One of the main goals set forth in Obama’s 2011 SOTU address was the implementation of clean energy. “So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources”. Let’s take a look at what the “green energy” initiative has done for Spain.
German Vilimelis heard about Spain’s solar gold rush from his brother-in-law in 2007.Across the plains around Lerida, the northeastern Spanish town where they spent weekends, farmers were turning over their fields to photovoltaic panels to capitalize on government solar- energy subsidies. Vilimelis persuaded his father, Jaume, who made a living growing pears on 5 acres (2 hectares) of land in Lerida, to turn over a portion of his farm for the project, Bloomberg Markets reported in its November issue.
Vilimelis, 35, a procurement manager for a consumer goods company, pooled his family savings and mortgaged his apartment to obtain a loan of more than 400,000 euros ($558,500) to cover the investment. Within nine months, the family’s 80-kilowatt generation unit — 500 solar panels on seven racks angled toward the sun — was feeding power into the national grid.
Solar investors such as Vilimelis were lured by a 2007 law passed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that guaranteed producers a so-called solar tariff of as much as 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity for 25 years — more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price of about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour paid to mainstream energy suppliers.
Thanks to the incentives, the family met the monthly cost of the loan and even earned a small profit. Once the debt was paid off in 2018, Vilimelis looked forward to making even more money during the 15 additional years of subsidies guaranteed under Spanish law.
Now Vilimelis and more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster as the policy makers contemplate cutting the price guarantees that attracted their investment in the first place.
“You feel cheated,” he says. “We put our money in on the basis of a law.”
Zapatero introduced the subsidies three years ago as part of an effort to cut his country’s dependence on fossil fuels. At the time, he promised that the investment in renewable energy would create manufacturing jobs and that Spain could sell its panels to nations seeking to reduce carbon emissions.
Yet by failing to control the program’s cost, Zapatero saddled Spain with at least 126 billion euros of obligations to renewable-energy investors. The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs, because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.
So where are all of the “green jobs” that the renewable energy boom were supposed to create?
By 2005, growth rates of installed solar and wind capacity in Spain were among the highest in the world. Now, however, the tariff deficit has reached an estimated $26 billion while economic recession has lowered tax receipts and threatened overall fiscal health. In 2009, Spain’s public-sector debt rose to 53.2% of gross domestic product from 39.8% in 2008. The maximum specified for euro-zone countries is 60%.
• For every green job financed by Spanish taxpayers, 2.2 jobs were lost as an opportunity cost.
• Only 1 of 10 green job contracts were in maintenance and operation of installed plants; the rest were working positions sustainable only in an expansive environment related to high subsidies.
• Since 2000, Spain had committed $753,778 for each green job.
• Those programs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs.
• Each green megawatt installed destroyed 5.39 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
A report recently released by Stuart Young Consulting and The John Muir Trust in the UK is highly skeptical of the economic feasibility of wind generated electric power based upon a study of UK wind farms. Among the findings:
- On 124 separate occasions from November 2008 to December 2010, the total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW (a fraction of the 450MW expected from a capacity in excess of 1600MW+). These periods of low wind lasted an average of 4.5 hours.
- Actually, low wind occurred every six days throughout the 26-month study period. The report finds that the average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.
- At each of the four highest peak demand points of 2010, wind output was extremely low at 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.
- In fact, the average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.
- below 20% of capacity more than half the time
- below 10% of capacity over one third of the time
- below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve
- below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month
Read the whole report here. (Hat Tip Yenta Fada)
Much of the renewable energy initiative has already proven to be a failure and the O-Regime certainly knows this. As with most of their policies, the renewable energy scam is about limiting our freedom of choice, wealth re-distribution and controlling every aspect of our lives.
Rodan Note: These Green policies have led to 22% Unemployment in Spain. Currently the Rightwing Popular Party is ahead in the polls for the 2012 elections. This has led Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero to announced he will not seek re-election. His Green jobs focus has failed!