The Green New Deal (ctd)

I’ve written about the Green New Deal before. Here’s my main points in a nutshell:

  1. Stimulating renewable energy creates jobs in the renewable energy sector.
  2. Stimulating renewable energy destroys jobs in the non-renewable energy sector.
  3. Renewable energy is more expensive than non-renewable energy. Stimulating renewable energy therefore reduces competitiveness. This slows down economic growth and job creation.
  4. 2+3>1, so stimulating renewable energy destroys more jobs than it creates.
  5. The jobs created depend on subsidies and other forms of government protection.
  6. There is little chance that Ireland will ever become a net exporter of energy at a significant scale. Anything we can do with wave and wind, the Scots can do too, and they will always be closer to the market.
  7. There is little change that Ireland will ever become a net exporter of intellectual property on the renewable energy generation. Our current strenghts in R&D do not match the required skills, and countries that do have the required skills already are developing new energy technologies as well.

Why does this bear repeating? Well, Labour just promised 80,000 jobs while Commins et al. just reconfirmed the negative impact of energy taxes on employment.

Previous posts on the Green New Deal are here and here.

28 thoughts on “The Green New Deal (ctd)”

  1. I think that sometimes the idea of ‘renewable’ energy is to centralise and solve our energy dependence, would it not be better to have unsubsidised cottage industries creating more local energy? Just create the infrastructure to accept it rather than trying to replace generation plants with hundreds of windmills? Just an idea, renewable or not, about a third of energy is lost before it is ever used (in transportation/heat etc.).

  2. “3. Renewable energy is more expensive than non-renewable energy. Stimulating renewable energy therefore reduces competitiveness. This slows down economic growth and job creation.”

    It is now, but a crisis in the middle east won’t affect the price of solar/wind/wave/hydro power. The same can’t be said of some other energy sources.

    Stable energy costs have a value as well.

  3. @ Kevin
    I think a more pertinent point here is that Govt shouldnt waste taxpayers money on ‘green’ in a similar way that money is wasted on tax relief for property, etc,
    Not that all ‘green’ is a waste of money.
    Al

  4. I’m all for home grown energy, but all this constant talk of spending money on the smart economy drives me mad.

    The so-called “smart” economy, is a code word for highly educated, fully employed people. There is consistently a great shortage of these people and they are (perhaps not today) nearly always fully employed. Spending money on creating jobs for them is nonsense, especially as it reduces funds available to help less-skilled people (and we still have some elderly workers without basic reading or writing skills) find lower-skilled work. This may not be as sexy as the Smart economy, and it may mean (gasp) spending money on poor people who are not members of the Green Party, but that doesn’t mean that lower skilled work has no value.

  5. @Kevin
    The Kremlin is more predictable than the wind, and Russia is a more reliable source of gas than Corrib.

    At present, wind power is 8-12 c/kWh; coal and gas 4 and 6 c/kWh. While you may believe that wind will come down and coal and gas will go up, that is not a reason to switch now. There is no irreversibility as implied in your comment.

    That said, the price of wind has not declined recently. Technological progress has halted. The current emphasis is on building turbines rather than improving them, under the so far correct assumption that the government guarantees a market for inferior products. Coal reserves are sufficient to meet any level of demand from China. Gas reserves have just got substantially larger; the LNG market will likely curtail the market power of Russia.

    And if you do not believe all that, then an energy crisis would affect the world economy and so the Irish economy regardless of where we get our energy from.

  6. @Richard Tol

    In what way is Scotland closer to the market? Ireland is closer to southern England, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal than Scotland is. The only countries that Scotland is closer to are the Nordic countries, Iceland and Greenland.

  7. Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” – – China, Japan, and South Korea – – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies and will invest a total of $509bn in the sector over the five years to 2013, compared with $172bn in the US.

    Report: Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” – – China, Japan, and South Korea – – to overtake United States

    The usual Irish pattern is to assume a target is the most important feature of a policy rather than doing a serious SWOT anaysis.

    It all sounds grand; Cowen asked for help at the Sept diaspora forum for help in building the “European Silicon Valley”; Mary Coughlan said a month before that Ireland should its own equivalent of Standard University.

    Meanwhile in a similar developed country to Ireland, New Zealand, has farmers’ coop which commands more than a third of international trade in dairy products and provides 20% of NZ’s export earnings.

    So we have “smart economy” and “green tech” aspirations and the anti-science Green Party wishes to have Ireland declared as a GM-food free zone.

    All good fun, if it wasn’t so serious.

  8. Any mention of Nuclear Power stations…i know this is not an issue the country likes to discuss but I find it funny that it never seems to enter the debate when it comes to our future energy needs. should it not at least not merit a full debate of the potential pros and cons. I have not seen this debate ever take place. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places???

  9. @Richard

    Re. no. 6 exporting energy

    Is there a green business plan showing how exporting surplus wind energy makes money?

    of course, this may be a bit like asking to see the Vatican’s business plan.

    Wind speeds are correlated on the spatial scale of (anti-) cyclones 500-1000km. When it is calm in Ireland, it tends to be calm in Scotland and visa-versa.

    This means that Ireland exports power when electricity is cheap, and buys it back when it is expensive.

    A sell-low buy-high trading strategy …

  10. Surely it makes scense to have our own independent supply of relieable energy, be it wind, wave, coal,gas or nuclear.

    A competitive and sustainable economy depends on this fact.

    Playing by the rule book of international agreements and protocols while these are ignored by the larger players makes no economic scense.

    Writing our own script to suit ourselves not just with regard to energy supply is the way forward for an island economy like ours.

  11. @Kevin
    Russia delivers more gas than Corrib, and the interruptions follow a clear pattern.

    @bg
    We’re a bit behind England on light, and a bit ahead on wind, but the difference is indeed too small for much arbitrage. Besides, renewables are subsidised (by Irish households and small firms). Exporting power would mean a transfer of those subsidies to England.

    @JohntheOptimist
    Google Earth has this neat ruler for quickly calculating distance. The relevant starting point in the west coast. Southwest Scotland is closer to London and Amsterdam than is Southwest Ireland; Paris is about as far.

  12. I don’t favour the layman’s narrative that discusses “jobs” being “created”, “distroyed”, or “lost” wtc. Waht we are talking about here, assuming real wages are will adjust is a loss of income and hence economic welfare.

    When talking to non-economist I prefer to say it will lead to a lower standard of living on average for the country at full employment.

  13. @RIchard Tol

    You say that “There is little chance that Ireland will ever become a net exporter of intellectual property on the renewable energy generation.”

    I read this week about OpenHydro deploying what is claimed to be the first commercial tidal turbine in Nova Scotia. To me this sounds like a great achievement. I hope that Ireland builds on this and becomes a global force in renewable energy.

  14. Ooops! @ Richard: Please, what is your Economic Model-in-Use? You have to make this very clear. I cannot make any meaningful reply on your, or any other contributor’s comments unless I know exactly what your model is: a) Permagrowth; or, b) Sustainable. Please note that Sustainable means an annual, incremental, declension in economic activity.

    @ Karl – I like the bit about the losses in transmission! Big OOPS!

    @all – When you discuss energy, the cost you HAVE to consider is the ENERGY COST of supplying the energy!!! Economic or monetary costs are totally useless and very misleading. For us here, on this puny little piece of world real estate, the Number Three priority is energy security – that is, WE generate enough energy here on this island for ALL the inhabitants – irrespective of the political frontier!

    Methinks many of you are not focused on this matter, which, is only number 3 on my Priority List. You can guess at Nos 1 + 2, they are very non-trivial!

    B Peter

  15. @RIchard Tol

    Thanks for the correction I found the quote below from Rob Bennett the President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power – it is a testing of a commercial scale turbine. I’d like to think it is possible that Ireland can produce world-class talent and companies in the renewable energy field.

    “Working with OpenHydro, we are proud to be the first to deploy and test a commercial scale tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy and look forward to the learnings ahead”

    http://www.green-business.ca/Energy/Clean-Tech/News/ns-power-and-openhydro-successfully-deploy-in-stream-tidal-turbine-in-the-bay-of-fundy.html

  16. @Holbrook
    I share your hope, but let’s be realistic.

    Renewables are likely to provide a substantial share of future energy supply. Wind and solar have the lowest cost and the greatest backing. Ireland is playing a role in neither. Then there is a raft of fringe renewables, some of which may find a viable niche. Wave and tidal are the only two of these that have an Irish presence. Tidal power can only be niche by the nature of the resource. Wave power could be bigger, but the Scots and Americans are putting in ten times the Irish effort and the Scots are working on their third demonstration plant while the Irish are talking about their first.

    Taking a step back, renewable energy requires engineering skills that are not traditionally strong in Ireland, while countries with great engineering traditions (Germany, Japan, Sweden, US, South Korea, China) are also working hard. Freaks happen, but energy also requires scale. A stroke of Irish genius would be snapped up by the big players.

  17. It is a stupid economy, if one must be fully employed. Isn’t it time for a thirty hour week? Those who wish to work longer can do so for free once their basic needs are met by “full” pay such as to allow a family unit to prosper.

    I remember when all were happy to have one breadwinner! The other spouse was working in the home. No strangers to NEED top look after offspring. No earning and being taxed to pay another to be taxed!

    World government was the aim with Copenhagen, funded by carbon taxes. the UN has a funding veto given to the USA government. One way around that. Israel would not favour such a scheme!

  18. @ Richard: I do not consider Pat’s comment non-serious.

    What bothers me considerably is the apparent naive comments of many contributors about ‘alternative’ and ‘sustainable’ energy. Perhaps they are well informed, perhaps not. But whichever, all MUST state clearly what their current economic Model-in-Use is – this is critical to any meaningful discussion about energy. If a contributor has a ‘business-as-usual’ mind-set, then they are in for a very unpleasant surprise in the not too distant future. Like, real nasty!

    If, on the other hand your model is ‘sustainable’, then you are acknowledging that you expect a multi-annual declension in economic activity. This particular paradigm has the most profound implications for our existing way of life which is based on inexpensive (relatively) fossil fuels, infinite or virtual credit, and real crushing debt.

    If any one has an issue with this, then please let me know your alternative – one that does not attempt to invalidate the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry. The so-called Laws of Economics are based on calculus and faith and hope. Hardly worth the paper they are inscribed upon.

    Perhaps Pat, myself, and some others who contribute on this site may come across as ‘tiresome’. Well, so be it, but ‘… nature is not fooled!’ (Richard Feynman).

    B Peter

  19. http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/11/hackers-prove-global-warming-is-scam.html

    A serious revelation of fraud? This does not disprove climate warming but it does lead to many questions. More is going on than fraudulent science.

    Richard Tol
    Are you unable to appreciate the societal manipulation involved in having two parents working? Having to work into distress levels especially when combined with poor infrastructure? Commuting to Mullingar etc.
    Every observation can be backed up. I suggest you consider a little more deeply! Superficiality is the hall mark of many academic commentators, disguising what is happening. Are you one of them? I had thought other wise. Green issues are a manipulation or do you not agree? They are preferable to USAF policy towards South America, see the Independent of London. War is always to be avoided. But we should be aware of these forces influencing behaviour. Or do you think we should all be good sheep and go with the flock?

    The lack of awareness of what the Depression is going to mean, is aided by perusing the green agenda and your analysis can be helpful in exposing these aims as wasteful and nonsense. But let us not lose sight of the fact that most people work to live and not live to work.

    One world government is desirable but do the methods chosen not indicate that it could also become very unattractive? Or does the end justify the means? Lying is stock in trade for those who use stastistics. A societal model that requires all to “work” even at unprofitable activities, such as war, is most undesirable and should be rejected. Work is desirable as a psychological aid and a social benefit. What is allowed to be work is a very political issue and economics is tied up in that? Do you agree?

    Belittling my contributions is a breach of the fine art of advocacy for those who think. You undermine your own contributions by resorting to such tactics. While being a willing participant is good, being an unthinking one is in fact becoming a mere tool?

    Lack of thought about the credit bubble and green issues, means waste. I had considered your contributions as analytical and objective.

  20. @Pat Donnelly – “The juggernaut always seeks to distract while it rolls onwards to the next war.”.

    By an ironic twist of fate/some pun……. in PR terms, the distraction is called ‘flak’!

Comments are closed.