The Cost of Wind Energy Jobs
September 28, 2012
The production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy is set to expire at the end of the year and has invited a fierce debate in Congress over its extension. Democrats, along with the wind industry, argue that the tax is necessary to sustain the industry; otherwise 37,000 jobs will be lost. However, a look at the facts reveals a different picture of the wind industry and the necessity of the PTC, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
- The Joint Committee on Taxation puts the cost of extending the PTC at $12.18 billion from 2013 to 2022.
- Divided by the 37,000 jobs, that would amount to a federal subsidy of $329,000 for each job.
- After that is spread out over a decade, the cost for each wind energy job comes out to $32,900.
The wind industry does far less for the economy than the fossil fuel industry yet continues to get massive federal funding.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fossil fuel sector receives $2.5 billion per year in tax preferences.
- Furthermore, the total direct employment from the oil-and-gas sector is around 1.2 million jobs.
- That comes out to about $2,100 per job per year.
As the data shows, taxpayers spend about 15 times more on wind energy jobs than jobs in oil-and-gas. The Texas state comptroller reported that each wind-related job in Texas costs taxpayers $1.6 million.
The Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon provides a perfect example of how the wind industry fails to create jobs.
- The project is receiving $490 million in cash grants from the federal government.
- Yet, the plan is only expected to make 35 permanent jobs.
- The cost of each job comes out to be around $14 million.
Source: Robert Bryce, "The Cost of Wind-Energy Jobs," National Review Online, September 17, 2012.
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