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What Does Green Energy Create?

Jobs, jobs, jobs

The latest report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) reveals solar energy accounts for the largest proportion of employers in the Electric Power Generation sector, with wind energy the third largest, while the coal industries have declined in the past 10 years.

Solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, making up 43 per cent of the sector’s workforce, while the traditional fossil fuels combined employed 187,117, making up just 22 per cent of the workforce, according to the report [May Bulman, “US Solar Power Employs More People Than Oil, Coal and Gas Combined, Report Shows,” UK Independent, 2017.01.23].

Power, power, power

According to the Energy Information Administration, electric generation technologies are expected to add over 26 GW of utility-scale capacity over 2016. The majority of these additions are coming from three main resources: solar (9.5 GW), natural gas (8 GW), and wind (6.8 GW). Together, these three sources make up 93 percent of total additions [U.S. Department of Energy, “U.S. Energy and Employment Report,” January 2017, p. 21].

President Trump will have to pick a lane: keep bashing green power and pushing finite fuel, or take credit for the real green economy boost.

Cognitive dissonance, cognitive dissonance, cognitive dissonance.


  1. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 09:41

    The Energy Information Administration reports that all utility-based sources generated 297,422 Thousand Megawatthours of Electricity in November 2016.

    Coal – 87,000
    Natural Gas – 94,586
    Nuclear – 65,179
    Hydro – 18,815
    Solar – 2,642 (thermal and PV)
    Wind – 19,334
    Geothermal -1,507

    If you include all solar (i.e. non-utility), solar goes up to 3,950, which is a 45% increase from the year before. Wind is actually down by about 2%.

    Surprisingly, although nuclear plants are closing, they went up by 8% year-to-year.

    So solar is growing fast, but is still in the minority.

  2. jerry 2017-01-27 09:53

    With the VAT coming, there will have to be jobs in the renewable sector to be able to afford American made products.

  3. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 10:05

    Are we going to have trouble exporting American-made solar and wind tech?

  4. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 10:29

    Cory, technically one can keep bashing green power while taking the credit ;^).

  5. Nick Nemec 2017-01-27 10:32

    Someone at DOE is going to be fired later today.

  6. Don Coyote 2017-01-27 11:07

    The headline is disingenuous.

    1)As the article states the high proportion of employment is “largely due to the construction related to the significant build out of new solar generation capacity,”. Gas and coal are more mature sectors so construction jobs will not be as big a factor for those sectors.

    2) As the article states, employment figures are only for electric power generation which oil contributes little to since it produces only 1% of all electricity generated.

  7. mike from iowa 2017-01-27 12:02

    Of course the article is disingenuous- it doesn’t meet coyote’s standard of alternative facts.
    Wind turbines are dangerous to people 150 feet tall. And Drumpf can’t stamp his name on the sun or wind., but he could sell their rights to the koch bros.

  8. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 13:18

    Green energy also produces waste. How many of those jobs are in the recycling of wind/solar materials or of the by-products of their manufacture?

    Aren’t jobs related to recycling, sustainability, and efficiency also green jobs?

    Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like they are counting nuclear among the green jobs, but they are counting jobs affiliated with carbon-emitting natural gas!

  9. jerry 2017-01-27 15:55

    Doc, Trump is a big fat liar. Show me the wall that Mexico is gonna build and then I may believe him. Don’t lie to me and tell me that Mexico will pay for it, they won’t. Show me the repeal of Obamacare, right now as promised, and then I may believe him. Trot NOem out with the goods on that hot one. Show me the 35% tariff, right now as promised, this guy has not told the truth about anything. No wonder the dude went bankrupt so many times, he is not an honest broker.

  10. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 16:13

    Yeah, no money for these things yet. Just a list.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Trumpcare looks a lot like Obamacare…that would permit him to repeal it and deliver something fairly quickly with only a few tweaks. Regardless, he’s in charge, so it is basically up to him to get the costs down while improving care.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-27 16:14

    The headline is plainly, guilelessly factual. What Does Green Energy Create? Jobs and power. Simple claim, simple statistics, simple facts.

    Save your for-the-sake-of-argument rebuttals for serious policy disagreements and questions of value, not simple, indisputable facts, Don Coyote. The President is already infecting public discourse with too much harmful nihilist relativism.

  12. Spike 2017-01-27 17:33

    I met a young gentlemen from Minnesota whom worked for a company that built and serviced wind towers. He was paid well, traveled around the country, was trained in 18 months and just loved his job.

    He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

  13. jerry 2017-01-27 18:38

    Naw doc, the lying liar said repeal. NOem is another of the lying liars and she said the same…65 times.. She even went so far in her lies to claim that she and the rest of the crooks and liars had a plan ready for the table if that mean old Obama would just allow that to happen. Gig is up, Obama has left the building, now, just the liars lie. What about that wall? Where is the wall? When did the Mexicans pay for it to start? Why am I gonna have to pay for it when trump said Mexico would? Why does he lie?

  14. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 19:00

    The NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute) reports that for every 1,000 MW in capacity, wind produces 50 jobs, and nuclear produces 500 jobs. Up to about 700 per nuclear site.

    For every 100 jobs at the power plant, 66 get produced locally, and another 720 are supported nationwide.

    They say solar produces 470 jobs…but no multiplier was provided for the other energy sources.

  15. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 19:04

    It sounds like if we want to maximize green energy jobs, we should be doing a lot more nuclear and solar.

  16. jerry 2017-01-27 19:33

    None of that equates with oil. The head liar already proved that with the Keystone and the DAPL as well as the Wall we are going to have to build with our tax dollars. Naw doc, we all loose when you deal with liars. Look around this state sir, take a good look at what our legislature is. We have sex scandals, we have murder, we have it all. We have it all except honor. Don’t have that because it is lost in the lies. Green, just means the color of oil money for the lying liars here in the PUC and their brethren.

  17. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-27 21:15

    It is apparent that promising something that your constituency wanted and having somebody else pay for it was very effective in this election cycle.

    But words in a TV rally still don’t have the same impact that a direct impact to the pocketbook, like $4 gas, would have. Likewise, $1-$2 gas would have a positive impact.

  18. jerry 2017-01-27 21:42

    Of course, in the end, it is really irrelevant to South Dakota. We do not have the people right now for the jobs that exist, sorry as they may be. We will not go down that road to find something that might make what little we have any better either. When you have a decent job that pays well, you start to question why it took so long, as you then find the truth in the farce of right to work. You then look at the big boots that have held you down so they can feed at the trough, then you just might get mad enough to end this corruption. $1-$2 gas is much the same here as $3-$4 gas when you have to go to the banker to get your operating money for the year. That my friend, is what is called reality, the reality of green in South Dakota.

  19. leslie 2017-01-27 23:29

    Hydro won WWII. Now wind is bigger. Indians may get that land back. If nuke power is so inefficient in terms of workforce compared to wind, that is not a good thing is it, Doc? Like evil big government heh?

  20. barry freed 2017-01-28 10:09

    When, during the Bush Presidency, China gave 30 BILLION to its Solar manufacturers, we saw our Solar manufacturers go bankrupt. That happened because Chinese manufacturers used that money to cut their retail price in half, while our Government ignored and argued the issue at side angles, much to the glee of Big Oil.

    We heard no complaint from the new Oil President: Obama. He did not, as Congress, or the President before him, offer any sanctions or subsidies to protect American industry, even though they all claimed they were wanting to create jobs after the Bush Crash of ’08. The Republicans ignored all of the other Solar Producers in the US as they mindlessly chanted: “Solindra, Solindra, Solindra”, one of MANY victims of this Trade Attack. They, along with silently approving Democrats, did nothing to protect our Solar Industry. It was not corruption that killed Solindra, it was a 50% retail mark down and a failure by Bush, then Obama, and Congress to throw off their oil and nuke overlords for the good of America. A failure that could end the World, as it is still ongoing.

  21. barry freed 2017-01-28 10:13

    Mr McTaggart,

    If we had to pay for gas and nukes without subsidies, we would go green overnight. $4 gas would be considered ridiculously cheap.

  22. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-28 14:31


    Why do green energy when wind in particular generates so few jobs per Megawatt-hour by comparison? Cory stated up above “jobs, jobs, jobs”. Not “job” ;^).

    To be fair, I would like to see a breakdown of those jobs for both nuclear and solar to see how many of them are technicians and how many of them require an engineering degree. Nuclear plants really have very few pure nuclear engineers…most are either electrical or mechanical engineers with some nuclear know-how.

  23. jerry 2017-01-28 14:39

    leslie, I imagine you have seen the Simpson’s. Homer and a couple of other doughnut eaters run the whole plant. Homer does have a job though that he has had for sometime, so he has that job security. His wife does not work out of the home, so there is that.

  24. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-28 14:45

    Be careful barry freed. Wind energy and solar rely on subsidies too. And they are not completely carbon-free either when you need to burn gas to make up the difference. I’m still waiting on energy prices in Germany to come down, as well as the amount of carbon from coal-burning in Germany to come down. Neither has happened with their renewables.

    And don’t worry, when Germany and California shut down their nuclear and coal plants, both of them will be happy to either import natural gas or import electricity from nuclear or coal. In the case of Germany, they would be reliant upon Russia. Uh-oh.

    But I will agree with you that when we really decide to start replacing our 30-50 year-old energy infrastructure, the same old nuclear plant will not be built. It has to be more cost-competitive with natural gas, and/or the value of its carbon-free energy has to be taken into account. Load-following nuclear would provide carbon-free assistance to wind and solar on the grid.

  25. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-28 14:47

    Mmmm. Donuts. Unfortunately they increase our carbon intake :^).

  26. jerry 2017-01-28 15:49

    Thankfully then, there is just Homer to contend with. Nope the jobs just are not there for nuke stuff. The big worry should be the disposal of spent rods. Now in the Mid East, that does not seem to be any problem, I wonder why that is? It seems that Russia has that all figured out

  27. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-28 16:03

    When the oil is gone, they will still need a lot of energy. Solar and nuclear make sense for them.

    We should be supplying the Middle East with their green energy technology. Sadly Russia is doing the nuclear and China is doing the solar. Plus Eastern Europe is dependent upon Russian natural gas. Do you think that helps or hurts American interests?

  28. barry freed 2017-01-29 09:46

    Mr. McTaggart,

    Is this propagnada then?

    Breaking records in solar energy production

    Back in June of 2014, Germany reached a significant milestone and national record by satisfying more than 50 percent of its electricity demand with 23.1 gigawatts of solar power– which was half of the entire world’s production at the time.


  29. barry freed 2017-01-30 08:33

    Mr. Coyote,
    Not as dependent as us, but we don’t have the excuse of cloudy days.

  30. Robert McTaggart 2017-01-30 09:00

    There are different times of the year, let alone different times of the day, when solar can produce a lot. But the demand does not go up and down with the solar PV output, and our devices are not designed to store and use intermittent power. Lunar energy is still in the development stage ;^).

    So let’s make the most of what we have, recognize and/or take advantage of the intermittency, and make up the difference with the lowest carbon emissions possible and the most high-paying jobs possible.

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