Reminder: Spain’s Green Disaster a Lesson for America

By Dale Hurd, CBN

BARCELONA, Spain — It was just last year that President Obama was touring Solyndra headquarters and telling us green technology was the future:

“The future is here. We are poised to transform the ways we power our homes and our cars and our businesses,” Obama said.

The president said America had better get on board or else fall behind the rest of the world in the growth of renewable or “green” technology.

Spain’s Colossal Failure

One the nations he held up as an example for America’s green technology effort was Spain.

However, President Obama may like Spain’s green technology program, but the Spanish — not so much. One study has declared it a colossal failure.

The Spanish recently threw out their socialist government over their terrible economy and a 22 percent unemployment rate.

Green technology was supposed to be Spain’s path to more jobs and a cleaner more prosperous future. It wasn’t.

“Politicians told us some years ago that they found a new way of investing or doing public investing in a new sector, in the renewable energies, that would create a sort of new economy with new jobs, green jobs, so called green jobs,” Dr. Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, with King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, said.

But what the Spanish got was a big helping of a Solyndra style business debacle: a lot of taxpayer money down the drain and jobs that cost a fortune to create.

A Job Killer

Calzada, an economist, studied Spain’s green technology program and found that each green job created in Spain cost Spanish taxpayers $770,000. Each Wind Industry job cost $1.3 million to create.

“President Zapatero, for example, when he came in to power, said he knew, ‘he knew’ that solar energy was the future,” Calzada said. “He ‘knew’ this, so he put all the public money and investment into this model.”

But Calzada’s study found that for every four jobs created by Spain’s expensive green technology program, nine jobs were lost.

Electricity generated was so expensive that each “green” megawatt installed in the power grid destroyed five jobs elsewhere in the economy by raising business costs.

Unsafe Conditions

Marta Sabina lives on the outskirts of Barcelona in one of Spain’s new green technology apartment buildings.

It has been a nightmare for this mother of three young children. Her toilet uses recycled water with chemicals in it.

She said it’s unsafe for her children and often looks no different from toilet water that hasn’t been flushed.

“A lot of times I am coming to the bathroom and I am pushing all the time because the water is dirty and I don’t know if it’s the kids because they have not pushed or if because it’s the water,” Sabina said. “Sometimes it smells very bad and it’s very dirty and it’s not for kids.”

Sabina has also had to heat her family’s hot water on the stove because the building’s solar water heater didn’t work for three years.

Breaking the Bank

Spain’s green technology dream was costing the nation more than $15 billion a year before the government had to slash it because it had failed and Spain was going broke.

The Obama Administration’s 2007 stimulus package included $80 billion for green jobs.

“Green energy is not ready for prime time,” Seton Motley, president of Less Government, said. “It’s not ready for private sector production.”

“Everything that requires government money means there’s no market for it,” he explained. “Because if there was a market for it, there’d be plenty of private capital to invest in it and people saying, ‘Let’s go forward.'”

The market didn’t like General Motors, which faced bankruptcy. Then Washington came to the rescue. Uncle Sam bought 500-million shares of General Motors, which have since lost $15 billion in value.

“I can’t think of, off the top of my head, a bigger loser than GM, as far as most money in one place that’s going down the tubes,” Motley said.

Environmental Dream Buster

The Spanish could have taught the Americans a thing or two about government money down the tubes.

Spain spent billions on an environmental dream that helped make their economy worse and added to the nation’s already crushing government debt.

And now Spain’s future is looking more like what Greece is facing.

Spain Admits “Green Jobs” Program A Disaster (2010 link)

Eventually, no matter hard one tries to wish it away, reality will smack you in the face. Hard.

As predicted was inevitable, today the Spanish newspaper La Gaceta runs with a full-page article fessing up to the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” boondoggle, which happens to be the one naively cited by President Obama no less than eight times as his model for the United States. It is now out there as a bust, a costly disaster that has come undone in Spain to the point that even the Socialists admit it, with the media now in full pursuit. […]

La Gaceta boldly exposes the failure of the Spanish renewable policy and how Obama has been following it. The headline screams: “Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster.”

According to the Spanish government, the policy has been such a failure that electricity prices are skyrocketing and the economy is losing jobs as a result (emphasis added):

The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute. Besides that, the official document is almost a copy point by point of the one that led to Calzada being denounced [lit. “vetoed”] by the Spanish Embassy in an act in the U.S. Congress.

The presentation recognizes explicitly that “the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies.” In fact, the increase in the extra costs of this industry explains more than 120% of the variation in the bill and has prevented the reduction in the costs of conventional electricity production to be reflected on the bills of the citizens.

[Translation of Spanish article provided by Chris Horner]

Despite these facts, which quite frankly have been known for quite some time, the Obama administration is still planning to move ahead with its own policy based explicitly on the Spanish one. As Horner states:

That fight [over the “green economy” policy] begins anew next week with the likely Senate vote on S.J. Res. 26, the Murkowski resolution to disapprove of the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to impose much of this agenda through the regulatory back door without Congress ever having authorized such an enormous economic intervention.

Just as with the ObamaCare boondoggle that was rammed into law despite its (a) known problems that are only now being admitted to, (b) real costs that are only now becoming evident, and (c) unacceptability to the vast majority of Americans, Obama is going full steam ahead with this “green economy” nonsense. Regardless of facts or reality, this administration is dead set on re-creating America in the image it likes best (i.e. European social democracy), regardless of the costs. So long as we end up with all the bells and whistles that are the hallmarks of our European betters (e.g. universal health care, carbon taxes, depleted military, enhanced welfare state, overwhelming government controls of the economy, sufficiently apologetic “transnationalist” foreign policy), the actual results of that transformation are unimportant. We may end up an economic basket case a la Greece, but hey, at least we’ll have all the nanny-state accouterments necessary to commiserate with the cool European kids.

It’s gotten to the point where pointing out that the emperor has no clothes only results in naked orgies of Utopian spending. This cannot end well.

H/T Tom Nelson

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