Sunday 20 May 2012

Green jobs

Environmental preachers like to spruik the idea of "green jobs". Most people probably think that means lots of people running environmentally friendly tourism ventures, or bike shops, or planting trees west of Tamworth.

Actually, the only green jobs that I can find have been generated in the finance industry. You know - that evil bastion of capitalist greed.

Consider TFS Green:

TFS is one of the largest and most successful energy brokers in the World and is part of the Tradition Group, which employs over 2,200 people worldwide. Founded in 1985, TFS has built-up a global business in the power, gas, coal, weather and oil markets and since 2001 has been prominent in the renewable energy and emissions markets in Europe, the US and Asia Pacific. In 2005 TFS began building a presence in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VER) which has led to a global team of 12 brokers now specializing in these, the newest of the environmental markets.

TFS Green, the TFS environmental team, spans the globe, with offices and representatives across London, New York, Stamford, Beijing, Sydney, Melbourne, Manila and Frankfurt. In addition to having environmental staff in these offices, TFS Green has strong links with their other TFS offices worldwide in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Dubai, Houston and Copenhagen. TFS Green is therefore well-placed to structure successful transactions and provide advisory services across the entire spectrum of the environmental markets.

From reading  this, it appears that "green jobs" means working for a massive multinational financial conglomerate, sitting in an air conditioned office in front of energy gobbling computers and pushing electrons back and forth. I can't see any difference between what they are doing and say Goldman Sachs. 

Why isn't the Occupy movement going after this lot?


Rob said...

If you want coal power that's fine but don't expect me to subsidise your choice. The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering studied the health impacts of coal fired power in 2009 and estimated that coal power results in $2.6 billion dollars in Medicare costs, so if I produce my own renewable power or live in Tasmania where over 95% of our power comes from renewable sources why should we subsidise the costs of your dirty power sources. There are similar costs to the environment and loss of productive land to open cut mines, all of which are externalised costs of ocal mining and power generation subsidised by non users. The life expectancy of Australian coal miners and power station workers is 15 years lower then the national average, that is nothing short of a disgrace.

I'm glad you have acknowledged that renewable subsidies are well under half of what you suggested they were just yesterday. You did however gloss over the fact that it will be cut by a third again in just 5 weeks and then halved in 12 months. The rapid price reductions have exceeded policy makers expectations and I would fully support the multiplier being scrapped altogether in July as even unsubsidised solar is now competitive with retail power for rooftop installations.

Finally I would ask why you consider grid parity being when solar rooftop can generate at the wholesale coal rate? What does a homeowner considering solar care what their utility pays for it's power wholesale? Clearly that system will offset power bought at the retail rate. Grid parity's definition changes depending on whether you are talking about domestic rooftop installations or utility scale installations. I'd also suggest you have a look at what the wholesale price of power is in the mid afternoon when solar is producing at its peak. It is usually about 30-40c/kwh WHOLESALE, that means in the mid afternoon every generator receives that rate even coal regardless of their generation costs, some afternoon that wholesale rate spikes to several dollars per kwh. Utilities get to buy rooftop pv output at the retail rate during the afternoon when they would often have to pay several times more for any other power available to them, this is referred to as the merit order effect and in countries with larger solar output is resulting in a fall in wholesale price in the mid afternoon or a reverse of the normal trend.

Rob said...

Sorry that was a reply to you solar post, replied to wrong thread.