Although more green jobs are being offered today, the available talent pool isn’t there to meet the expected demand. 

The deceptively-named “Inflation Reduction Act”—lauded as the “single largest investment in climate and energy in American history”—is said to be behind the “boom” of green jobs with $369 billion earmarked over a decade for clean energy investments. 

But LinkedIn data revealed that job profiles boasting at least one green skill grew by just 8.4% while industry job listings on the platform surged by 20%. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks wind turbine service technicians second among the 20 “fastest growing occupations.” It offers a median annual salary of $56,270, but a comparable job in the oil and gas industry averages an annual salary of $67,087. 

Kenneth Gillingham, an economics professor at the Yale School of the Environment, told Wall Street Journal, “There has certainly been an uptick in hiring… But much of the building of infrastructure and clean energy is yet to come if the goals of the IRA come to pass.”

These underwhelming results aren’t surprising. The so-called green industrial “expansion” being touted by the Biden administration isn’t receiving an infusion of capital due to investor optimism or consumer demand but “because the government is paying them with taxpayer money to do so” as the Heritage Foundation observed.

Heavily-subsidized industries, including clean energy, have suffered busts before because they stifle actual market innovation. 

Enter Solyndra—the oft-cited solar company that experienced a boom followed by a bust during the Obama administration. It famously became the first clean energy company backed by a $535 million Department of Energy loan guarantee in 2009. The solar facility was touted by former President Obama during a May 2010 visit. But 1,110 green jobs vanished and the company later filed for bankruptcy shortly after in 2011.

Another relevant case study is electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla owned by Elon Musk, who later came to regret accepting a $465 million DOE loan. 

Darryl Sirry, formerly of Tesla, penned an op-ed in WIRED Magazine warning companies against accepting government loans since they ultimately stifle innovation in the clean energy space. DOE, he warned, is “playing favorites” here and creating a “distortion of the market for private capital that will have a stifling effect on innovation, as private capital chases fewer deals and companies that do not.”

Rent-seeking is also an unintended consequence of the government picking winners and losers with subsidies—especially when propping up clean energy companies. This entails using resources to “gain financial advantages without creating value in the overall economy”—specifically political lobbying to favor solar, wind, and electric vehicle companies through efforts like the IRA. 

Subsidies advantage larger, profitable companies over smaller, less profitable ones—resulting in “higher prices for consumers, fewer jobs, and less economic growth.” 

The Biden administration’s clean energy agenda will also discourage non-unionized enterprises from innovating and competing in this space. 

I discussed this connection in a December 2021 post for IWF: 

Moreover, this component to the tax and spend bill stipulates that construction of new EV and battery-powered vehicles will solely benefit auto manufacturers with unionized workers. Talk about picking winners and losers. The provision is so controversial even Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a critical swing Senate vote and union supporter, criticized the measure as ‘wrong’ and’“not American.’ Manchin is correct here.

Non-unionized operators slammed the union bonus: ‘The proposal to provide a $4,500 incentive exclusively for union-built electric vehicles runs counter to the goal of carbon reduction,’ Toyota Motor said.

It’s abundantly clear: Green subsidies, even with an assist from the IRA, don’t compel Americans to work green jobs or buy products like EVs. 

To learn about subsidies, go HERE.