About Those Green Jobs

Alarmists love to tout the “green collar” jobs that their “low carbon” future will bring.

Forget for a moment that after accounting for the “green collar” jobs any national global warming legislation like Liberman-Warner, might create, we will still see a net loss of millions of jobs.

Those green collar jobs like wind turbine technicians don’t pay very well either.

This is a cruel untruth, especially in economically depressed areas. Very few permanent jobs will likely be created—perhaps a couple of low wage maintenance employees. According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Lab on windplant jobs, the national average is one maintenance employee for every 12-15 turbines. A 20 turbine windplant in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania now employs only two maintenance employees. Forty miles south, the Mountaineer wind facility in West Virginia, with over 45 turbines, employs three to four workers. For two windplants proposed for Western Maryland (Clipper Windpower and Synergics Wind Energy, both LLCs), the developers have pledged to pay each of their maintenance employees little more than $18,000 annually, less than a living wage for a family of four in this country. The collective capital value of their facilities, however, is projected to be in the neighborhood of $140 million….

During windplant construction, a few security guards and some local earth moving crews will be hired for a few months, while the bulk of construction is typically completed by primarily foreign labor, since the turbines are often manufactured in Europe with warranties serviced by the manufacturer. A recent study by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on the “Top of Iowa” windplant showed that, of the 200 total construction jobs, only 20 were local—and all disappeared within six months.

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O’Malley’s PSC is close to granting Clipper Windpower approval for an application on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. Clipper’s chairman is a former Enron official and delegate to the Kyoto Conference.

Readers will remember Synergics Wind LLC, especially its owner former head of the Maryland Democratic Party, Wayne Rodgers, and how Mike Miller and Ulysses Currie greased the skids allowing him to circumvent the PSC.

These projects were foundering in 2006, in fact Tom “The Advocate” Pelton noted that they lacked “financing and contracts with electricity distributors.” Why? Well, because wind energy is very expensive to produce and distribute, which is why it needs government mandates. Mandates like O’Malley’s recent increase of Maryland’s renewable portfolio standards, which requires state utilities to purchase portions of its electricity from renewable sources like wind from 9.5% to 20%. Can you say rent seeking!

So there you have it Wayne Rodgers (did I mention he’s the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party maybe David Paulson could clear that up for me) and a former Enron man are conspiring to keep wages low in order to reap the huge windfall profits from their rent seeking efforts.

Edited for clarity and new information.

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