A couple of months ago there was a study released on how Spain’s efforts to create “green jobs” actually destroyed jobs. The study by a professor at King Juan Carlos University was used widely as proof that the U.S. plans to promote renewable energy would guarantee disaster.
There have been a number of challenges to the study since then. When Miguel Sebastían, Spain’s minister of industry, tourism and trade was in town for the Spain – U.S. Business Sustainability Conference recently, the Chronicle’s Jena Moreno asked him about the study:
Q: Gabriel Calzada Álvarez was the research director of a study criticizing Spain’s renewable energy industry for causing job losses. Is that true and is his university, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, well-known in Spain?
A: It’s a small private university, which is not very relevant. It has a nice name but not very much content. I am an economist myself. I know all Spanish economists, of course. I have never heard any article by this guy. He compares the destruction of jobs in the housing sector, which has been because of the crisis, to the increase in the employment of the renewable energy sector in the last few years. He has linked two independent things. It is a political issue.
Q: The study also talked about the high cost of renewable energy for consumers. Is it more expensive?
A: It is true that renewable energy is more expensive now. You have to include all the advantages in the long run. The technological advances in renewable energies require you to start from a high cost, but with research and development, the costs are reduced. The cost of wind power has come down dramatically in Spain. Now, wind power is almost equal in cost to the average cost of energy from nonrenewable generation.
A webcast of the Spain – U.S. conference can be found here.