NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Green Jobs Gone Bust

July 30, 2012

In a radio address on November 1, 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating 5 million new green jobs. Now, Obama seems incapable of keeping this promise, says Deroy Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution.

  • The Department of Energy's (DOE) website boasts that its "clean energy" initiatives -- dubbed 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) -- loaned $34.7 billion and launched "nearly 60,000" jobs.
  • This totals a staggering $578,333 per position.
  • According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, private employers pay workers, on average, $62,757 annually in wages and benefits.
  • So, Obama is "creating jobs" at 922 percent of the private sector's cost of employing workers for a year.

In addition, at least 10 "clean" companies that were subsidized went bankrupt:

  • Abound Solar consumed $70 million of its $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The company blamed Chinese subsidy payments and European subsidy cuts for falling prices in its thin-film-panel sector. On July 2, Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and prepared to lock shop and fire its 125 employees.
  • Solar Trust envisioned Earth's largest solar-power plant. DOE offered it a $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011, provided that it raised private capital. Solar Trust missed DOE's benchmarks, however, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 2.
  • Ener1 received a $118.5 million DOE stimulus grant in August 2009. The electric car battery company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 26, 2012.
  • Solyndra, the most notorious of Obama's green-energy baubles, filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011. Taxpayers are liable for this solar-panel maker's $535 million in loan guarantees -- the first that DOE made under Obama.
  • Other bankrupt "clean" companies include: Energy Conversion Devices, Aptera Motors, Beacon Power Corp., SpectraWatt, Raser Technologies, and Mountain Plaza, Inc.

Source: Deroy Murdock, "Green Jobs Gone Bust," National Review Online, July 20, 2012.

For text:


Browse more articles on Environment Issues