Carpe Diem

Renewable energy projects cost US taxpayers $26 billion for only 2,300 permanent jobs, which is $11.5 million per job

DOE-loan-losses4In 2008, Barack Obama pledged to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer dollars toward renewable energy projects in the form of loan guarantees. But here’s what has actually happened according to recently released data by the Department of Energy’s Loans Programs Office, and summarized in the chart above by the Institute for Energy Research:

More than $26 billion has been spent (or pledged in loan guarantees) since 2009 on DOE Section 1703 projects (taxpayer support for clean energy technologies that are typically unable to obtain conventional private financing) and Section 1705 loan guarantees (for certain renewable energy systems and leading edge biofuels). Unfortunately for taxpayers, fewer than 2,300 permanent jobs have been created for all of those billions of dollars, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $11.45 million per jobSolar projects generated an especially poor return for taxpayer funding – almost $1 billion of taxpayer dollars were spent on just two now-bankrupt solar companies – Abound and Solyndra – that in the end created no permanent jobs.

HT: Bob Wright

25 thoughts on “Renewable energy projects cost US taxpayers $26 billion for only 2,300 permanent jobs, which is $11.5 million per job

  1. “In 2008, Barack Obama pledged to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer dollars toward renewable energy projects. But here’s what has actually happened….”

    To be fair, it all worked out perfectly on the faculty lounge chalk board.

  2. it’s been a huge money loser too.

    the poster child for crony green capitalism has been the once august and highly respected VC form kleiner perkins.

    they hired al gore to be a partner and lobby for them and their companies.

    they tried every dirty trick in the book to get government to support, mandate, and shore up their huge bets on green.

    even with all that, it was a dismal failure.

    kleiner has had significantly negative returns over the last decade.

    you cannot mandate or fake innovation.

    • “even with all that, it was a dismal failure.”

      Failure for who, Morg? “The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.”

      • paul-

        well, clearly this was great for the CEO’s of some of the companies.

        you pay you $1million, you get $300 million in government loans, and pay yourself all that money back and then some.

        but hell, how is that any different than any public union?

        but kleiner got scalped.

        that’s what i find so interesting.

        even with all this free money, green mandates, preferential law, etc, they still could not make the portfolio pay.

        KPCB used to be one of the greats. they were one of the top money mangers in the world in the 90′s.

        they did a major pivot and got into greentech and lobbying and that hubris brought them down.

        i remember hearing them say somehting to the effect of “we hate the market system. it’s too hard to determine who will win. it’s much easier for us with the government picking winners” a few years back and wanting to throw up on myself.

        but, like all investment theories that ignore the market, it flopped.

        you can fund the hell out of it, but you can’t make it work, make customers care, or stop others from making somehting better.

        • But AlGore said it would work!!!

          I think he joined the board of Kleiner, and abruptly ran it into the ground.

          He belongs in jail for self dealing.

          • i think it was the other way around actually mesa.

            i think kleiner decided to become statist rent seekers and then went out and hired the ne plus ultra of zero morals rent seekers to aid them.

            this whole “moral entrepreneur” thing makes me sick. it’s not moral, it’s coercive rent seeking.

            note that gore made a freaking fortune on this.

            he’s worth hundreds of millions.

          • You’re right of course morganovich, but the exact association doesn’t concern me.

            Gore is worth hundreds of millions, and created his own market, then shut down carbon trading due to lack of transparency, interest, and intelligence. He’s grafted millions from his shakedown racket.

            He’s a complete scumbag and belongs in jail.

          • mesa-

            fwiw, gore made pretty much no money on carbon trading.

            it was royalties on that horrid propaganda flick he made, speaking, sinecure and lobbying money from KP, and recently he made around $100 million selling that clowntastic TV network.

            certainly, he’s a hypocrite and a scumbag (gore uses as much energy as 1000 typical americans) but i’m not sure he’s done anything actually criminal apart from butchering science.

            some of his lobbying was shady as hell, but lobbying is not illegal.

  3. The Georgia Power nuclear facility will be the first nuclear plants built in the U.S. in the last thirty years.

    A very interesting safety feature of the nuclear facility is that it:

    “relies on the natural forces of gravity, natural circulation and compressed gases to keep the core and containment from overheating”

    instead of a human operator relying on back-up power generation.

    The President should have known that nuclear power does not generate many on-site jobs, when the 5 million job claim was made.

  4. This notion of “creating jobs” is just back-asswards. Jobs are a RESULT of value-creating economic activity. Sure, you can create jobs by asking people to dig holes and then fill them back up, but what have you accomplished? Nothing. Actually less than nothing if the money you paid the hole-diggers could have been used to produce something else that was really valuable.

    At least digging holes and filling them back up wouldn’t cost you $11MM per job.

  5. The energy industry even renewables is capital intensive rather than labor intensive. Almost all of the loan guarantees were for capital improvements or new investments in energy infrastructure. Framing the number of jobs created is bull. It should be framed as whether the investment was economic. Did the G*damn investment make economic sense? If it did not then nail Obama’s P* to the wall about it don’t whine about their frame of jobs created with the stupid stimulus bill which is just BS and we all know it. Actually if it made economic sense then private equity investors would flock to it. New ideas come out of the lab so fast these days and into production I don’t know why we need to coddle any industry. My god it is like Adam Smith never wrote On the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations.

  6. Pilot projects and prototypes will equate into these jobs!
    to prematurely suggest failure is a disservice to all involved, and a service to fossil fuel industry!
    Integrated Resource Management solution to Climate Change

    In my opinion

    We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

    At a scale required to accomplish this task :

    Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

    Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

    Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

    Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

    Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option

    All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

    The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

    Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

    Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

    Reducing illness / health care costs as well !

    Dennis Baker
    Penticton BC V2A1P9
    cell phone 250-462-3796
    Phone / Fax 250 492 0033

    • If solar can keep getting cheaper and more convenient to install, rooftop solar ought to be viable as a way to help clip off peak loading in the afternoon, especially in the summer when AC usage is high. Combined with time-of-use billing, this ought to be viable.

      Wind as currently designed is a loser except maybe in a few locations that are both consistently windy and close to cities or factories for consumption. However, it might be more practical to directly use wind energy to produce useful energy products at remote windy sites that are reasonably near rail lines for transport.

      E.g. instead of generating electricity, use wind to power compressors and use the tower itself as a giant radiator to produce liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen, with condensed water as a by-product.

      Generate electricity from nearby towers and use that to produce methane from the water and compressed liquid CO2 shipped in by rail. Ship the O2 and CH4 to existing power plants to be burnt to generate electricity for peak demand. Ship the liquid nitrogen to chill CO2 out of power plants’ exhaust. Ship the collected compressed liquid CO2 back to the wind towers to make more methane. (The energy costs of all that shipping is still far less than the energy content of the products shipped.)

  7. Obama’s stupid Solar Payoffs to his campaign contributors cost 500 jobs in the company I worked for. We all lost our jobs when the market was flooded with garbage solar cells and our company’s solar division shut down.

  8. i dont consume peoples eforts tho the proficientcy ies but i do hear a do it your self kits for wind solar for your own even independant supplement to your home back yard and further freedom energized generators like telsa(atmospher) and others…. heres a tip theres acompany( stock) with “absolute black” solar coating ——Heres a bigger tip tooo i heard for news that iran and other even middle east and south american producers have to ration and even import their own gasoline i may be wrong (refined or something) till keeping a point do you think holdingout by american Shale you are held by would be letting never go of you is easy self reliance

  9. Well, at that rate, we will only have to spend about 5 trillion dollars to get the jobs he promised. He might even think that is an acceptable figure.

  10. Dude reality is the fossil fuel industry will use its economic influence to ensure potential replacement technologies don’t see the light of day!
    The role of Government is act in the citizens best interests!
    Replacing Fossil Fuel Power Plants is in the best Interest of the Citizen.
    Therefore strategic ( high risk investments) which if successful ( extremely high ) returns.

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