Warren Martin, Executive
Director K.O.G.R.F. — Kansas Strong
President Biden’s administration has made it clear they want to dictate a transformation in America away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources of energy. They are right in the fact that it will create more jobs, but the consumer will pay the price for the change.
The executive actions to shutter the Keystone XL pipeline, end oil and gas production on federal lands, re-enter the Paris Agreement and other environmental policies will eliminate thousands of jobs immediately. The administration hopes those jobs will be replaced by even more jobs in the renewable sector, even if those jobs are not in place yet, nor is the replacement of the energy lost. This will inevitably lead to an immediate increase in energy costs for all consumers.
What about the workers laid off recently (and potentially in weeks to come)? “The answer is that we are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good paying union jobs,” stated Sec. of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, “even if they might be different ones.” Those “different” jobs he talked about are primarily in solar.
The question no one seems to be asking is: Why would renewable energy create more jobs? This is the vital question every consumer should be asking. Jobs are a good thing for the employee that has the job. To the consumer, they are a cost of production that increases the cost of the product.
Mark Perry, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, calculated how many workers it took to create 7,745 megawatt hours of electric power. He found that it took one worker in the coal industry to create it. Perry stated in his findings, “It’s a common mistake of politicians and the media to treat jobs as an economic benefit, when in fact, jobs are an economic cost or price of production.”
In the United States, there has been a major shift away from coal to cleaner burning natural gas. In fact, this has been a major contributor to the U.S. leading all member countries of the Paris Agreement in cutting emissions. No other country in the agreement even comes close to the reduction of CO2 that we have achieved. China and India have gone the other way and have significantly increased the amount of CO2 they release. Perhaps we don’t need the Paris Agreement, perhaps we need an American Agreement where other nations meet our standards.
The shift from natural gas has been good for our country. However, it comes at a cost. Perry found that while one worker in coal could produce 7,745 megawatt hours of electric power, with natural gas it takes two workers. Or twice the cost in wages to produce the same power. This has a minimal impact on consumers and greatly reduces environmental impact.
Perry found the cost of production for 7,745 megawatt hours of electric power is one worker in coal, two workers in natural gas and a mind-blowing 79 workers in solar. That’s right! It takes 79 workers (79 salaries) to produce the same amount of electric power as it takes for two workers producing it with natural gas.
Every state that has provided more than 5% of electricity production from renewable sources of energy has seen a marked increase in electricity costs. Kansas is no exception. We have seen our rates increase by more than 50% since 2007.
The Biden administration is right that renewables will produce more jobs. What they are not telling us is the consumer will pay the price for those jobs in increased electricity costs or in taxes for subsidies to renewable energy companies.