (/sarc)

  11. jaypan says:

    Let’s face it:
    Today’s green energy
    – is affordable with massive subsidies only
    – needs backup power stations
    – does not save any climate
    – does not create jobs, but kill them
    – leaves damaged landscapes and poisoned garbage behind
    – increases electricity bills
    – poses a threat for grid stability
    – kills birds
    – is an unseen transfer of wealth up to the rich
    – creates a green elite, living the high life
    … but gives its proponents the wonderful illusion of saving the world and mankind.

  12. rbateman says:

    It doesn’t help that the majority of Green Energy schemes are subsidized Perpetual Motion, and the remainder, though initally sound indsitry, are copied and mass-produced in China for export here.
    There is no winning in this type of Free Trade Market, not for the US anyway.

  13. Brian H says:

    The Spanish figures were refuted by subsequent numbers from Denmark and Scotland. They were worse: 3.7 jobs lost in the real economy for every green subsidized sinecure.

  14. Rational Debate says:

    I wish it were up in smoke, but unfortunately the corruption continues with this administration heavily picking the winners and losers (see article below), even with the Solyndra debacle currently under investigation both by Congress and FBI, iirc. At least the House substantially cut funding for high speed rail – I believe by about $7 Billion. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/california-high-speed-rail-federal-funding-cut.html

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/12/new-doe-loans-support-green-obama-backers/

    New DOE loans support green Obama-backers
    By Amanda Carey – The Daily Caller 12:50 PM 09/12/2011

    Despite Solyndra’s abrupt closing and bankruptcy announcement last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) is undeterred. Just this month, the agency made two more loan guarantees worth millions of dollars to alternative energy firms.

    And, as was the case with Solyndra, officials and investors with the two new companies have strong financial ties to President Barack Obama.

    On September 7, the DOE announced its plan to guarantee 80 percent — or $275 million — of a $344 million private loan taken out by the firm SolarCity. The company installs rooftop solar systems that harvests electricity SolarCity then sells.

    The guarantee means that if SolarCity’s project does not succeed, the DOE will use taxpayer money to pay back 80 percent of the company’s private loans

    The current plan is for SolarCity to operate 160,000 systems on military bases around the country, and hire 750 workers over five years. It has been described as the “largest residential solar project in history.”

    The Chairman of SolarCity, Elon Musk, is a major financial supporter of the president. On April 15 of this year, Musk donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund. He also gave an additional $5,000 to the Obama campaign.

    Like Solyndra officials White House visitor logs show Musk has visited the Administration at least four times since 2009.

    The second company is Solexel. On September 2, the solar energy company announced a $13 million award from the DOE as part of a program to make solar energy systems more affordable for homeowners.

    Solexel is financially backed by venture capitalist Steve Westly. In 2008, Westly bundled for Obama’s presidential campaign, bringing in more than $500,000. Westly also served as a California co-chair and was a member of the National Finance Committee for the Obama for American campaign.

    He’s at it again for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign. So far, Westly has bundled between $100,000 and $200,000.

    Westly’s companies have received millions in stimulus dollars from the Obama administration. The Westly Group’s portfolio includes Tesla Motors, which received a $465 million loan in 2009; Amyris Biotechnologies, which got more than $24 million; and Logos Technologies, which received $20 million in DOE loans.

    Since Solyndra closed its doors on August 31, new revelations have had onlookers questioning whether the DOE should have made the loan guarantee in the first place. As The Daily Caller previously reported, Solyndra investor Georgfe Kaiser personally gave $53,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2008. And Executive Vice President of Operations Ben Bierman gave $5,000.

    Solyndra officials also visited the White House no less than 20 times from 2009 to 2011.

    The loan guarantees given to Solexel and SolarCity may be significantly less than Solyndra’s $535 million, but the two companies and their financial stability are sure to be closely scrutinized in the coming weeks.

  15. Chuck Nolan says:

    Solyndra?
    I wonder of the FBI is just going to sit on the investigation until after 2012?
    Or maybe just use the UEA school of whitewashing.
    I guess I’m just don’t trust the “O.”

  16. Ralph says:

    I either heard or read that Obama had to ask his staff “what are green jobs”?

  17. john says:

    GE Decides to Dump Offshore Wind-Power Plans Despite Collecting Millions in Stimulus Funds for Wind Projects

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/09/obama-packages-gumbo-to-commemorate-9-11/

    GE was awarded 44 contracts totaling over $46,000,000 and 44 grants totaling more than $79,000,000 from the Obama-Pelosi $757 billion dollar stimulus package. Millions of dollars in stimulus funds were used by GE in green energy projects.

    Today GE announced that it was going to gut its offshore wind-power plans.

  18. john says:

    Solyndra – Moving forward to what?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/solyndra-%E2%80%93-moving-forward-what

    If the Judge says, “Yes” to the DIP (he has to have a reason why not to) S will go up for sale. It won’t take long once the process starts.

    This raises the question of, “What’s S worth?” I admit that I don’t have a clue.

    Inventory and accounts receivable were sold in July (To, guess who? Argonaut of course!). The company has facilities in two locations. They have a product, but they haven’t figured out how to make money at it. That can’t be worth a hell of a lot.

    The one asset they might have is a Net Operating Loss. A big one at that; at least $500mm. This is tricky stuff. NOLs are subject to IRS rules (#382-Look it up if you want to get dizzy), so I asked a BK Attorney who has been assisting me for some color:

    Using post bk NOLs to shelter profits from existing businesses is one of those things that is hard to pin down an answer to. Technically, you aren’t supposed to be able to – IRS frowns on it. But good attorneys make 1000 an hour for a reason.

  19. Mac the Knife says:

    Rational Debate says:
    September 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Wow! Good background info on the money flows to these companies from the Obama administration and from the principles in these companies back to the Obama election campaigns!
    Thanks!

  20. kramer says:

    Solyndragate?

  21. bushbunny says:

    Well someone tell our Ozzie PM. Well I told my local pollie but he hasn’t bothered to take any notice. ‘We’re Aussies, we are smarter than you type attitude. Well if an ice age is coming,
    Wind turbines won’t be any good, they freeze up and when that happens they burst into flames.
    Or throw of big blocks of ice that smash into cars, cows and people.

    I’d sack every politician in this world who believes in this type of crap pushed on us by Goldman
    Sachs and that Al Gore.

  22. Brian H says:

    Solyndra and Solar City are almost opposites. Solyndra was an over-financed startup with an saggy business plan. Solar City is a robust success story, the #1 installer in the country. If you were going to pick anyone to put panels on military structures and housing, you could hardly do better.

    Musk is an altogether higher cut of personality and doer and achiever than Obama, who has nothing to his credit beyond disingenuous community agitation, including his election. It should be noted that when push came to shove with his startups (Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City) he went all in, committing every cent of the nearly $200 million he owned.

    As far as support, his strongest backer is actually Toyota, who sold the ex-NUMMI plant, about $1 bn worth of structure and hardware, to him for a song, about $40 Million in stock. And it is doubling down, putting heavy reliance and investment in to current and future products. First to hit the road will be the RAV4-EV “Powered by TeslaMotors”.
    And that’s all in addition to the major stakes held by Daimler and Panasonic.

    It’s almost a paradox that an Administration as gormless and clueless as this one has actually backed something and someone productive. Note that almost all that has been committed is guarantees, not cash, unlike the black hole at GM into which about a trillion $$ of government and private money vanished.

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