If you move solar panels out of the Arizona desert, they are going to produce less electricity. You almost don't have to tell me where they are going -- if they are currently close to the optimal spot for maximum solar energy production, then moving them is bound to reduce their output.
Seems obvious, huh? So why is it so difficult to understand that when the government moves capital and other resources away from the industries where the forces of market optimization have put it, output is going to go down.
Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain's experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.
For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.
U.S. President Barack Obama's 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.
The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power - - which are charged to consumers in their bills -- translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish "green job" created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.
"The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices," he said in an interview.
We all know from reading the media that the Obama administration is 1) full of brilliant people way smarter than the rest of us and 2) driven by science. So this insightful exchange between a reporter and White House spokesman Robert GIbbs vis a vis this Spanish study should come as no surprise:
Q: Back on the President's speech today, a Spanish professor, Gabriel [Calzada] Ãlvarez, says after conducting a study, that in his country, creating green jobs has actually cost more jobs than it has led to: 2.2 jobs lost, he says, for every job created. And he has issued a report that specifically warns the President not to try and follow Spain's example.
MR. GIBBS: It seems weird that we're importing wind turbine parts from Spain in order to build "” to meet renewable energy demand here if that were even remotely the case.
Q Is that a suggestion that his study is simply flat wrong?
MR. GIBBS: I haven't read the study, but I think, yes.
Q Well, then. (Laughter.)
In two sentences, Mr. Gibbs demonstrates that 1) He is an idiot and 2) He has no respect for science. The correct, intelligent response would be "I can't comment, I have not read the study yet." Mr. Gibbs does deserve credit for being an apparent master of the non-sequitur. I have been trying to think of an eqivilent formulation. The best I can come up with is to suppose someone said that "publicly funded sports stadiums generate no new economic activity and are just a taxpayer subsidy of sports owners, players, and ticket holders" and getting the response that "how can this be when people still go to the games?"
I was afraid that all this braininess in the White House was going to eliminate the humor from Administration pronouncements but I see that won't be the case.