The International Renewable Energy Agency of the US Bureau of Statistics provided employment data for three categories–Solar; Oil and Gas Extraction; and Coal Mining. Bloomberg drew a chart of employment over the period of 2012 to 2015. That chart is shown below:
Stanislav Jakuba looked at the employment in each of these three endeavours to compare electricity production versus manpower in his posting “Renewable Energy: High Jobs, Little Power (inefficiency personified”. He offered this analysis:
Ever wondered why has our standard of living not been improving?
The upward-aiming line in the above chart indicates one reason: growing employment in the renewable-energy sector. That employment contributes a miniscule amount to power production, and it does so at a dreadfully high operating cost.
Here are the numbers.
As illustrated, 200,000 people work in the solar industry (Photo-voltaic and Concentrated Solar Power combined), and they enabled the generation of 3.0 GW in 2015, which comes to 15 kW per employee. The down-sloping lines, combined, represent the 400,000 employees in the fossil fuel industry.
Assuming that about a half of those are needed just to supply fuel to generate the 310 GW electricity reported for that year, then the remaining 200,000 employees were responsible for 1550 kW per employee.
In other words, one employee in the fossil fuel industry produces 1550 kW, while it takes 100 employees in the solar business to produce roughly that amount.
Solar is thus the most expensive source of electricity. Plus, its output varies daily, sometime randomly (because of clouds and storms) and always intermittently (because of nights). Its inexhaustibility parallels the abundance of nuclear fuel, but the latter provides cheap and steady electricity, as well as heat, and is no less “clean” than solar.
The true cost of renewable energy is presently covered by subsidies drawn from our taxes, from Government borrowing abroad, and from various fees attached to our monthly utility bills.”
Jakuba has some addition thoughts on this topic in his posting which can be read by clicking here.
I keep reading that solar and wind are now competitive with natural gas and coal. Show me the cost number when they remove all the subsidies and when they include operating cost and investment for the backup fossil fuel generated power–because these renewables not reliable supplies.
I am not sure that I completely agree with the comparison technique, but they do have one heck of a lot of manpower for such a puny output of electrical power.
The politicians said these renewable projects would create jobs. They sure were right about that. Although, it looks like they carried it too far.