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Green Jobs Lost As Green Subsidies Dry Up–But Elon Musk Set To Make Billions From Californian Taxpayers

July 19, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The crazy world of renewable subsidies just goes from bad to worse:



Up to 100 solar PV firms in Japan could face bankruptcy this year, with more than double the number of firms going bust in the first half of this year than the same period in 2016.


According to corporate credit research company Teikoku Databank, which surveys companies across various industries and has produced its third report on solar PV company bankruptcies, 50 companies in Japan’s solar sector have already gone out of business in the first six months of 2017.

While the market overall has rapidly expanded from the launch of the feed-in tariff (FiT) in July 2012, Teikoku Databank acknowledged that there has been a slowdown in deployment in the past couple of years as the government successively made cuts of 10% or more on an annual basis to the premium prices paid for solar energy fed into the grid.




TILLSONBURG – The loss of 340 jobs at a factory that makes blades for wind turbines could be harbinger of troubles ahead in Ontario’s green-energy industry, a leading analyst says.

Siemens Canada announced Tuesday it’s closing its Tillsonburg plant, one of four Ontario green-energy factories set up under a controversial, multi-billion-dollar deal with Korean industrial giant Samsung.

The closing of one of the town’s largest employers came after weeks of nervous speculation.

But energy analyst Tom Adams said Ontario’s green-energy industry could be in for a rough ride if it doesn’t lay its hands on orders from outside Ontario, arguing the provincial market is saturated with wind and solar electricity brought online since the Liberal government plunged headlong into green energy in 2009.

I think it was always pretty obvious that whatever jobs were going to arise from the Green Energy Act were all temporary or almost all temporary,” Adams said, referencing the provincial law that paved the way for big wind farms in Ontario under contracts paying energy giants more than consumers pay for power.

Samsung had no history in renewable energy before they came to Ontario. They came only for the subsidies, and when the subsidies dry up, they’ll disappear as quick as they landed,” said Adams, an independent energy and environmental advisor and researcher.

In 2010, four plants to make parts for wind and solar energy farms were set up under the Samsung deal between the company and the province to generate power for Ontario and create green-energy jobs.





Not a single Tesla was sold in the country in April.

Following Hong Kong’s decision to reduce incentives for electric vehicles, sales of Tesla vehicles in the country plummeted. The local government slashed a tax break for electric vehicles on April 1, which resulted in no Model S or Model X deliveries during the whole month. Data from Hong Kong’s Transportation Department also reveals only five privately owned electric vehicles were sold in May.

For a comparison, in March alone a total of 2,939 Tesla cars were registered, almost double the result of March 2016. During the first quarter of this year, new registrations were approximately 3,700.




The California state Assembly passed a $3-billion subsidy program for electric vehicles, dwarfing the existing program. The bill is now in the state Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated if he’d sign what is ostensibly an effort to put EV sales into high gear, but below the surface appears to be a Tesla bailout.

Tesla will soon hit the limit of the federal tax rebates, which are good for the first 200,000 EVs sold in the US per manufacturer beginning in December 2009 (IRS explanation). In the second quarter after the manufacturer hits the limit, the subsidy gets cut in half, from $7,500 to $3,750; two quarters later, it gets cut to $1,875. Two quarters later, it goes to zero.

Given Tesla’s ambitious US sales forecast for its Model 3, it will hit the 200,000 vehicle limit in 2018, after which the phase-out begins. A year later, the subsidies are gone. Losing a $7,500 subsidy on a $35,000 car is a huge deal. No other EV manufacturer is anywhere near their 200,000 limit. Their customers are going to benefit from the subsidy; Tesla buyers won’t.

This could crush Tesla sales. Many car buyers are sensitive to these subsidies. For example, after Hong Kong rescinded a tax break for EVs effective in April, Tesla sales in April dropped to zero. The good people of Hong Kong will likely start buying Teslas again, but it shows that subsidies have a devastating impact when they’re pulled.

That’s what Tesla is facing next year in the US.

In California, the largest EV market in the US, 2.7% of new vehicles sold in the first quarter were EVs, up from 0.4% in 2012, according to the California New Dealers Association. California is Tesla’s largest market. Something big needs to be done to help the Bay Area company, which has lost money every single year of its ten years of existence. And taxpayers are going to be shanghaied into doing it.

To make this more palatable, you have to dress this up as something where others benefit too, though the biggest beneficiary would be Tesla because these California subsidies would replace the federal subsidies when they’re phased out.

It would be a rebate handled at the dealer, not a tax credit on the tax return. And it could reach “up to $30,000 to $40,000” per EV, state Senator Andy Vidak, a Republican from Hanford, explained in an emailed statement.

This is how the taxpayer-funded rebates in the “California Electric Vehicle Initiative” (AB1184) would work, according to the Mercury News:

The [California Air Resources Board] would determine the size of a rebate based on equalizing the cost of an EV and a comparable gas-powered car. For example, a new, $40,000 electric vehicle might have the same features as a $25,000 gas-powered car. The EV buyer would receive a $7,500 federal rebate, and the state would kick in an additional $7,500 to even out the bottom line.

And for instance, a $100,000 Tesla might be deemed to have the same features as a $65,000 gas-powered car. The rebate would cover the difference, minus the federal rebate (so $27,500). Because rebates for Teslas will soon be gone, the program would cover the entire difference – $35,000. This is where Senator Vidak got his “$30,000 to $40,000.”

The Tesla Model 3 would be tough to sell without the federal $7,500. But this new bill would push Californian taxpayers into filling the void. It would be a godsend for Tesla.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 19, 2017 6:59 pm

    “Following Hong Kong’s decision to reduce incentives for electric vehicles, sales of Tesla vehicles in the country plummeted. …..”

    Not only Hong Kong ……

  2. July 19, 2017 7:07 pm

    Solar could be the latest sunset industry.

  3. July 19, 2017 9:11 pm

    Nevertheless, a lot of people have made a lot of money out of the renewable energy scam. Meanwhile, millions of ordinary consumers will be paying the price for years to come.

  4. Athelstan permalink
    July 19, 2017 9:16 pm

    Abeoonekonobi, he say green poison it ruin and causes a cascades to run down Fujiyama, as she weeps for Nippon!

    Green dragon is drug say Abeoonekonobi………….and only should be made for sale to the devils of the west, we say, we see China and they laugh, now the land of the rising sun will never go dark, we go black and mental with it – for King coal, just like the chinee.

    Dawn of the new era for Nippon!

    Are you listening – mother theresa because if you ain’t you bloody well should be.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 20, 2017 12:34 pm

      A politician listen? Are you mad? Especially to somebody outside their bubble. That’s why Brexit is shaping up to be the biggest disaster for this country since the war. Ignorance reigns supreme in Westminster.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    July 20, 2017 2:28 am

    “Green” jobs are just jobs. Someone installing solar panels can just as easily repair bicycles or plumbing. People do not have to be bribed. Solar jobs are parasitic on the society. Real jobs contribute something. The faster “green” jobs disappear the better society will become.

  6. gallopingcamel permalink
    July 20, 2017 3:30 am

    Tesla motor cars are rich mens toys subsidized by our taxes.

    We are robbing the poor to feed the rich!

    • AlecM permalink
      July 20, 2017 5:10 pm

      The inverse of the new Robin Hood……….

  7. Stonyground permalink
    July 20, 2017 6:47 am

    Why isn’t my bicycle heavily subsidised? Its credentials as a zero emission vehicle are better than those of any electric car. Yes I breath out CO2 when I’m riding it but electric cars emit tonnes of the stuff from power station chimneys.

  8. Tim Hammond permalink
    July 20, 2017 10:37 am

    Amazingly enough, people are generally unwilling to pay very much now to avoid paying more in the future – which shows how wrong the Stern Report was in terms of discount rates..

    Perhaps our politicians should have been a little more honest about this from the start, instead of make silly and ill-educated claims about jobs and costs?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 20, 2017 12:36 pm

      An honest politician? Anyone ever seen one?

      • Russ Wood permalink
        July 24, 2017 8:08 am

        One of the definitions of an ‘honest politician’ is that they STAY bought. We’ve got a number of those in South Africa!

  9. Greg permalink
    July 20, 2017 12:41 pm

    From Ontario Canada: Just listening to the radio this morning, it’s being reported that Ontario with high penetration of wind and solar averages $720 per year more per household in electricity charges compared to the national average. (Ontario is 30% of the population so the average would skew higher). We managed to close a grand total of 8 coal plants over 15 years, replaced with wind, solar and back up natural gas plants. 8 coal plants, or roughly 2 months worth of China new construction. We’ve also lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs.

    • dave permalink
      July 21, 2017 11:00 am

      I had lunch in the Toronto Club in 1973 with Winnett Boyd, the designer of the Candu reactor. After a discussion of his design, and the fact that Canada had Uranium coming out of its ears, and how power SHOULD be abundant for our children and grand-children – he said:

      “Let’s talk about something else. Hollywood actors think they know more about it than me! I have no interest any more”

  10. dennisambler permalink
    July 20, 2017 4:52 pm

    Sunshine Superman:

    “Here’s Elon Musk’s Plan to Power the U.S. on Solar Energy”
    If you wanted to power the entire United States with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States,” Musk said during his keynote conversation on Saturday at the event in Rhode Island. “The batteries you need to store the energy, so you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square-mile.”

    It’s “a little square on the U.S. map, and then there’s a little pixel inside there, and that’s the size of the battery park that you need to support that. Real tiny.”

    • spetzer86 permalink
      July 20, 2017 6:30 pm

      right up until they run out of silver.

      • bea permalink
        July 21, 2017 12:26 pm

        Might also need a hundred million tons of lead. And a hundred million tons of acid. Which will make for interesting toxic waste discussions.

    • dave permalink
      July 21, 2017 11:34 am

      And that “real tiny” thing* would cost the USA, at present prices


      The Levelised (addition to) Cost of passing Electricity through a battery is between 0.39 and 0.57 Euros, say $0.50 in American money; see Box 6 in the following:

      and the USA uses almost 4 trillion kilowatts a year

      4 trillion by half a dollar = 2 trillion dollars.

      *And what about security, if the life of the USA depends entirely on a “pixel”?

      • dave permalink
        July 21, 2017 11:36 am

        “…say, 0.$50…”

        That is per kilowatt hour.

      • bea permalink
        July 21, 2017 11:52 am

        One might get away with a little less cost if one allows for the fact that SOME of the time SOME of the solar energy could be fed direct to the consumers.
        But in December and January?!

        The one square mile bit is a lie. Laid out flat, the batteries would take up two hundred square miles. If you build high, the footprint of anything can be made tiny.

        What a lovely job it would be. Crawling around an energy store with ten billion killowatts flowing through it, fixing the broken connections!

      • dave permalink
        July 21, 2017 1:25 pm

        Anyway, can we stop talking about batteries in the context of the grid? Batteries are ancient technology, from before dynamos. They are based on and limited by the unchangeable and unimprovable chemistry of metals – which are too scarce, and too valuable, to waste in deliberately perverse uses.

  11. dave permalink
    July 21, 2017 12:01 pm

    If you build it high, the entire system of batteries will melt in hours, because the internal resistance of each one leads to waste heat, and a “cube” of them will not cool. Think of how your computer chip fries if the fan gets dusty!

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