California Dreaming Green Pipe Dreams

Published October 8, 2008

Dear Editor:

Mayor Chuck Reed is nationally renowned for his celebrated “green jobs” initiative in San Jose. San Jose Mercury News reporter John Woolfolk examined this ambitious, environmentally friendly job creation strategy (“San Jose makes progress on mayor’s ambitious green vision,” Oct. 5).

Mayor Reed is attempting to attract “clean tech” jobs by promoting renewable energy and mandating that private developers use green building materials for new construction of commercial buildings in excess of 25,000 square feet.

One of the mayor’s mandates requires that San Jose receive “100 percent of electrical power from clean, renewable resources” over the next 15 years–a virtually impossible task because today San Jose receives 13 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Although lip service is paid to unspecified “alternative technologies,” the fact remains that coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power are more cost effective and reliable energy sources than renewables. Government efforts to create and maintain contrived markets for “green” alternatives will only increase costs for lower-income energy consumers.

The 1,500 new jobs created by renewable energy solar panel companies pale in comparison to potential jobs that would be created from clean coal, deep geothermal, domestic oil drilling, and new nuclear plants. If the goal is economic development instead of political correctness, then Mayor Reed should access the pipeline of new jobs in a diversified energy economy, and not more green pipe dreams.

Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.