Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Renewable electricity . . . economically damaging"

A few quotes this week from a new study by Tom Miers and Richard Marsh reported by Verso Economics.

The study is entitled "Worth the Candle?" and the executive summary can be found here.  The subtitle of the paper is The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Policy in Scotland and the UK.

The report’s key finding is that  for every job created in the UK in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost.  In Scotland there is no net benefit from government support for the sector, and probably a small net loss of jobs.

. . . electricity consumers and UK taxpayers subsidised the Scottish industry by c £330m in 2009/10 over and above subsidies paid for by Scottish taxpayers and consumers.  To the extent that the Scottish industry is a success, it is reliant on the wider UK policy making framework, in particular the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme.

Research in Spain, Germany and by the EU suggests that net employment effects are negative with the likely opportunity cost, or costs associated with higher energy prices, outstripping the creation of green jobs.
An intriguing aspect is the assumption that jobs created are a net benefit rather than a net cost.  In reality efficiency results in a reduction of jobs allowing for labour to be employed effectively elsewhere.


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