Empleos Verdes

"No es fácil ser verde". La rana René ("It's not easy being green". Kermit the frog)

Seemingly, it is also hard for Foxes to be green. Shannon Bream at least seems to be having a tough time of it right now, and recently pitched a Spanish study showing that "for every green job created [in Spain], 2.2 jobs are lost", casting doubt on President Obama's green energy plans. As my colleague Pete Altman describes, even the business minded Wall Street Journal raised serious doubts about the validity of the study.

But another great irony was lost in the story, which I'd like to point out. The very policies and companies that have created green jobs in Spain have also created green jobs here in the U.S. How? It all starts with Spain's renewable electricity tariff.

Spain supports renewables through a feed-in tariff, which is considered among the most successful in Europe. From very modest beginnings, wind farms now abound in the Spanish countryside, and the country has the third largest installed capacity in the world. The market leader in wind turbines in Spain, Gamesa, fueled its growth on the back of this tariff to supply the domestic market - a classic example of business creation as a result of government policies.

Gamesa has now taken its success abroad, supplying turbines to 20 countries in total, and employing over 7,000 people in 2009. 300 or so of those are in Cambria County, PA. According to a report from the Spanish Trade Commission, Gamesa has said that it plans to bring all its wind turbine blade manufacturing activity to the company's plant in Pennsylvania by spring. Call me simplistic but, in the midst of a recession, we should be thankful for this and for the Spanish policies that drove the development of this industry.

Is it too much of a stretch to see that similar policies here in the U.S. that drive low carbon technologies, will also boost U.S. companies to create U.S. jobs? Is it not rather obvious that if the U.S. does not lead in this arena, other countries and their companies will? Why should Pennsylvania get its jobs from Spain?

Fortunately, President Obama does not suffer from the angst that plagues Kermit. We look forward to more good, stable, green jobs, and not the same old plate Breaming with Prof. Calzada's libertarian paella.