Aaargh! Stop, the pain, the pain….

Jonny Porritt is still claiming that the creation of jobs by various green schemes is a benefit of such schemes, not a cost!

Big emphasis in his campaign on jobs – and I’ve no doubt that’s going to become a huge issue here in the UK too. The Prime Minister himself is clearly alert to that reality, and liberally peppers his various energy–related speeches with references to the number of jobs that will be created in promoting different strategic priorities.

Sob…sob. Look, does any economist actually know the Baronet? Can they go and give him a good going over with the cluebat?

Much better to work with the facts rather ditzy dreams. Where I am in the South West, for instance, there are now 2,900 FTE jobs in the renewable energy sector, up from 1,140 in 2005 – equivalent to an annual growth rate of around 37%. This amounts to £215 million of Growth Value Added today, up from £34 million in 2005. And that’s just the start – if the Government gets really serious about renewables, as indicated for the first time in the new draft Renewables Strategy.

Arrrggggh!

Seriously, is he trying to equate value added with the number of people employed? We can employ people to dig holes and fill them again but that doesn\’t add value now, does it?

In fact, given that all those jobs in the renewable sector have to be subsidised, it\’s entirely possible that there is value destruction by creating those jobs, not value added.

If it were some random Old Etonian holding these absurd views it wouldn\’t matter…..there\’s enough barking mad Old Etonians to go around, after all.

But this is the man in charge of the Sustainable Development Commission.

We\’re doomed I tell you, we\’re doomed.

6 thoughts on “Jonny Porritt”

  1. It would be worth noting that, to the Government, a job is not a cost: the Government is effectively a shareholder in a person, entitled (ahem) to (let’s say) 50% of the money earned by that person. Thus from the Government’s perspective, a job is a fantastic revenue-generating thing, so fantastic it’s worth subsidising.

  2. This is not Tim’s point though. He is assuming that everyone employed in these jobs already has one, so the government is already getting its share.

  3. It would be interesting to have an audit of those 2900 workers cited as to what the jobs consist of and if the workers were otherwise employed previously. In the USA, just considering windfarms, almost all of the jobs “created” in maintenance, operation, and installation went to workers previously employed by electrical utilities or are transfers from other utility operations if the farm is owned by a utility. One effect has been to increase the already large lack of utility linemen and operators. The farms do seem to require more personnel per Mw of capacity compared to a coal or nuke generating plant and the maintenance costs and manhours required by the wind turbines are turning out to be several times that of a thermal plant per Kwh generated. So, there may be more jobs there on a per-unit basis. Of course, that also increases the cost difference between the wind turbines and thermal on an energy generated basis.

  4. So, there may be more jobs there on a per-unit basis. Of course, that also increases the cost difference between the wind turbines and thermal on an energy generated basis.

    Not in principle – depends on the capex. Agreed that it probably will in practice.

  5. “This is not Tim’s point though. He is assuming that everyone employed in these jobs already has one, so the government is already getting its share.”

    That’s quite an assumption. But in any case, I don’t mean to undermine Tim’s point. I just want to point out that from a Government minister’s perspective, jobs are always a Good Thing (most especially when someone else is paying the costs). Anyone close to Government gets infected by this perspective. It takes an employer , who has to find the cash to meet the payroll every month, to indicate otherwise.

  6. I think the take-home point is that Green economics is an oxymoron. They really, really don’t have a clue.

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