Paul Driessen
Boone Pickens, Nacel Energy and Vestas Iberia have been issuing statements and placing print, radio and television ads, extolling the virtues of wind as an affordable, sustainable energy resource. Renewable energy reality is slowly taking hold, however.

Spain did increase its installed wind power capacity to 10% of its total electricity, although actual energy output is 10-30% of this, or 1-3% of total electricity, because the wind is intermittent and unreliable. However, Spain spent $3.7 billion on the program in 2007 alone, according to King Juan Carlos University economics professor Gabriel Calzada.

It created 50,000 jobs, mostly installing wind turbines, at $73,000 in annual subsidies per job – and 10,000 of these jobs have already been terminated. Spain’s economic problems have slashed the subsidies and put the remaining 40,000 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, soaring prices for subsidized wind energy and carbon dioxide emission permits raised electricity prices for other businesses – causing 2.2 jobs to be lost for every “green” job created, says Calzada. Spain’s unemployment rate is now 17% and rising. That’s hardly the “success” story so often cited by Congress and the Obama Administration.

Across the Channel, Britain’s biggest wind-energy projects are in trouble. Just as the UK government announced its goal of creating 400,000 eco-jobs by 2015, a major green energy employers is ending production. All 7,000 turbines that Downing Street just committed to installing over the next decade will be manufactured – not in Britain, but in Germany, Denmark and China.

For businesses, existing global warming policies have added 21% to industrial electricity bills since 2001, and this will rise to 55% by 2020, the UK government admits. Its latest renewable energy strategy will add another 15% – meaning the total impact on British industry will likely be a prohibitive 70% cost increase over two decades. This is the result of the government’s plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions 34% below 1990 levels by 2020, and increase the share of renewables, especially wind, from 6% to 31% of Britain’s electricity.

These cost hikes could make British manufacturers uncompetitive, and send thousands more jobs overseas, the Energy Intensive Users Group reports. English steel mills could become “unable to compete globally, even at current domestic energy prices,” says British journalist Dominic Lawson; “but deliberately to make them uncompetitive is industrial vandalism – and even madness … a futile gesture ... and immoral.”


Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

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