The oil-soaked American Enterprise Institute is very concerned that President Barack Obama is promoting clean energy investment. AEI pundit Kenneth Green and his research assistant Hiwa Alaghebandian are worried about reducing our dependence on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels with new clean jobs, they write, based on “the troubling European experience with green energy and job creation.” Green lists “four European countries that went hog wild for renewables, while singing the praises of green jobs: Spain, Italy, Germany, and Denmark,” and cites studies that purport to show the countries “all tried and failed to accomplish positive outcomes with renewable energy”:
THE SPANISH STUDY: “In March 2009, researchers Gabriel Calzada Alvarez and colleagues at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos released a study examining the economic and employment effects of Spain’s aggressive push into renewables.”
The study, “Study of the Effects of Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources,” was written by an Exxon-funded right-wing think tank, Instituto Juan de Mariana, then promoted by the Koch Industries propaganda network.
It was thoroughly debunked and eviscerated for elementary methodological flaws by the Spanish government, the Wall Street Journal, the Center for American Progress, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2009.
THE ITALIAN STUDY: “A study performed by Luciano Lavecchia and Carlo Stagnaro of Italy’s Bruno Leoni Institute found an even worse situation.”
Like the Spanish study, “Are Green Jobs Real Jobs? The Case of Italy” was published by a right-wing think tank, the Bruno Leoni Institute, founded by the Koch Industries-supported Carlo Lottieri. The institute argues that global warming is a hoax. Their study proudly states that it “followed the methodology employed by Calzada et al.” and thus has the same crippling methodological flaws.
THE GERMAN STUDY: “In a study of the effects of Germany’s aggressive promotion of wind and solar power, Manuel Frondel noted that the German feed-in law required utilities to buy solar power at a rate of fifty-nine cents per kilowatt-hour, far above the normal cost of conventional electricity, which was between three and ten cents. Feed-in subsidies for wind power, he observed, were 300 percent higher than conventional electricity costs.”
Like the Italian and Spanish studies, the “Economic Impacts from the Promotion of Renewable Energies, the German Experience” was produced by a right-wing think tank, RWI Essen. Unlike his counterparts, Dr. Frondel also opposed Germany’s much costlier coal subsidies and supports cap-and-trade systems. Frondel concedes that the feed-in tariff created Germany’s world-class solar and wind industries, but predicts that they will disappear, so the subsidies will have turned out not to be worthwhile. He also notes a reality for Germany that does not apply to the United States — the feed-in tariffs are complementary policies to high fuel taxes and the European cap-and-trade system, which he supports.
THE DANISH STUDY: “The US Energy Information Administration tells America’s children that “Denmark ranks ninth in the world in wind power capacity, but generates about 20% of its electricity from wind.” That sounds impressive, but is it true? Not according to CEPOS, a Danish think tank, which issued a 2009 report entitled Wind Energy, the Case of Denmark.”
Like the Italian and Spanish studies, “Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark” was produced by an oil-funded right-wing think tank, CEPOS. The “study” was “paid for by an American think tank with close ties to the coal and oil industries,” the Institute for Energy Research. The president of IER, Thomas J. Pyle, is a Koch Industries lobbyist. The study makes the bizarre claim that, although Denmark produces 20 percent of its electricity through wind power, because it sells some of that electricity to its neighbors, it doesn’t count as Danish electricity. This oil-funded hit piece has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked for having basic methodological flaws by numerous Danish energy experts and NRDC economists.
Even the chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, John Felmy, has admitted that the green economy creates jobs. Green investments protect the planet, save lives, and strengthen the economy, no matter what language you speak.