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Obama’s Gaping Green Jobs Promise

- October 11, 2012


“In 2008 Candidate Barack Obama Promised To Create 5 Million Green Jobs.” “In 2008 candidate Barack Obama promised to create 5 million green jobs. He laid out a plan to invest $150 billion over 10 years that would advance a clean-energy economy built around biofuels, hybrid cars, low-emission coal plants, and renewable sources such as solar and wind. How many has he actually created?” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)

The Millions Of Green Energy Jobs Obama Promised Have Been Slow To Sprout. “But the millions of ‘green jobs’ Obama promised have been slow to sprout, disappointing many who had hoped that the $90 billion earmarked for clean-energy efforts in the recession-fighting federal stimulus package would ease unemployment - still above 8 percent in March.” (Andy Sullivan, “Analysis: Obama's ‘Green Jobs’ Have Been Slow To Sprout,” Reuters, 4/13/12)

“The Green Economy Is Not Proving To Be The Job-Creation Engine That Many Politicians Envisioned.” “In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream.” (Aaron Glantz, “Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises,” The New York Times, 8/18/11)

  • Clean-Technology Jobs Account For Just 2 Percent Of Employment Nationwide . “A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.” (Aaron Glantz, “Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises,” The New York Times, 8/18/11)


In 2010, Bureau Of Labor Statistics Began Tracking Green Jobs, So There’s No Way To Tell How Many Existed Before Obama’s Election. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking green jobs two years ago, but it counts only how many existed as of the end of 2010. It doesn’t keep a running total of newly created jobs, so there’s no way to tell how many existed before Obama’s election.” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)

The Brookings Institute Identified 2.7 Million Green Jobs, Most Of Which “Were Bus Drivers, Sewage Workers, And Other Types Of Work That Don’t Fit The ‘Green Jobs Of The Future’ That Obama Imagined.” “The Brookings Institution also has a tally, but it too goes only through 2010, and of the nearly 2.7 million green jobs it identifies, most were bus drivers, sewage workers, and other types of work that don’t fit the ‘green jobs of the future’ that Obama imagined.” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)

Zeroing In On Clean-Tech Jobs, Which Includes Wind Farms, Solar, Fuel-Cell, And Smart-Grid Industries, In 2010, The Reports “Shows, There Were 184,699 Such Jobs Nationwide—Up 2,642 Since The President Took Office In 2009.” “The report does zero in on cleantech, which includes the wind, solar, fuel-cell, and smart-grid industries. In 2010, Brookings shows, there were 184,699 such jobs nationwide—up 2,642 since the president took office in 2009.” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)

From The $90 Billion Set Aside In Obama’s Recovery Act, “Public Records Of The $21 Billion Spent So Far Through 19 U.S. Department Of Energy Programs Reveals 3,960 Projects That Employ 28,854 People. That’s Not 5 Million” That Obama Promised. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 set aside $90 billion in renewable energy grants and loans for a grab bag of thousands of projects—wind farms, solar installations, natural gas fueling stations, biofuel research, and a $5 billion weatherization project for low-income homes. Digging into the public records of the $21 billion spent so far through 19 U.S. Department of Energy programs reveals 3,960 projects that employ 28,854 people. That’s not 5 million.” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)

While There’s No Way To Know If The Administration’s 2010 Claim Of “Saved Or Created” 225,000 Clean-Energy Jobs Is True, “If You Take It As True And Generously Assume Similar Growth For 2011 And 2012, That’s 675,000 Jobs Created At Best—And 4,325,000 To Go.” “In November 2010, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers said federal recovery spending had ‘saved or created’ 225,000 clean-energy jobs, including ‘both the direct jobs of people involved in the construction of a particular project and also the jobs generated by the additional economic activity sparked by these projects.’ There’s no way to know whether this multiplier effect really resulted in the number the administration claims. But if you take it as true and generously assume similar growth for 2011 and 2012, that’s 675,000 jobs created at best—and 4,325,000 to go.” (Ira Boudway, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t,” Bloomberg, 10/11/12)


In 2010, Green Jobs Represent Only 2.4 Percent Of The U.S. Work Force. “I couldn’t help but think of that passage when I looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent green jobs report. According to its findings, as of 2010 there were 2.3 million private-sector workers producing environmentally friendly goods or services. Another 860,000 public sector workers also worked in those fields. In total, they represented 2.4 percent of the U.S. work force.” (Jordan Weissmann, “There Are Way Fewer Green Jobs Than You Think,” The Atlantic, 3/26/12)

“Federal And State Efforts To Stimulate Creation Of Green Jobs Have Largely Failed.” “Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.” (Aaron Glantz, “Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises,” The New York Times, 8/18/11)

  • “Job Training Programs Intended For The Clean Economy Have Also Failed To Generate Big Numbers.” “Job training programs intended for the clean economy have also failed to generate big numbers. The Economic Development Department in California reports that $59 million in state, federal and private money dedicated to green jobs training and apprenticeship has led to only 719 job placements — the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one.” (Aaron Glantz, “Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises,” The New York Times, 8/18/11)

At This Rate, The “Greening” Of The Economy Equates To Just 17 Jobs Per $1 Million Spent. “‘If you took the government’s stimulus program on green activities, you get 17 jobs more or less per $1 million of expenditure,’ said economist Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, whom the Commerce Department hired to run the numbers.” (Ari Shapiro, “Is Obama’s Bet On Green Jobs Risky?,” National Public Radio, 6/13/11)

62 Percent Of Those Trained In Skills Such As Installing Solar Panels Remain Jobless. “Meanwhile, $15 million went to train workers in skills such as solar-panel installation, but 62% of that program’s alumni remain jobless, according to the state Employment Development Department.” (Vauhini Vara, “Red Flags For Green Energy,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/11)

  • In California, Only 1,104 Of The 2,931 Clean-Energy Workers, Who Were Trained In Skills Such As Building Energy-Efficient Houses, Have Found Work. “The sluggishness of the overall economy and slow adoptions of energy upgrades also have hurt training program for clean-energy workers, which combined recovery funds with state money to train 4,719 people in skills such as building energy-efficient houses since January 2010. Of the 2,931 who exited the program as of mid-September, only 1,104 found work, according to the state Employment Development Department.” (Vauhini Vara, “Red Flags For Green Energy,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/11)


First Solar

“First Solar Was The Biggest S&P 500 Loser In 2011 And Its CEO Was Cut Loose - Even As Taxpayers Were Forced To Back A Whopping $3 Billion In Company Loans.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Tax Dollars Backing Some ‘Risky’ Energy Projects,” CBS News, 1/13/12)

  • “The Federal Government Provided $3 Billion In Loan Guarantees To The Tempe, Ariz., Company, The Most Of Any Recipient.” (James Nash And Jim Snyder, “First Solar Boosts Political Donations, Wins Favor,” Bloomberg News, 12/28/11)
  • Taxpayer-Backed First Solar Shares Fell 11 Percent Due To Flammable And Electrical Shock-Inducing Products. “Shares of First Solar Inc fell sharply after a brokerage downgraded the stock, citing product quality issues that were later confirmed by the company. The issue came to light when Avian Securities LLC said problems related to the junction box on some of First Solar’s panels could potentially cause electrical shock or fire. A spokesman for First Solar, the largest U.S. solar panel maker, confirmed the problem but said it would not have a significant impact on earnings. Shares of the company, valued at about $1.96 billion as of Thursday, fell more than 11 percent to $19.68 on the Nasdaq on Friday.” (Sunayan Bhattacharje, “First Solar Slides On Concerns Over Product Reliability,” Reuters, 10/5/12)


Solyndra, Obama’s Poster-Child For “American Ingenuity And Dynamism,” Declared Bankruptcy. “The California-based Solyndra, which employed more than 1,000 people, declared bankruptcy earlier this month. President Obama visited the company in May of 2010, saying it was a prime example of ‘American ingenuity and dynamism.’” (Alexander Mooney, “White House Beats Back Claim It Pressured Loan To Now-Bankrupt Company.” CNN, 9/14/11)

  • “Solyndra Was The Epitome Of What The Government Envisioned To Be Our Green Tech Future…” (David Louie, “Fremont Solar Panel Maker Solyndra Scales Back Expansion Plans,” The Oakland Tribune, 11/4/10)
  • Solyndra Was Offered The First Recovery Act Loan Guarantee, Receiving $535 Million From Taxpayers In March 2009, And Went Bankrupt In August 2011. (Solyndra, “Solyndra Offered $535 Million Loan Guarantee By The U.S. Department Of Energy,” Press Release, 3/20/09; Joe Stephens And Carol Leonnig, “House Republicans Step Up Solyndra Investigation,” The Washington Post, 9/1/11; George Avalos, “Fremont Solar Tech Firm Solyndra To Shut Down, Lay Off 1,100 Workers,” The San Jose Mercury News, 8/31/11)
  • A Total Of 1,861 Workers Were Laid Off By Solyndra As It Went Bankrupt. “Since September 1, 2010 (impact date), an estimated 1,861 workers have been separated from the firm. This total includes an estimated 649 temporary workers as well as leased workers from West Valley, Aerotek, Oxford Global, GES and Lighthouse Management. Most of these separations occurred at the time of the shut-down of the Fremont, CA facility on August 31, 2011. An additional 85 workers are threatened with separation as the company’s operations wind down.” (Employment And Training Administration, “Investigative Report TA-W-80,410; Solyndra LLC,” Department Of Labor, 9/12/11)

Abound Solar

Abound Solar Was Given A $400 Million DOE Loan Guarantee For “Plans To Open A Massive Solar-Panel Plant In Tipton,” Indiana. “Abound Solar Inc., a Loveland, Colo.-based manufacturer that plans to open a massive solar-panel plant in Tipton, has raised $110 million from investors and closed on a $400 million government loan guarantee to increase its production capacity, the company announced Tuesday.” (“Abound Solar Completes Financing For Tipton Plant,” Indianapolis Business Journal, 12/15/10)

  • In July 2012, Abound Solar Announced It Would File For Bankruptcy And Lay Off 125 Employees. “Abound Solar Filed For Bankruptcy On Monday And Will Liquidate, Becoming The Latest U.S. Solar Panel Company To Fold Despite Government Support. Stiff competition from China and subsidy cuts in Europe have created a steep fall in panel prices, sending solar companies, including Solyndra LLC and Evergreen Solar Inc (ESLRQ.PK), into bankruptcy protection. Abound Solar, which filed for a Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, had said last week that it planned to shut down and would lay off 125 employees.” (Caroline Humer, “Abound Solar Files To Liquidate in Bankruptcy,” Reuters, 7/2/12)


The Wall Street Journal: A Year After Receiving A $118 Million Grant, Ener1 Inc. Posted Its Earnings For Fiscal 2010 At A $165 Million Loss. “Following on Solyndra’s great success comes Ener1 Inc., a lithium-ion battery maker also promoted by the White House. President Obama gave the company’s subsidiary, EnerDel, a shout out in August 2009, in a speech in which he announced $2.4 billion in grants ‘to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by the next generation of battery technologies.’ EnerDel snagged a $118 million grant, and Vice President Joe Biden toured one of its two Indianapolis-area factories as recently as January, citing it as proof that government isn’t ‘just creating new jobs—but sparking whole new industries.’ He didn’t say profitable industries. Ener1 was founded in 2002, went public in 2008 and has never turned a profit. In August, it restated its earnings for fiscal 2010 at a $165 million loss—nearly $100 million more than previously reported. On September 27 it ousted its CEO, and its share price yesterday was 27 cents—a 95% decline from its 52-week high of $5.95 in January. Nasdaq is threatening to delist the stock, and Ener1 disclosed in a mid-August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is ‘in the process of determining whether the company has sufficient liquidity to fund its operations.’” (Editorial, “Your Cash For Their Clunkers,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/20/11)

  • In January 2012, Ener1, An Energy Storage Company That Received A $118.5 Million Stimulus Grant, Filed For Bankruptcy. “An Indiana-based energy-storage company that received a $118.5 million stimulus grant from the Energy Department filed for bankruptcy Thursday. Ener1 is asking a federal bankruptcy court in New York to approve a plan to restructure the company’s debt and infuse $81 million in equity funding.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Obama-Backed Electric Car Battery-Maker Files For Bankruptcy,” The Hill’s E2 Wire, 1/26/12)

Beacon Power

Beacon Power Was Awarded A $43 Million Federal Loan Guarantee In August 2010 To Build A 20-Megawatt Flywheel Energy-Storage Plant In Stephentown, NY. “In August 2010, Beacon Power was awarded a $43 million federal loan guarantee that the Tyngsboro, Mass., company used to put in place a 20-megawatt flywheel energy-storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y. The plant takes excess electric energy from the power grid and converts it into the energy of a spinning wheel, releasing it into the grid when needed. By June 30, the project had drawn down $38 million of the loan. Beacon also qualified for a $23 million grant from the DOE.” (Yuliya Chernova, “Renewable-Energy Firms Facing Financial Hurdles,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/11)

  • Beacon Power Filed For Bankruptcy On Oct. 30. “A Massachusetts company that received a $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee last year filed for bankruptcy Sunday, a step certain to fuel criticism of federal green energy financing in the wake of the solar company Solyndra’s collapse. Beacon Power Corp., which develops energy storage systems, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.” (Ben German, “Second Energy Department-Backed Company Goes Bankrupt,” The Hill, 10/31/11)

Evergreen Solar

Evergreen Solar Inc. Received $5.3 Million In Stimulus Grants. “Evergreen Solar Inc., reportedly received $5.3 million of stimulus cash through a state grant to install 11,000 photovoltaic panels installed at 11 colleges and universities, a recycling facility and an education center in Massachusetts.” (“Solyndra Not Sole Firm to Hit Rock Bottom Despite Stimulus Funding,” Fox News , 9/15/11)

  • In August 2011, Evergreen Solar Inc. Filed For Bankruptcy. “Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR), a maker of electricity generating solar panels, filed bankruptcy with plans to sell itself at an auction in order to pay creditors owed $485.6 million.” (Steven Church, “Evergreen Solar Seeks Bankruptcy With Plans TO Sell Itself,” Bloomberg, 8/15/11)

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