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Green Energy Jobs: Top 7 Pieces of Rare Good News for US Workers on Labor Day


Green Energy Jobs: Top 7 Pieces of Rare Good News for US Workers on Labor Day

Juan Cole

1. The Christian Science Monitor says that in 2016, US solar businesses employed 260,077 workers – up 25 percent from 2015.

2. That is, the solar energy sector alone employs more people than Apple, Google, and Facebook combined!


Quote from the article: “7. Each day, US workers erect 10 new wind turbines around America. Each creates 44 years of full-time employment. So at an average of 30 years per worker, that is the equivalent of generating over 200,000 full time jobs that last for a lifetime every year.”

I don’t think the math adds up. 44 years of employment would mean about 1.47 “jobs that last a lifetime” per wind turbine. So at 10 a day we’re talking about approximately 5300 such jobs. If the industry actually produced as many jobs as the author said, that would be a bad thing (not good news) as it would indicate that it cost too much for the energy produced.


But don’t we have to ask just who controls those jobs?

“Green” greed may be better than the dirty kind, but is it the best we can do?


Juan Cole is a professor of History - specializing in Middle Eastern studies. They dont do much in the way of calculations in that profession…


All Cole does is cite other articles. The information in the last citation comes from a sponsored wind energy site in Minnesota, I believe. You may be correct re. the erroneous calculations, but Cole’s article is merely a reference article to other articles. He is not claiming to be a specialist in green energy, as you can tell from visiting his native website.


True - I don’t really blame the guy - but I get nervous whenever obviously bogus arguments are used for positions that I would otherwise generally support (more wind and solar energy usage). It just gives ammunition to purveyors of bad policy.


Unfortunately that’s not true. The 200,000 jobs figure is one he apparently created inaccurately on his own. The SCTimes article he links to made no such claim.


Thank you, Dennis . . . I stand corrected.


I do remember Milton Friedman and his predilection for fascists. I also know that your story about him is fictional.

Regarding the productivity of workers in various energy sectors - keep in mind that the jobs are counted in ridiculously different ways.

Solar has its best profile when it is used locally and so essentially none goes out to the grid. Are the 2.3 million jobs in the transmission, distribution, and storage of traditional fuels counted in your jobs numbers for carbon fuels (answer: no). Overall there are about 10 times as many jobs related to traditional fuels than there are related to renewables. When you count them all, the ratio of renewable energy worker productivity to traditional fuel productivity is not so drastic as when the Institute for Energy Research puts out their biased propaganda.


Despite local solar power not needing a grid to travel through, the Waltons and Kochs have been coaching electric utilities and influencing state and local gubmits to impose fees on rooftop solar producers allegedly to pay for the cost of moving their power through the grid.

The electric industry calls these “wheeling fees” when power plants (central power generation) are putting lots of power into the grid. The Waltons and Kochs are simply out to destroy distributed generation and enhance central power generation.


The average salary at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is ~$147,000. It has 1500 employees and ~1000 part-timers when refuelling. It puts $1,000,000,000 into the local economy per year. It generates 21% of the world’s 6th largest economy’s power, with no emissions.

What pay did the wind jockeys get for their 44 years per wind generator? What did everyone else get, after subsidies ? – Alex Cannara


Only about 11% of California’s known energy usage mix comes from nuclear (wind is also at 11%; solar at 10%, hydro at 14%, and geothermal at 5% by comparison).