Green Energy Jobs

By Alex Epstein

Q: Won’t Joe Biden’s energy plan create enough “green energy jobs” to offset millions of lost jobs in the fossil fuel industry?

A: No. By making energy unreliable and unaffordable for every American industry, the Biden Plan would create mass "green joblessness."

Quick Summary

  • "Creating jobs" is only a good thing if those jobs are productive jobs. If the government pays people to produce inferior products and services or pays people to produce inefficiently, that is "welfare work" that hurts American consumers and American competitiveness.
  • Many of the jobs created by the Biden Plan would involve building new, unreliable solar and wind infrastructure.1 This infrastructure can't replace our reliable power plants--it will just add a lot of new costs that consumers and industry have to pay. Classic welfare work.2
  • By driving up consumer energy costs, Biden's "green energy jobs" will make every American's real income go down because they will have to spend far more to heat and power their homes and to drive their cars.
  • Solar and wind have already increased US "energy poverty"--when people experience hardship paying for their basic energy needs. 25 million US households say they've gone without food or medicine to pay for energy. 12 million say they’ve kept their home at an unsafe temperature.3
  • Germany, which gets 1/3 of its electricity from solar and wind4, provides a mild preview of the Biden Plan. Germans have seen their electricity prices double in 20 years thanks to wasteful, unreliable solar and wind. Their electricity prices are 3X our already-too-high prices.5
  • By driving up industrial energy costs, Biden's "green energy jobs" will make every American-made product more expensive and every American company less competitive. That means more productive jobs lost to other countries where energy is more reliable and costs less.
  • For a preview of what Biden's "green energy jobs" will do to American industry, consider rising "green joblessness" in Europe and Australia. Like the workers at the Australian recycling company that, after 37 profitable years, went under when "green" policies doubled power costs.6
  • Biden's "green energy jobs" will cause "green joblessness" throughout the economy, with those connected to the fossil fuel industry being hardest hit. The Global Energy Institute estimates that a fracking ban alone "would eliminate 19 million jobs."7
  • While Biden now says he doesn't support a fracking ban, he supports a "transition" away from all fossil fuels that would be far wider than a fracking ban.8 That means far more productive jobs lost than the Global Energy Institute's 19 million estimate for a fracking ban.
  • Summary: Biden's energy plan will create a handful of unproductive "green energy jobs" that, by making American energy unreliable and unaffordable, will cause mass "green joblessness" in not just the fossil fuel industry but in every energy-intensive industry.

References


  1. “Together, these steps will unleash a clean energy revolution in America, create good paying union jobs that cannot be outsourced, and spur the installation of millions of solar panels – including utility-scale, rooftop, and community solar systems – and tens of thousands of wind turbines – including thousands of turbines off our coasts – in Biden’s first term.”
    The Biden Plan to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future

  2. “...we find that electricity prices are 11% higher seven years after RPS passage, largely due to indirect grid integration costs (e.g., transmission and intermittency).”
    Michael Greenstone and Ishan Nath - Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver Cost-Effective Carbon Abatement?

    Steffen Henne - How bad are solar and wind?

  3. Talking Points on Energy Poverty

  4. Solar and wind provided 33.6% of German net electricity generation in 2019.
    Fraunhofer ISE energy-charts.info

  5. German household electricity prices have more than doubled to over 0.3€ per kWh ($0.35 per kWh depending on currency exchange rate) since 2000 when the modern renewable energy law started to massively incentivize solar and wind capacity on the German grid.
    BDEW Strompreisanalyse July 2020 p. 7

    The average US household price in 2019 was $0.1301 per kWh.
    U.S. Energy Information Administration - Electric Power Annual table 5a

  6. Plastics Granulating Services (PGS), based in Kilburn in Adelaide's inner-north, said it had seen its monthly power bills increase from $80,000 to $180,000 over the past 18 months.” ABC News Australia - SA plastics recycling business closes due to $100k hike in power bills

  7. Global Energy Institute - What if... Hydraulic Fracturing was Banned? (2020 Edition)

  8. Talking Points on Joe Biden's Energy Plan