How Green Jobs Destroy Good Jobs

The Pennsylvania Solar Industries Association, along with PennEnvironment are touting a solar industry sponsored study, which estimates the Commonwealth has created 6,700 solar jobs. These groups are not simply celebrating these numbers, but using them to call on the state legislature to increase solar subsidies and mandates.

Last week, Paul Chesser highlighted in his blog a good video illustrating the damage done by subsidies and mandates aimed at creating “green jobs.” The video’s focus is on the Spanish example, in which 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every “green job” created.

Spain is not alone; other countries’ experiments with green jobs have also seen overall job creation fall. The reason is simple—taxpayers have to pay higher taxes to subsidize these renewables, and pay higher electricity prices as renewable energies drive costs up.

The facts have caught on, and Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich is even looking at repealing his state’s alternative energy mandates. But, Pennsylvania legislators are likely going to face pressure from special interests groups seeking additional handouts for solar energy.

Mandating the creation of “green jobs” will be at the expense of other jobs in the state.

And in case you’ve heard renewal energy makes electricity cheaper, or is more expensive because isn’t subsidized as much as fossil fuels, checkout the table below for the facts.

Total Cost of Ownership for Electricity Generation by Source (cents/kWh)
Source 2007 2009 Change Percent of PA Electric Price (2009)
Solar PV 41.2 67.8 65% 706%
Wind 7.5 14.4 92% 150%
Scrubbed Coal 5.7 9.4 65 % 98%
Natural Gas/Oil 7.2 5.8 -19% 60%
Natural Gas/Oil Advanced 6.8 5.5 -19% 57%
PA Average Electricity Price 9.0 9.6 7%

Sources: Pennsylvania Utility Commission, AEPS Annual Reports,; Energy Information Administration Back Issues: ElectricSales, Revenue, and Price; EIA Electric Power Monthly,


Graph energy subsidies