Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spain's renewable energy fiasco a warning to all

Cleantech Counterpoint: How California Can Learn From Spain’s Clean Power Folly
Renewable energy has for years been hailed as the predominant solution to California’s energy dilemma, a sentiment that more recently has been supported by public policy as well. But while there’s no question that sustainable energy is exciting, if Spain’s experience is any example, misplaced government mandates, aggressive special interests and taxpayer-funded subsidies for the clean power industry would cost us dearly.

Spain is often held up as the role model for renewable energy development. The Spanish government has been generous with subsidies for clean power in the form of grants and direct low-interest loans — $1.6 billion for the solar industry alone in 2008. The result has been that it’s basically subsidized companies’ losses and the true costs of renewable energy development has not been passed on to the consumer. Now the Spanish government is warning that its clean power policies could result in significant end user cost increases for electricity — for many years to come.

You can read the full post at

As I keep telling people, solar power IS NOT free energy from the sun.

It comes at a significant cost.

This may surprise some of you, but solar panels do not grow on trees.

They are manufactured in factories. They take lots of energy to make. LOTS of energy.

Some really nasty byproducts, like silicon tetrachloride, are produced along the way.

And just remember this, the next time some snake oil merchant like the ACTU's Sharan Burrow glibly promises you a future where all the real jobs destroyed by an emissions trading scheme and renewable energy targets have magically been replaced with make-believe green jobs that don't exist anywhere except in her imagination - in Spain each of these green "jobs" cost taxpayers' around a million dollars each in government subsidies.

But for every so-called green job created, as found by research conducted at the King Juan Carlos University, just over two jobs in the real economy vanished.

Oh, and then the market crashed because of oversupply followed by falling demand and many of these pretend "jobs" vanished as well.

So they've ended up with the usual outcome of green economics - they got less for more!

Posted via email from Garth's posterous


Valencia Property said...

Another persn quoting a totally discredited report about renewables in Spain. It is not a disaster anything but.

Garth Godsman said...

Okay, I'll ask the question - discredited by who and on what basis?

Anonymous said...

Discredited by the fact that it happened OUTSIDE the US.

Because should it happened INSIDE the US nothing would be published in the media.

It´s the old american thing: "if we can´t do it nobody else will!"

That´s why the US for example insists in corn and other crap as ethanol sources instead of just going for sugar cane, which is a time PROVEN technology.

When the US takes its head out of its ass maybe it will be a world leader in greentech technologies and will not need to keep bashing projects abroad instead.

Anonymous said...

Keep conning yourself about the impossibility of saying goodbye to fossil fuels and preserving a livable planet. Try reading something with more than 5 minutes of research behind it. Greenpeace just released a huge and comprehensive report on jobs in renewables
A little more credible than this tripe.

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of this month we got more than 50% of our energy from renewable sources, mostly supplied by wind. I check spanish energy consumption on a daily basis and the amount coming from the wind just wont go below 20 or 30% most of the time. Is that a fiasco? youre not doing a favour to your country and the world by not telling the truth...strange how you just will stick to fossil fuels...
Anyway, check it for yourselves every once in a while...

A spaniard