Green is the new black, in both the United States as well as Europe. Virtually everyone on the left has thrown on the green pants, green shirts and green cloak of what, they assure us, is the future of life on Earth as we know it, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Green recently studied whether or not the "green energy leads to green jobs" paradigm has any merit, by examining how things have worked out in Europe, where it has been tested extensively. Here, he focuses on the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is the world's third-largest producer of offshore wind power. And while there are no data available about green jobs in the Netherlands, there is evidence that its green power plants will not produce many. Indeed, according to the journal Energy Debate, the new Dutch government has lost its faith in windmills.
The government has taken exception to the massive subsidies required to build and operate wind farms, and to the expected export of 4.5 billion (about $6.5 billion) in subsidies to a German company (Bard Engineering) that would have built, owned and operated the wind farms.
On November 30, 2010, the government unveiled its new renewables plan, slashing annual subsidies from 4 billion ($5.8 billion) to 1.5 billion ($2.2 billion).
And not only are the subsidies cut back, what remains will be redirected well away from wind power.
Another change in the Dutch attitude toward renewables is how to pay for the subsidies. In the past, subsidies were paid out of the general budget. Moving forward, consumers will see a surcharge on their energy bills.
The irony here is rich. The Dutch, who have been enamoured of wind power for hundreds of years, may have finally had enough tilting at windmills. If even they can't make it work, one has to wonder if anyone can, says Green.
Source: Kenneth P. Green, On Green Energy: A Dutch (Re)Treat, The American, April 10, 2011.
For text: http://www.american.com/archive/2011/april/on-green-energy-a-dutch-re-treat
For more on Environment Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=31
First published by the National Center for Policy Analysis, United States
FMF Policy Bulletin/ 19 April 2011