Renewable Energy Provides Far More Jobs for the Future

by Duane Nichols on January 28, 2017

Far More Jobs in Renewable Energy

The jobs fraud interferes with planning for the future

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Retired Chemistry Professor & Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV

We hear a lot about living in the “post-truth era,” when most large media are owned by six corporations which are primarily interested in maintaining a common line in the news, determined by the financial interests of the owners. Smaller newspapers and TV and radio stations are starved for content and not sufficiently affluent to afford much investigation of the claims of people they quote.

So anyone with a platform can make claims without fear of investigation by writers.

Many statements by business fall into that category. The result is that the large part of the public that lacks time, skills or inclination accept statements that favor business profits rather than constitute verifiable truth. Consequently they frequently act against their own interest because of the myth.

One of the enduring myths is that environmental concerns cut back the number of jobs available. This is true for businessmen who seek to capture every last bit of the hydrocarbon sale value of products as possible. When you look at it from the other side, the side of the number and quality of jobs available, both in terms of wage and kind of work, the situation is reversed.

That’s why the claim that Marcellus exploitation is good because it will provide JOBS is false. It seems hardly anyone understands alternative energy will provide more and better jobs and save the environment, too. Many have heard this, but “environment” is a dirty word to them. They ignore the fact that we are part of the natural world, flesh and blood composed of the same carbon, nitrogen and other elements as plants and animals. Their life is, to them, part of the world of stone and steel and energy and logic, cold hard and simple, compared to the biological world they came from. But they are born like other mammals, eat biological food, get biological diseases, and die like all other life. That is not a remote theory, it is life itself!

Half of the worlds primary production on land and in the sea is devoted to supporting human life. We share the rest with elephants and whales and ants and aphids and everything in between. Our species has the “lion’s share.”

There are studies that show solar and other renewables provide far more new jobs than extraction of hydrocarbons. There are three times as many workers in the solar industry in the US as there are working in coal mines. Better work, too.

If you want jobs, you want solar or some other renewable energy source.

In a report titled Don’t Believer the “job Killer” Hype, it says:

A large body of evidence accumulated over the past 30 years shows that regulations, and in particular environmental regulations, tend to create jobs, not kill them. Although it is true that regulations sometimes lead to layoffs in regulated sectors of the economies and they result in serious upheavals in the affected families, they result in a small fraction of total layoffs.

For every job lost to regulations, 15 are lost due to “cost cutting” and 30 are lost to “organizational changes” such as ownership changes.

Regulation causes new hires. People are required for new construction for pollution control caused by the regulations and for regulators. Some examples are:

>>> 1. For every dollar invested, wind and solar create twice as many jobs as fossil fuels. That amounts to five jobs for each gigawatt of power.

>>> 2. Fuel standards cause five new jobs for every one lost.

One study showed, per dollar invested, clean energy provides more jobs in manufacturing and construction, more jobs with high wages, than fossil fuels.

The United States Office of Budget and Management does cost-benefit calculations for the nation. They show that from 2005 to 2014 benefits of environmental regulations far exceed costs. They returned 10:1, and net benefits were over $500 billion per year. (References are in the original.)

We are forced to conclude that those, like Carl Icahn, who say regulations stifle growth are either un-informed, or they are more influenced by their own loss than by societies’ gain.

Remember the old saying, “Fire is a good servant, but a terrible master.” Big Business is like that, too. From the standpoint of most of us, Big Business is a good servant, but a terrible master. Where are we today?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Bond January 30, 2017 at 12:48 am

“Another way to think about job creation is how many people it takes to create a certain amount of economic output.   For example:

·         Nuclear provides about  3 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Oil and Gas (O&G)  provides about  3.5 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Coal provides about  5 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Wind and solar provides about  10 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Sustainable biomass provides about  12 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Building Retrofits provides about  13 jobs per each million dollars of economic output

·         Mass Transit provides about  16 jobs per each million dollars of economic output


Bloomberg News February 1, 2017 at 12:50 am

Job in the Fossil Fuels Industries Pale in Comparison to Bright Solar Jobs

Drilling Rigs have gotten so much more efficient that the shale industry can use about half as many as it did at the height of the boom in 2014 to suck the same amount of oil (and gas) out of the ground, says Angie Sedita, an analyst at UBS Corp.

Nabors Industries, the world’s largest onshore driller, says it expects to cut the number of workers at each well site eventually to about five from 20 by deploying more automated drilling rigs.


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