|A solar panel Installation|
Reading through their reports, it begs the question: “What is a green job?”
If you read the assortment of editorials from IER or from such newspapers as the Wall Street Journal you will be led to believe that a green job is a manufacturing job. This is because these reports almost always stick with three examples: SpectraWatt, Evergreen Solar and Solyndra who are now bankrupt. These three companies, all of whom were manufacturers of solar photovoltaic technology, were also the recipients of various forms of government aid. This, they argue, is proof positive of the hollow promise of green jobs. Green jobs are nonexistent without government aid and even with that aid, they inevitably disappear due to their inherent infeasibility.
This approach is the equivalent of arguing that because an automobile company goes bankrupt, the idea of the automobile itself is unviable. If we take the panel manufactures out of the context of the solar industry and justly place them as part of the greater US manufacturing picture, their failure is sadly par for the course. The same external market forces that put them out of business are hurting many American manufacturers; a drop in the price of raw materials and cheap labor competition from China.
|Green jobs are everywhere|
The notion that only government is willing to invest capital in renewable energy is also a fallacy. Google has invested in Solar City, Citigroup has partnered with Sungevity and Constellation Energy has invested in Astrum Solar to name a few. These are all American companies investing in American companies to help them grow. All of them produce green jobs.
We can argue about the wisdom (or lack thereof) in the government’s investments in Evergreen or Solyndra until we are blue in the face, but they are not the be-all-end-all. Companies looking to lose market shares to this new power have a vested interest in disparaging renewable energy. They are trying to convince people that the old ways are still the best ways. The truth is that the sun will still be shining and the wind will still be blowing long after the last drop of oil and last unit of gas has been wrung from the Earth. The green economy and its green jobs - its “real” jobs - are here to stay.
by Richard Harrod
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