Friday, December 5, 2008

Does Green Energy Add 5 Million Jobs? Potent Pitch, but Numbers Are Squishy

Calls for a clean-energy system in the U.S. have long met with sticker shock. Now, the cost of making the transition -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- is being touted as a selling point.

President-elect Barack Obama and his energy advisers have been making the case that a multibillion-dollar government investment in everything from wind turbines to a "smart" electrical grid is just what's needed to help revive the economy. The lure is millions of government-subsidized "green jobs."

On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama argued that spending $150 billion over the next decade to boost energy efficiency would help create five million jobs. The jobs would include insulation installers, to make houses more energy-efficient, wind-turbine builders, to displace coal-fired electricity, and construction workers, to build greener buildings and upgrade the electrical grid.

The numbers are debated by the Obama advisers themselves, and are likely to spark debate when Congress considers a stimulus package including green jobs. But a big government push, focused on jobs, may represent the best chance in years for renewable energy and energy efficiency to take root in the U.S., a voracious energy consumer. click here for more info

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