Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Less Jobs!

One argument that always makes me cringe is the one saying we should fund renewable energy as a way to create jobs. The energy that creates the most jobs is the cheapest form of energy.

Oil makes the clearest example of this. Sure, when the price of oil increases oil companies hire more people. However: farmers must fire people, it costs too much to run their farm equipment forcing some out of business; Shipping companies must fire people, it costs too much to run the trucks and ships making many routes no longer profitable; Airlines must fire people, fuel costs are a significant part of their costs and they will fly less planes when oil is expensive; Chemical companies must fire people, with more expensive feedstock and processes they just won't be able to pass the costs on to customers. In fact, the energy which would create the most jobs would be that which is too cheap to meter.

The reason renewable energy is so expensive is that they must employ so many people. If it ever hopes to compete, it needs to create less jobs per unit of energy produced. Once it does this, it will no longer be a significant source of jobs except in areas with large export businesses.

Forbes had a recent article which brought back this rant.

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