$9 Billion, 910 Jobs

The President Barack Hussein Obama administration, between 2009 and 2011, gave out $9 billion in stimulus money for solar and wind projects. As a result, 910 long-term “direct” jobs, those that are operation and maintenance oriented, were created. At the same time, 4,600 “indirect” jobs, those indirectly supported by the operation and maintenance jobs, were created. So if you combine the two types of jobs, you get 5,510 jobs created, or about $1.63 million for each job created.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) of 2009 included Section 1603, a grant program run through the Treasury Department. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (EREL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), provided approximately $9.0 billion to 197 large wind projects and 23,692 photovoltaic (PV) projects.

In its report, “Preliminary Analysis of the Jobs and Economic Impacts of Renewable Energy Projects Supported by the 1603 Treasury Grant Program,” the EREL said that the 910 “direct jobs” were “significantly less than the number of [indirect] jobs supporting manufacturing and associated supply chains.”

The EREL relied upon Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) computer models to calculate the number of jobs created. Ultimately the grant program spent $9 billion to create 910 jobs that are designed to last about 30 years. If you look only at these jobs, each one cost about $9.8 million to create. Private sector businesses spend thousands of dollars creating jobs and training new employees. But the government spends $9.8 million per job.

Could the “doing fine” private sector have done a better job with $9 billion. Probably, but we’ll never know because:

  • the government has no profit incentive
  • the $9 billion has already been spent
  • the $9 billion was spent on projects with dubious (at best) economic justification
  • the jobs were created not to be economically viable, but because the DOE had to grant the money
  • the primary purpose of the money being granting was to “stimulate” the economy
  • the secondary purpose of the money being granting was to promote green energy

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

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