By Andrew Orlowski
Posted in Environment, 17th June 2010 15:03 GMT
Dead broke Spain can’t afford to prop up renewables anymore. The Spanish government is cutting the numbers of hours in a day it’s prepared to pay for “clean” energy.
Estimates put the investment in solar energy in Spain at €18bn – but the investment was predicated, as it is with all flakey renewables, on taxpayer subsidies. With the country’s finances in ruins, making sacrifices for the Earth Goddess Gaia is an option Spain can no longer afford. Incredibly, Spain pays more in subsidies for renewables than the total cost of energy production for the country. It leaves industry with bills 17 per cent higher than the EU average.
“We feel cheated”, Tomas Diaz of the Spanish Photovoltaic Industry Association told Bloomberg. But it’s undoubtedly taxpayers who have been cheated the most.
“Sustainability” has been the magic word that extracted large sums of public subsidy that couldn’t otherwise have been rationally justified using traditional cost/benefit measures. Spain paid 11 times more for “green” energy than it did for fossil fuels. The public makes up the difference. The renewables bandwagon is like a hopeless football team that finishes bottom of the league each year – but claims it’s too special ever to be relegated.
For sure, you can create a temporary jobs boom, but these are artificial, and the exercise is as useful as paying people to dig a hole in the ground, then fill it in. Spanish economist Professor Gabriel Calzada, at the University of Madrid estimated that each green job had cost the country $774,000.
Worse, a “green” job costs 2.2 jobs that might otherwise have been created – a figure Calzada derived by dividing the average subsidy per worker by the average productivity per worker. Industry, which can’t afford to pay the higher fuel bills, simply moves elsewhere.