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Spanish Wind, Revisited

By Robert Peltier -- April 13, 2011

Two years ago, Spain’s fixation on renewables and “green jobs” was praised by President Obama as a success story worthy of our emulation. With Obama making renewables a centerpiece of his administration with an eye toward the 2012 election, the obvious question is: How is Spain doing today?

The Initial Debate

My editorial “Spain Is Tilting at Windmills” (May 2009) presented the results of a study prepared by Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, PhD, an economics professor at King Juan Carlos University in Madrid. The report, “Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources,” released in March 2009, was a comprehensive review of the long-term effects of Spain’s renewable energy policy on jobs and the economy. In sum, the study found that for every green job created, 2.2 private industry jobs were lost, and each “green job” cost the Spanish government 571,000 euros ($790,000 today).…