DOE Green Energy Loans: $11.45 million per job and a rounding error’s worth of averted carbon emissions.

Guest Post by David Middleton

The cost of each taxpayer-financed green energy job created since 2009:

$26.32 billion divided by 2,298 jobs = $11.45 million per job…

Green energy jobs and DOE loans are tallied under programs 1703 and 1705 on this list.

Permanent jobs created: 2,298
Taxpayer financed loan guarantees: $26.33 billion

19 of the projects cost more than $10 million per permanent job…

Even if you use the Obama maldaministration’s accounting methods and include temporary employment, the totally idiotic “jobs created/saved” category and include the 33,000 Ford Motor Company jobs “saved”, you get ~60,000 jobs at a cost of $34.5 billion –> $580,000 per job.

Bear in mind that Mr. Obama promised “to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer funds toward renewable energy projects.” He’s currently 4,997,702 short of the 5 million mark.

The Full Cost of “Green Energy” Jobs

I have handy cost estimates for three of the solar plants near the top of the list of $10 million-plus jobs. If I factor in the increased cost of electricity, the cost per permanent job literally skyrockets, as promised by candidate Obama in 2008.

I generously assumed that the three solar PV plants could achieve a 30% capacity factor (the average is 25%), that they could achieve a levelized generation cost (LCOE) of $144.30 per MWh (DOE’s most recent average for plants coming online in 2018) and that they could remain in service for 20 years.

The total cost to the economy per permanent “green energy” job created by these three solar PV plants is $82.3 million. If I add in the 2,450 temporary construction jobs that were created, the cost per job drops to $2.8 million per job.

The Carbon-Free Benefits of Green Energy

The carbon-free “benefit” is a 0.007% reduction in annual global carbon emissions, relative to coal (0.00035% relative to natural gas). Neither the climate nor the oceans will notice this “benefit.”

Each MW of coal generation displaced by solar PV reduces global carbon emissions by about 0.000008% and doubles (or more) the cost of electricity. Natural gas would achieve half the carbon emission reduction at about 1/3 the cost of solar and a slightly lower cost than coal.

Of course, nuclear would solve the whole problem… But it’s frowned upon by greenies.

The Irony is priceless…

According to the EPA, coal yields 2,249 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide per MWh of electricity generated. That works out to 1.02 metric tons of CO2 per MWh of generation.

In 2011, 1.8 million MWh (1.8 TWh) of electricity were generated in these United States by solar power plants. Assuming this generation displaced coal, 1.87 million metric tons of CO2 emissions were averted.

That’s a lot! Right?

Well, no it is not a lot. 1.87 million tons of CO2 emissions is barely a rounding error compared to total global carbon emissions.

1.87 million tons of CO2 is 0.51 million tons of carbon. According to CDIAC, the total global carbon emissions in 2011 were 9,471.37 million tons of carbon.

9,471.37 – 0.51 = 9,470.86

The minuend and difference both round to 9,471 million tons of carbon.

9,471 million tons of carbon is 9.5 Gt of carbon. Natural carbon sources emit 190 to 225 Gt per year…

Anthropogenic emissions account for only 4-5% of the total carbon budget. 1.8 TWh of US solar generation in 2011 reduced the 4-5% component by 0.005%.

This would be funny if it didn’t cost so much money.

In 2011 there was 4,389 MW of solar PV installed capacity in these United States. At $6 million per MW, the total cost for those solar plants was ~$26.3 billion. Had that money been spent on natural gas-fired plants (~$900,000 per MW), it could have displaced 29,260 MW of coal-fired capacity. This would have generated 223 TWh of electricity (solar only yielded 1.8 TWh. Natural gas yields about half the carbon emissions as coal. If 223 TWh of coal-fired generation had been displaced by natural gas, it would have reduced global carbon emissions by ~56 metric tons (solar only reduced it by 0.51 metric tons).

Here’s a “what if” comparison:

Black = What if solar did not displace coal-fired plants.

Green = Actual solar generation and actual emissions.

Red = What if the money spent on solar had been spent on natural gas-fired plants.

Data Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012.

Of course, since CO2 is not a real pollutant, only the cost matters… But it is funny – Natural gas would be a far more effective weapon than solar for tilting at AGW windmills…

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55 thoughts on “DOE Green Energy Loans: $11.45 million per job and a rounding error’s worth of averted carbon emissions.

  1. O come now these charts don’t even include all the hookers, coke dealers and other assorted jobs created from all that spending.

  2. It’s only a game of monopoly in its last throes anyway, and the current winners are doing whatever they want. I’m looking forward to the next phase which will begin when someone overturns this game,… like by starting WWIII..

  3. It’s even worse than that! Tesla is the only real bragging rights proposition of the program, but this piece adds a little perspective to that notion

    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/05/tesla_is_worse_than_solyndra_how_the_u_s_government_bungled_its_investment.single.html

    …”When the government’s negotiators started hammering out the details of the Tesla investment in mid-2009, it was obvious to both sides that the feds were in a position to name their terms. Tesla’s management knew that if they couldn’t get the government’s money at 3 or 4 percent interest, their next cheapest source of capital would cost 10 times more, a whopping 30 to 40 percent annually. (That’s according to estimates Tesla made in a regulatory filing, which based its numbers on “venture capital rates of return for companies at a similar stage of development as us.”)’…..

    “Personal loans made in 2008 by Elon Musk, Tesla’s co-founder and CEO, provide a telling contrast. Musk received a much higher interest rate (10 percent) from Tesla and, more importantly, the option to convert his $38 million of debt into shares of Tesla stock. That’s exactly what he ended up doing, and the resulting shares are now worth a whopping $1.4 billion—a 3,500 percent return on his investment. By contrast, the Department of Energy earned only $12 million in interest on its $465 million loan—a 2.6 percent return.
    The government had huge leeway to demand similar terms as part of its loan, given the yawning gap between its interest rate and the cost of Tesla’s next-best source of capital. The government was ponying up more capital than all of Tesla’s previous investors combined. At a bare minimum, the Department of Energy could have demanded a share of the company equal to the 11 percent Musk received for his $38 million loan the year before. Such an 11 percent share would be worth $1.4 billion to taxpayers today.”….

    “And, in fact, the Energy Department actually did negotiate for options on 3 million shares of Tesla stock as part of the original loan, options that would be worth $300 million based on Tesla’s current share price. Unfortunately for taxpayers, those options no longer exist. Tesla had the right to force the extinguishment of those options by repaying the loan early, as it just did. (The Energy Department says that was expected, since unlike typical options these were never meant to turn a profit but rather to encourage Tesla to repay the loan early if it could.)
    Elon Musk didn’t mention that $300 million reason when he explained last week why Tesla was repaying the loan early.”…

  4. To be fair this list is loan guarantees, not actual loans, at least in the case of the nuclear loans the financing is simply backed by the feds and is not actually spent by the feds. Claiming that it is the cost per green job is misleading, this more accurately represents the liability per green job. Keeping in mind the AP1000 reactors are going to take about 10 years to complete the number is much higher than 800 permanent jobs per 8 billion.

  5. The final bar chart does it for me. That’s a terrific way to see what affect PV solar has on its intended result… zip, nada, nothing. However, the cost to society is very high.

  6. Ecoloon economics at its best. Any discussion on cost and economic benefit are verboten and not factors worthy of consideration.

    Ecoloon economics is derived from ecoloon science, whose primary purpose is the perpetuation of the comfortable lifestyle of second rate scientists and computer modellers. Ecoloon science and modelling is deeply flawed and is shown to be so on a daily basis, so the shrill response is ever more scary forecasts of imminent Thermageddon.

    Ecoloon politics is derived from ecoloon science, where dubious/gullible/greedy politicians compete to be seen to be the greenest, as they perceive this to be an assured vote winner. The two smug concepts of “Greener than thou” and “Save the Planet” have cost us all dearly and for no benefit whatsoever.

    One of the best comments I have seen on this is that we live in the days of the Carbon Inquisition, where fanatical zealots of a false doctrine seek to stifle all opposition to their beliefs. So how does it feel to be a climate heretic?

  7. Another cost factor of solar energy is any portion of solar electricity added to the grid needs to be backed up 100% by conventional coal/natural gas power plants to immediately take over should any rare event–such as, oh, I don’t know, frigging “clouds” perhaps?–occur.

    The wonderful thing about solar’s conventional power back up, is that even when the solar plants are producing energy, these conventional boilers need to running, but they can’t produced any additional electricity already being added to the grid by “green” solar plants… So in essence, you get all this added “evil” CO2 from the backup boilers with no added electricity; except. of course, when that rare event called “clouds” occurs….

    My head is exploding…

  8. I think that the Administration actually believed that they were going to simply create a green economy that would provide the employment lost when the housing bubble burst. I am sure they are shocked that this didn’t occur. This is because the whole lot of them are men of talk. those who have actually done something knew this was never going to happen.

  9. Embedded deep into the leftists’ eco-nomics models, is the mysterious phenomenon called, “The Multiplier Effect.”…

    This is that inexplicable process where $1 of spent taxpayer money miraculously adds $1.84 (at least according to Nancy Pelosi) to the GDP….

    So this $26.32 Billion blown on “green” energy has actually added $48.43 Billion to the US GDP.

    If this ethereal multiplier effect actually exists, then I propose we all stop working, have the FED print up $8.7 trillion to be distributed equally to everyone, then we could all somehow multiply this “free” money to $16 trillion (current US GDP) buying stuff that doesn’t exist (nobody is working in this Utopia, remember?)….

    Oh, I know, let’s just have the Chinese deliver stuff they produce to our door and pay them with the multiplying monopoly money…. That’ll work… The eco-nomic models say it will….

  10. Wow.. 11 million for 1 job. Look, if you build an atomic power station worth 10 billion and there are 500 employees, then…?!

  11. @Matt,

    If a company builds a nuclear power plant, it does so to make money by fulfilling a market-driven need for goods and services, not to create jobs.

    Businesses do not exist to create jobs. Business exists to make money for the owners. A business exists to create and maintain a customer.

    The purpose of the DOE loans seems to have been to create green energy jobs, provide goods and services for which there was little to no market-driven demand and to reduce emissions of a non-pollutant.

  12. I am a Progressive of a somewhat skeptical bent on the subject of climate change, so I don’t quite fit the mold.

    As a Progressive, I think government should be involved in research, development, and funding of basic science and alternative energy projects. This is apart from any argument about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We should always be looking at alternatives. No matter how much oil and gas there is eventually alternative technologies will be cheaper than fossil fuel. I include in nuclear which I notice are the first two entries on the list of green projects which were among the tops in producing permanent jobs along with one solar project.

    The “what-if” comparison to spending the money on gas fired power plants is absurd. The industry is already switching to gas-fired plants. There is no need for the government to spend money on it. Government should be involved at the edges of technology. That means a good many of the projects will fail but we can’t look at any of this from a short-term accounting point of view.

    I work for a large telecommunications company. There is a project I have been involved with in this company that will have no appreciable payoff probably for the next few years. Why is the company doing it? The project is about the future. It is about technologies that sooner or later the company will need to be involved with to stay competitive. Businesses that think only short-term are either in desperate trouble and struggling to stay afloat or will not be long-lived because of their short-term focus.

    If we spend a million dollars on a thousand projects, 999 of them could fail miserably but one project could result in economic growth that more than pays back the billion dollars. A success rate such as that could superficially be seen as a failure yet, in fact, it would be a huge success.

  13. @James Cross,

    I agree. The government should not be spending money on natural gas-fired plants or any other power plants unless they are to power government facilities.

    The problem is that this is not R&D or basic science support. This is taxpayer financing of uneconomic utility scale infrastructure for which there is little to no market-driven demand.

    You are very correct… The private sector and free market are switching to gas because it is economic and there is abundant market-driven demand.

  14. You have to put it into the strategic context: that’s 2,298 additions to the 47%

  15. The problem with modern, government funded R&D is that it’s became nothing more than a politically expedient way to legally shower supporters with vast amounts of cash. The “environmental” aspect is there to provide “plausible denial” for any who would dare to criticize. That’s what Solyndra was all about – the worst part wasn’t that the technology failed, it was that the politically connected founder of the company, a bundler of vast amounts of campaign cash, skimmed huge amounts of the money that was supposed to go to the tech and diverted it to his own bank accounts. And the rest was gambled on a “heads I win, tails you, the taxpayers, lose” kind of deal, so it didn’t mean flip to him when it all came crashing down.

    The majority of government R&D in this country is today nothing but a sham and a fraud, a way to skim the till for people who are more than willing to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of those with power.

    It’s just not worth it anymore. Cut it all.

  16. What a total waste of taxpayers money for negative benefit. I say negative because without green energy America would have:-
    cheaper energy,
    more employed,
    better health care,
    less poverty,
    less taxes,
    in fact things would be so much better for the whole planet.

  17. The emissions of solar PV should be accounted for. I’ve seen analyses that claim solar panels
    are responsible for half as much CO2 as natural gas. and probably 3 times that of nuclear. Just because an energy source looks appear to generate emissions doesn’t make it so. You are also forgetting the costs involved in devoting all that land for solar farms- I estimate that to equal the gross output of modern Gen 3 nuclear plant of 1500 MW, 80,000 acres of solar panels
    would be required. Solar panel generation, being uncontrolled, also requires additional expenditures to allow it to be accepted by the grid (backup capacity, etc.). California, for example, is building a series of pumped storage facilities to allow for short term time displacement of solar
    power (a few hours) and those facilities cost a lot – not much less than a nuclear facility, but they only hold enough water to produce power for 10 hours or so. At lest 25% of the solar power is lost
    when sent to those pumped storage reservoirs. It’s insane.

  18. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am

    “If we spend a million dollars on a thousand projects, 999 of them could fail miserably but one project could result in economic growth that more than pays back the billion dollars. A success rate such as that could superficially be seen as a failure yet, in fact, it would be a huge success.”

    The problem is that we (in the U.S.A.) are broke – that is, we are all collectively in debt up to our eyeballs because of the wasteful spending practices engaged in by our government.

    However, of the borrowed funds for government R&D that remain, I’d be willing divert more towards innovative energy projects provided we ramp down ALL spending on CAGW climate science, which has been shown to have had NO economic benefit whatsoever (except to those few “scientists” who benefit from the government largess)…

  19. SAMURAI says:
    June 12, 2013 at 1:07 am
    Oh, I know, let’s just have the Chinese deliver stuff they produce to our door and pay them with the multiplying monopoly money…. That’ll work… The eco-nomic models say it will….
    ===================
    Once you are maxed out, expect interest rates to go up. We saw the same thing during the 60’s and 70’s. The banks were only too happy to lend the government money at low rates – so that it looked attractive. Then in the early 80’s, the banks upped the rates, and everyone found out who really controlled the economy.

    Today’s interest rates are well below long term historical averages and this is encouraging the government to act like a boat load of drunken sailors newly arrived in port with a year’s back wages in their pockets. Tomorrow they will wake up back on board with massive hangovers, empty pockets, and the taxpayers will be on the hook to clean up the mess. Until the captain settles up with the port authorities, the ship will not be going anywhere.

  20. It’s kind of funny that Tesla is thought of as an environmental “success”, when all they do is make pretty toys for millionaires.

    There’s not a chance of them ever building anything that a normal, working person could buy.

    Remind me why its important to subsidize millionaire’s toys again?

  21. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am
    […]

    The “what-if” comparison to spending the money on gas fired power plants is absurd. The industry is already switching to gas-fired plants. There is no need for the government to spend money on it.
    […]

    The “what-if” is anything but absurd.

    Why did the Federal government choose to taxpayer-finance solar power plants?

    Was it to create jobs or spur economic activity? If so, it failed miserably. If the same amount of money had been spend on natural gas-fired plants, nearly 7 times as much generating capacity would have been built. That generating capacity would have had 3 times the capacity factor as solar. It would have generated over 120 times as much electricity at less than half the cost per kWh as solar. Between the building of far more power plants and the injection of cheap electricity into the economy, far more jobs would have been created.

    Was it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? If so, it failed even more miserably. It made no statistically meaningful difference in US carbon emissions. Had the same amount of money been spent on natural gas-fired plants, the reduction in carbon emissions would have been 50 times greater than with solar.

    Was it to prove that solar PV can be used at a utility scale? If so, it was idiotic. Of course it can work. It just can’t economically compete with coal or natural gas.

    Now… I am not advocating the financing of natural gas-fired power plants with taxpayer money. I’m just pointing out the fact that had the money been spent on natural gas-fired plants, it would have been more beneficial to the economy and yielded a far greater reduction in carbon emissions.

  22. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am
    “If we spend a million dollars on a thousand projects, 999 of them could fail miserably but one project could result in economic growth that more than pays back the billion dollars.
    ============
    That requires the government to pick and choose who to fund. Which ends up corrupting the science involved. Success in science ends up being a measure of how well you write grant applications, not how well you conduct science. The scientists involved get paid up front, no matter how poor the results they deliver. You end up with $800 hammers and a broke Treasury.

    A much better approach is to reward success. Offer a billion dollar prize for a Cure for Cancer (or any other problem that costs the government money) and people and companies will be falling over themselves, at their own cost, investing their own time and money to discover the cure. Until the cure is discovered, the government hasn’t had to spend one cent. Once it is, the government stands to make billions on licensing and cost savings.

    The problem is that governments don’t like this approach. They like to be able to hand out money selectively, so they can reward their friends and punish their enemies.

    There is very little need for taxes if the government wanted to. By controlling where infrastructure is built the government controls land prices. Build a road, the land towards the remote end suddenly becomes more valuable. In this fashion the government could make all the money it needs to operate through the buying and selling of land. Buy low, add infrastructure, sell high. The profit is then available to minimize taxes.

    What the government does instead is to allow insiders, those privy to the government’s plans, to buy the land ahead of development. It is the friends of the government that benefit when governments develops infrastructure, paid for by the taxpayers. It is the friends of government that recognize there is serious money to be made if their friends are elected. Thus they contribute large at election time.

  23. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am
    The “what-if” comparison to spending the money on gas fired power plants is absurd.
    ==========
    Only if the government has infinite money. Otherwise the government must choose to fund some things and not fund others.

    The problem with government funding is that it distorts the playing field. What happens to your business if the government gives your competitor across the street a billion dollar loan guarantee, but gives you nothing? You competitor immediately has a access to a billion dollars in low cost funds to drive you and every other competitor out of business.

    Once the competition is out of the way, your (former) competitor now has a monopoly and can raise prices to pay back the loan. It doesn’t matter who had the better product. You are out of business because your cost of money was higher as a result of government backed loans to your competitor.

    Perhaps this is what we see happening with luxury electric cars? What looks like a success story may simply be a high priced government created monopoly. Who is to say that some start-up electric car maker in the US didn’t have a much better product, something that would have proven practical for the masses, but was driven out of business as a result of the government loan guarantees?

  24. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am
    “I am a Progressive of a somewhat skeptical bent on the subject of climate change, so I don’t quite fit the mold.”

    The constitution was expressly written to protect us from progressives( really smart people that know what’s best for everyone). Good intentions are not a substitute for results. Unable to learn from their mistakes(Europe crashing economically because of green energy policy) they repeat the same mistakes.

    Want to see true failure go to http://www.thegwpf.org/. This is what the U.S. government wants for us.

  25. Good analysis David.

    Traditionally, a number of about $10,000 to $15,000 per job is considered to be the max range for government job creation plans to be effective, efficient and pass the cost/benefit hurdle.

    So this is 1000 times higher than is required to pass a cost/benefit test.

    It is not just ridiculous, it is ludicrous, wasting tax dollars like that.

    Do these people not know there is dangerously high deficit.

  26. James Cross says:
    June 12, 2013 at 3:22 am

    “If we spend a million dollars on a thousand projects, 999 of them could fail miserably but one project could result in economic growth that more than pays back the billion dollars. A success rate such as that could superficially be seen as a failure yet, in fact, it would be a huge success.”

    James, I am totally for research and development and realize that there will not be 100% success rate based on my experience with numerous research projects. During the election campaign Romney indicated that 80 billion tax dollars has been spent on alternative energy projects by the government. Where are the fruits of this expenditure?
    The problem is that the DOE does not have a work process or competent employees to ensure that proposals are properly vetted and duplication is eliminated and that only projects with high probability of success are funded not those who reward bundlers or campaign contributors. I think it is naïve to believe that the government has the ability to manage huge sums of taxpayers dollars and the results bear this out; see below which has not been updated for several years so the list is even longer:
    The 19 asterisked companies have already filed for bankruptcy. The others are near bankruptcy:
    1.Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
    2.SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
    3.Solyndra ($535 million)*
    4.Beacon Power ($43 million)*
    5.Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
    6.SunPower ($1.2 billion)
    7.First Solar ($1.46 billion)
    8.Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
    9.EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
    10.Amonix ($5.9 million)
    11.Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
    12.Abound Solar ($400 million)*
    13.A123 Systems ($279 million)*
    14.Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
    15.Johnson Controls ($299 million)
    16.Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
    17.ECOtality ($126.2 million)
    18.Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
    19.Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
    20.Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
    21.Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
    22.Range Fuels ($80 million)*
    23.Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
    24.Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
    25.Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
    26.GreenVolts ($500,000)
    27.Vestas ($50 million)
    28.LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
    29.Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
    30.Navistar ($39 million)
    31.Satcon ($3 million)*
    32.Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
    33.Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

    Also I don’t know anyone in the energy business who believes the following comment:
    “No matter how much oil and gas there is eventually alternative technologies will be cheaper than fossil fuel.”
    Neither does wall street believe this based on the value of numerous successful fossil energy company stocks despite constant attack and threats by the Government.

  27. David

    Have you done a similar analysis of wind power, or can you. If so, please contact me immediately at dwschnare@gmail.com as I can use this information in our suit against Colorado’s renewable energy standard.

    David Schnare
    FME Law

  28. When the twin goals of government largesse are to 1) cut carbon emissions, and 2) create jobs, it’s inevitable that money will be wasted.

    The Chinese had a better way years ago: Do away with road construction equipment and hire manual laborers to build infrastructure. Instead of 100 heavy equipment operators on a 10 million dollar job ($100,000 per job), use 1,000 laborers with non-polluting wheelbarrows, shovels, and rakes to do the same job ($10,000 per job).

    This meets the twin goals of a high jobs-created count per dollar invested and a reduction in carbon emissions. Plus, at the end of the day you actually have a product the populace can put to good use.

    Of course, such a program would be idiotic. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be nearly as idiotic as the course we chose instead, which didn’t meet either of the presumed goals.

    On the other hand, if the real, and singular, goal was to reward your political cronies, then I’d judge the green investments by the federal government to be wildly successful indeed.

  29. @ David Schnare,

    I have only looked at offshore wind. The economics of onshore wind aren’t nearly as bad as solar.

  30. Report: Nepotism is an ‘open and widely accepted’ practice at the Energy Department

    Just like the old days, it’s a great big company, parents work there, they can get their kids in as well. Heck, put in a good word for your second cousin Jeff, they’ll take him too!

    Sure, you can work there for life, with great pay and benefits. Join the union! Nice pensions too.

    Yup, just like in the days of the big automakers, big manufacturing in general, big construction, big many things. Entire cities sprung up around “the plant”.

    What’s the difference between then and now?

  31. “Each MW of coal generation displaced by solar PV reduces global carbon emissions by about 0.000008%”

    Can you convert that to reduction in global temperature (C and F)?
    :-)

  32. The whole green energy/global warming scam was and is about redistributing money to favored groups; unions, voters, contributers, etc. The carbon tax and cap and trade will do the same thing. Once this is fully exposed it will be the biggest scam/theft in history.

  33. @ Go Home,

    My calculator can’t display that many zeroes to the right of the decimal point… :)

  34. The program costs and meager benefits are details for the clean up crews living in reality world. The win-the-day lawyer politicians wanted to buy votes from those with a shaky grasp of costs and effective benefits to begin with and with some side gravy projects for friends and donors. They succeeded far beyond expectations and only some minor damage control was needed along the way. All in all, this special op ranks right up there with selling a trillion dollar stimulus package with a shovel ready road program that got downplayed in the final budget to about 5 percent of the total. They can’t help but grin at their successes in deception on these easy ones.

  35. I just want to take this time to post a message to the NSA/CIA, FBI, or DHS flunky who is assigned the task of monitoring this site and taking down our names and email addresses. I know what it’s like to work in cubeville. It get’s lonely sometimes. Do you have a window? It helps if you do. If not, try getting a look outside using those public cameras you’re monitoring. I personally, used to use the one overlooking the pool at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Do you know if it’s still there? I hope you’re not in a basement somewhere, that’s the worst.

    Anyhoo, I know you have a lot of work do trying to keep us safe from people who might want to do things like reduce government spending and put you out of a job, so I won’t keep you long. I have a quick question — if they give you an *Energy Star* certified workstation to use, does your job also count as a *green job*?

    You don’t have to write me back personally, you can just append your answer onto one of the other messages already waiting in my inbox.

    See you in the funny papers!

    Sincerely,

    ~more soylent green.

  36. David Middleton, you have made a huge math error. You said (gathering up relevant bits):

    The total cost to the economy per permanent “green energy” job created by these three solar PV plants is $82.3 million.

    In 2011, 1.8 million MWh (1.8 TWh) of electricity were generated in these United States by solar power plants. Assuming this generation displaced coal, 1.87 million metric tons of CO2 emissions were averted.

    1.87 million tons of CO2 is 0.51 million tons of carbon.

    With the Administration figuring the “social cost” of carbon at $23.80 per metric ton, that’s over $12.1 million in benefits you’ve left out of the calculations. That might not seem like much to you with those big fat Big Oil checks filling up your piggy bank, but that’s significant money for the rest of us.

    Whoops, your error just grew.

    Obama Quietly Raises ‘Carbon Price’ as Costs to Climate Increase

    With all these well-reported drastic extreme frequent extremeness of extreme climate-related singular weather events that are long-term climate trends, the “social cost” has gone up, to $38 a metric ton.

    Ah-ha! Your error is up to $19.4 million, a fourth of a green job!

    And you may be even far more wrong than you ever would have thought (bold added):

    “As we learn that climate damage is worse and worse, there is no direction they could go but up,” Laurie Johnson, chief economist for climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview. Johnson says the administration should go further; she estimates the carbon cost could be as much as $266 a ton.

    Ah-ha-ha-ha! Those plants saved up to $137 million in social costs! They have already paid for a full-time green job, and a part-timer!

    With your chart showing 85 jobs created, 20 year lifespan on the projects, and the “social cost” going up, up, and away, perhaps half of those jobs could be paid for, maybe all of them. How did you miss something so obvious to the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council?

    Now be good serf and admit you were wrong, stop declaring war on the federal bureaucracy beast, aka the lawfully-elected US government, so perhaps the NSA will stop reading the email and listening to the phone calls of anyone who communicates with you, which is legal as you are a “potential foreign terrorist”. Geez, how much time did you rack up working for “foreign entities” anyway?

  37. @ kadaka (KD Knoebel),

    LOL!!!

    I forgot all about the “social cost” of carbon… At $266 per ton for carbon, we can easily afford to pay 50¢ per kWh for electricity… 75¢ per kWh might even be a bargain!

    Technical Support Document:
    Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866
    Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon, United States Government

    With participation by

    Council of Economic Advisers
    Council on Environmental Quality
    Department of Agriculture
    Department of Commerce
    Department of Energy
    Department of Transportation
    Environmental Protection Agency
    National Economic Council
    Office of Energy and Climate Change
    Office of Management and Budget
    Office of Science and Technology Policy
    Department of the Treasury


    February 2010

    Executive Summary

    Under Executive Order 12866, agencies are required, to the extent permitted by law, “to assess both the costs and the benefits of the intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that have small, or “marginal,” impacts on cumulative global emissions. The estimates are presented with an acknowledgement of the many uncertainties involved and with a clear understanding that they should be updated over time to reflect increasing knowledge of the science and economics of climate impacts.

    [...]

    I. Monetizing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

    The “social cost of carbon” (SCC) is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to) changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services. We report estimates of the social cost of carbon in dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide throughout this document.1

    When attempting to assess the incremental economic impacts of carbon dioxide emissions, the analyst faces a number of serious challenges. A recent report from the National Academies of Science (NRC 2009) points out that any assessment will suffer from uncertainty, speculation, and lack of information about (1) future emissions of greenhouse gases, (2) the effects of past and future emissions on the climate system, (3) the impact of changes in climate on the physical and biological environment, and (4) the translation of these environmental impacts into economic damages. As a result, any effort to quantify and monetize the harms associated with climate change will raise serious questions of science, economics, and ethics and should be viewed as provisional.

    [...]

    The EPA

    In its “Greenhad” against American industry, the EPA must present a cost-benefit analysis of any regulations they wish to promulgate. The costs of the regulations are pretty easy to tabulate… But there simply are no real data from which to calculate the potential monetary benefits of such regulations, therefore the EPA have invented something called the “Social Cost of Carbon” (SCC).

    The SSC enables them to monetize their feelings about how much greener the world will be when we are paying 20 times as much for electricity – Which will only be available during non-peak daylight hours.

  38. well , a good source of energy means the less people to produce it at the lowest cost…
    the number of job is irrelevant .

  39. more soylent green! says:
    June 12, 2013 at 9:17 am
    I just want to take this time to post a message to the NSA/CIA, FBI, or DHS flunky who is assigned the task of monitoring this site and taking down our names and email addresses. ……… I have a quick question — if they give you an *Energy Star* certified workstation to use, does your job also count as a *green job*?

    msg!,
    Priceless!!!
    MtK

  40. The costs of these green programs, as acknowledged by their advocates, don’t include the value of despoiled landscapes and destroyed habitats, the costs of remediating chemical pollution from wind turbines and solar arrays, of the increased and dirtier fossil fuel burning needed to accommodate wind and solar, of disposing of the hazmat ingredients of electric car batteries, of cleaning up toxic heavy metals emitted from geothermal – and the millions of birds and bats, including endangered California condors and whooping cranes killed by the turbines, as well as ground-dwelling rodents and reptiles killed by by the preparation of green power sites.

    Green is not only hypocritical, it is infinitely dirtier than fossil fuels.

  41. @ Chad Wozniak.

    A typical solar PV power plant requires 8 acres of land per MW of installed capacity.

    A typical natural gas-fired power plant requires 0.16 of an acre of land per MW of installed capacity.

  42. I always love the carbon lifecycle diagram. It shows that oxidative plant decay emissions are 10 times the emissions from hydrocarbon burning for energy.
    All plant material based carbon, that is not buried in a anoxic environment, will eventually be re-released back into the atmosphere. Think about that next time you’re turning your compost pile in the back yard.
    Bagging your lawn cuttings and sending them to a landfill would actually be better for CO2 emissions.
    One thing that this carbon lifecycle diagram does not cover is the amount of carbon that is complexed into carbonate rock and sediment, and how much carbon is re-released to the atmosphere via subduction volcanos.

  43. David.
    You might be interested in this article where the administration just further cooked the books by raising the social cost of Carbon.
    The Presidential Executive order you cite requires the USE of IPCC AR4 for the calculations which exaggerates global warming, uses high sensitivity factors and ignores recent departure of temperature increase from CO2 rise.

    Obama Quietly Raises ‘Carbon Price’ as Costs to Climate Increase

    “Buried in a little-noticed rule on microwave ovens is a change in the U.S. government’s accounting for carbon emissions that could have wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone XL pipeline.”

    “The increase of the so-called social cost of carbon, to $38 a metric ton in 2015 from $23.80, adjusts the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The figure is meant to approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops. ”

    “For example, the administration’s vehicle fuel-efficiency standards would cost industry $350 billion over the next 40 years, while benefits in energy security, less congestion and lower pollution totaled $278 billion.”

    “With the change, government actions that lead to cuts in emissions — anything from new mileage standards to clean-energy loans — will appear more valuable in its cost-benefit analyses. On the flip side, environmentalists urge that it be used to judge projects that could lead to more carbon pollution, such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone pipeline or coal-mining by companies such as Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) on public lands, which would be viewed as more costly. ”

    “As we learn that climate damage is worse and worse, there is no direction they could go but up,” Laurie Johnson, chief economist for climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview. Johnson says the administration should go further; she estimates the carbon cost could be as much as $266 a ton. ”
    “Even supporters questioned the way the administration slipped the policy out without first opening it for public comment. The change was buried in an afternoon announcement on May 31 about efficiency standards for microwave ovens, a rule not seen as groundbreaking.”

    “It’s a pretty important move. To do this without any outside participation is bizarre,” said Jeff Holmstead, a lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP (1222L) representing coal-dependent power producers and other industry groups. A legal challenge to the determination would be difficult, but could be tried by itself or in a challenge to a specific rulemaking that uses the cost, he said.

    Leading Models
    The administration first arrived at this calculation in 2010 using “leading expert models” and updated it “applying the same methods and assumptions,” Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Ari Isaacman Astles said in an e-mail.

    The Economic Report of the President in March said the administration would update estimates “as new scientific and economic analysis become available.”

    “The administration’s new carbon cost is key to a wide range of policies, which get subject to cost-benefit analysis in the rulemaking process or at OMB. Obama is considering more energy efficiency standards for everything from buildings to vending machines.”

    “In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency is late on issuing rules to cap greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants, a standard that would preclude the construction of new coal-fired power plants that don’t have expensive carbon-capture technology. Lobbyists representing companies such as American Electric Power Co. (AEP) and Southern Co. (SO) have urged the EPA to scale back that plan. ”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/tougher-regulations-seen-from-obama-change-in-carbon-cost.html

  44. ferd berple says:
    June 12, 2013 at 5:53 am
    SAMURAI says:
    June 12, 2013 at 1:07 am
    Oh, I know, let’s just have the Chinese deliver stuff they produce to our door and pay them with the multiplying monopoly money…. That’ll work… The eco-nomic models say it will….
    ===================
    Today’s interest rates are well below long term historical averages and this is encouraging the government to act like a boat load of drunken sailors newly arrived in port with a year’s back wages in their pockets.
    ======================
    The primary reason governments around the world are keeping interest rates so low is to enable them to finance their insane levels of debt.

    The US currently has a national debt of around $16.5 TRILLION, which is only possible to maintain/grow if interest rates are kept artificially low. If interest rates were at historic average levels of 6%, the interest obligations on the debt alone would be $1 trillion/year or about 42% of total tax revenues…. LOL!

    Another reason interest rates are kept low is to inflate real estate and stock bubbles to give taxpayers the impression of economic growth. When interest rates spike, bond prices, real estate, the US$ and stock markets will all come crashing down at the same time….

    In an effort to keep interest rates down, The FED is currently printing $85 billion/month and purchasing roughly 90% of all new Treasury Bill offerings. At some point, the FED will have to end this insanity and somehow try to unwind their bloated balance sheet.

    This will be impossible because who is going to buy the $100’s of billions of mortgage-backed securities with an imploding real estate market, the $trillions of 10~30-year Treasury bonds at inflation-adjusted NEGATIVE yields AND a collapsing dollar?

    Hmmmm. The $16.5 trillion question…..

    Eco-nomics, Obamanomics, Abenomics, EU-nomics don’t work; they destroy wealth and wealth creation. It’s time to return to: balanced budgets, small governments, free-markets, strong currencies (preferably a gold standard), trade surpluses, high savings rates, low taxes, individual liberties, reduced rules/regs/mandates and 5~6% interest rates.

  45. Thank you for an interesting analysis, some humour, and some pretty scary thoughts relative to the “Social Costs of Carbon”. Yup. In context of everything else going on, I am feeling a little bit like Aldous Huxley. He just got the date wrong by 30 years. (Jeez, I hope Prism doesn’t take offence at foreign comments.)😏

  46. wws says: June 12, 2013 at 6:02 am
    It’s kind of funny that Tesla is thought of as an environmental “success”
    _____________________________

    Its even funnier that Tesla is thought of as an environmental “success”, when their coal-powered vehicles pump out more CO2 than my 2.2 litre twin-turbo diesel saloon car.

    .

  47. This reminds me of a Spanish study in 2009:-

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:3PjrgPyWov8J:www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf+Madrid’s+Universidad+Rey+Juan+Carlos+green+jobs+study&hl=en&gl=nz&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESh6D6hAFW1PhqzOMbx7Mz-adsXSh5AmUmayCY2UFazo67JL2ZZw0FlEq0fe3Bdq_ZZ85CwMy0C9EGCL209qPZDqAQTyIRvOhPZnMgPOiDLb6ZHBABAI2b8xuuh9oXBzFWg_Nj68&sig=AHIEtbSM2OqOK_n6eDm3hphvTacGp1JnDw

    Madrid’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos published this paper titled “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources. It was prepared under research director Dr. Gabriel Calzada Álvarez.

    Obama was warned by the Spanish Prime Minister that to follow the “Spanish Model” would damage the US economy.!

  48. I wish you had not written about and displayed prominently the loan amount per job created as it is very misleading. The part about the insignificance of the amount of carbon reduced is what is important. When a oil company builds a new refinery or an offshore platform it can cost billions but only a relatively few people will be employed. The more technology employed the more costly will be the project and the fewer the people to run the operation. What is important is the “return” on capital employed, not the capital employed per new worker.

  49. Ronald P. Abate says:
    June 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm
    I wish you had not written about and displayed prominently the loan amount per job created as it is very misleading. The part about the insignificance of the amount of carbon reduced is what is important. When a oil company builds a new refinery or an offshore platform it can cost billions but only a relatively few people will be employed. The more technology employed the more costly will be the project and the fewer the people to run the operation. What is important is the “return” on capital employed, not the capital employed per new worker.
    +++++++++++++
    Hard to disagree, but I’d say it’s in contrast to the claim that Green would make millions of jobs. This refutes that. Green only costs us money to invest in energy that will return a negative return… it promises higher energy prices.

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