Energy: When even Chuck Schumer is upset with the White House, you know something’s amiss. In this case, it’s news that efforts to boost wind power with taxpayer stimulus dollars are filling foreign coffers and creating foreign jobs.
According to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Investment Act has been spent on wind power. The goal was to further energy independence while creating American jobs. It has done neither.
Of the money spent, according to the report, nearly 80% has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.
“In all due respect, I remind (Energy Secretary Steven Chu) there is a four-letter word associated with the stimulus — J-O-B-S,” Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y., told ABC News, which interviewed him for a report done in coordination with the workshop’s investigation. “Very few jobs here, lots of jobs in China.”
The only good thing one can say is that at least China is a real place, as opposed to the phantom ZIP codes and congressional districts in which the administration has claimed to have created jobs.
But how does buying wind turbines made in China create energy independence or create jobs?
Last October, on the day the workshop first reported on this story, a consortium of U.S. and Chinese companies announced a deal to build a $1.5 billion wind farm in Texas, using imported Chinese turbines.
The project is expected to create some temporary construction jobs in America. Some 2,000 manufacturing jobs will be created in China. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Secretary Chu wrote that the point of the grant program was “ensuring America leads the world in creating jobs in manufacturing the parts that go into wind farms” and even export components to foreign wind farms. It hasn’t worked out that way.
Of the 1,807 turbines erected on 28 wind farms receiving grants, foreign-owned manufacturers built 1,219, according to the workshop report. The installation of these turbines may have created as many as 6,838 manufacturing jobs overseas.
When the American Wind Energy Association released its 2009 year-end report on Jan. 26, CEO Denise Bode acknowledged that despite billions in stimulus spending, there had actually been a net loss in manufacturing jobs. Bode told USA Today she estimates the manufacturing job loss at 1,500.
Last March, a cargo of steel towers was unloaded at the port of Vancouver, Wash. They were made in Vietnam for a Danish wind company and destined for a Portuguese wind farm in Indiana that got a stimulus grant.
Read more here.