NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 29, 2010

There is growing evidence that government support of green industries will cost more jobs than they create, say H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow, and James Franko, a legislative assistant, with the National Center for Policy Analysis. 

A 2009 study from Madrid's King Juan Carlos University showed that for every green job the Spanish government created, 2.2 jobs were lost as energy-intensive industries either closed down or moved to other countries with lower energy costs: 

  • The government's green job push created approximately 50,000 jobs, but resulted in a loss of more than 110,000 jobs in other industries.
  • Only 1 in 10 of the new green jobs was permanent.
  • Each green job created since 2000 has required about $774,000 in government subsidies. 

According to a 2009 report by the Center for Political Studies, a Danish think tank: 

  • The Danish government spent $90,000 to $140,000 to create each wind job.
  • About 28,400 people were employed in the Danish wind industry, but only about 1 in 10 were new jobs -- the remaining 90 percent were simply positions shifted from one industry to another.
  • From 1999 to 2006, the average government-subsidized clean energy technology worker added $10,000 less to the Danish economy than did the average employee in other industrial and manufacturing sectors.
  • As a result, Danish gross domestic product was about $270 million less than it would have been if the wind industry work force were employed in other sectors. 

According to a 2009 report from the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research: 

  • Germany instituted a feed-in tariff -- which requires regional or national electric grid utilities to buy renewable electricity -- and as a result, wind energy costs three times as much as conventional energy and solar power costs eight times as much.
  • The total net cost of subsidies for wind and solar power production since 2000 has topped $101 billion, producing less than 7 percent of the electric power generated nationwide.
  • The government spent an average of $240,000 in subsidies per each new green job.
  • Six studies cited in the report found that the net job effect of Germany's green job policies were either negligible or negative. 

Source: H. Sterling Burnett and James Franko, "Green Jobs: Hope or Hype Redux," National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 702, April 29, 2010. 

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