Excerpt from an open letter to the head of MIT:
Professor Reif of MIT says, “In 2016 alone, solar industry employment grew by 25 percent, while wind jobs grew 32%.” These numbers are highly misleading. In fact, they underscore how deficient these energy sources are as job creators.
Growing jobs by subsidy is easy, provided that one cares nothing for the far greater number of jobs destroyed by the additional taxation, energy price hikes or public borrowing necessary to pay for the subsidy. Several studieshave shown that the creation of one “green” job results in the loss of two to four jobs elsewhere in the economy. In Spain the estimated ratio was two jobs lost for each one created by renewable energy, prompting the government to finally end most renewable subsidies.
And yet, despite all those subsidies, wind and solar power generation expensively and unreliably account for 5.6% and 0.9% of total U.S. electricity production, respectively. On its own, electricity provides only a small fraction of total energy consumption, including transportation, industrial processes, heating and electricity generation, so these numbers actually exaggerate the contribution of wind and solar facilities to overall energy consumption.
Viewed from another perspective, EIA data reveal it took nearly 400,000 solar workers (about 20% of electric power payrolls) to produce just 0.9% of all the electric power generated in the United States in 2016. About the same number of natural gas workers (398,000) produced 37 times more electricity – and just 160,000 coal workers produced almost as much electricity as those gas workers. Moreover, gas and coal provide power nearly 100% of the time, compared to 15-25% of the time for most solar (and wind) installations. Wind employment numbers reflect this same pattern.
The so-called alternative energy companies survive only because of heavy subsidies, power purchase mandates, supportive regulations, and exemptions from endangered species and other rules that are applied forcefully to fossil fuel industries. Wind and solar electricity is cripplingly expensive for families, hospitals, schools, churches, small businesses and other customers.
In fact, “alternative” or “renewable” energy is often unprofitable even after massive subsidies from taxpayers. For example, SunEdison received $1.5 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees, and yet it was compelled to file for bankruptcy. Solyndra is another example. This is unsustainable.
Europe is suffering from growing political rejection of fossil fuels: energy prices have soared, millions of poor people are unable to pay their energy bills, and elderly people are dying because they cannot afford adequate heating in the winter. Energy-intensive businesses are relocating to countries where energy is cheaper – thereby transferring fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and job creation to other nations, especially in Asia. Theirs is not an example the United States should wish to follow.
By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, President Trump did a wonderful thing for America and the world. He showed that advocacy masquerading as science should not be the basis for public policy decisions. We hope others will follow his lead.