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Jun 25, 2009

Windmill Jobs are Expensive

Tilting at Green Windmills
06/25/09 - Washington Post by George F. Will (via Cafe Hayek)

[edited] Gabriel Calzada is a professor of economics at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain. He has produced a report that is inconvenient for Obama's green agenda and for budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.

Spain is the leading country in aggressively supporting production of electricity from renewable sources. Calzada says Spain's huge spending on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But his report concludes that they are often temporary and have cost $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies, and $1.4 million each in the wind industry. Each such new job also destroys 2.2 other jobs in other industries because of the inefficient political allocation of capital.

European media regularly report "eco-corruption" leaving a "footprint of sleaze", such as gaming the subsidy systems and profiteering from land sales for wind farms. Calzada says the creation of jobs in alternative energy has subtracted about 110,000 jobs elsewhere in Spain's economy.

Robert Gibbs is the president's press secretary. It is weird that he dismisses this report as false witout reading it. He can't believe that some American importers are cashing in on the U.S. government's promotion of wind power, despite this being an economically unproductive project.

Calzada has come to conclusions that he, as a libertarian, finds ideologically congenial. And his study was supported by a like-minded U.S. think tank, The Institute for Energy Research, for which this columnist has given a paid speech. Many Spanish critics have impugned his patriotism because he faulted something in Spain which Obama has praised. But, they have not tried to refute the content of his report.

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