Rush Limbaugh’s on a roll. He recently made one of the most sexist public comments of our era, and he’s now attacking solar & wind energy businesses and employees. He said this week that “There’s no solar energy business yet. There’s no wind energy yet.” Odd, given that over 100,000 American jobs now come from the solar energy industry, and many more come from the wind energy industry.
Solar Energy Reality
Passing the 100,000 jobs mark in 2011, it’s expected the solar industry will hit 125,000 jobs by August 2012.
With a jobs growth rate of 6.8% from August 2010 to September 2011, according to the most recent national solar jobs census, the solar industry creamed the national jobs growth rate of 0.7% and was on the other side of the table from the 2% decline in fossil-fuel-industry jobs.
Also, as noted in December, “The vast majority of the 5,000 companies that make up the industry in the U.S. are small businesses, engines of growth for our economic recovery.” But I can see how Rush could have missed that — he might not have one of those solar businesses in his neighborhood, or advertising on his show….
Wind Energy Reality
There are now over 400 wind power manufacturing plants across the U.S. and U.S. wind power capacity accounts for over 20% of the world’s installed wind power. I’m sure it all went up without any business involvement.
Furthermore, wind power has supplied over 35% of new electricity in the last 4 years — that’s more than coal and nuclear power combined! (It’s only second to unrealistically cheap natural gas.)
“The fourth quarter of 2011 saw 3,444 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed, bringing total installations in 2011 to 6,810 MW,” AWEA notes. “The U.S. wind industry now totals 46,919 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of 2011. There are over 8,300 MW currently under construction involving over 100 separate projects spanning 31 states plus Puerto Rico.” No business there, for sure.
What world does Rush Limbaugh live in?
Rush Limbaugh on Solar Energy, Wind Energy, and EVs
Here’s Rush’s full statement on solar energy and wind energy, which he was commenting on due to an attack on his and other conservative media agencies’ role in killing popular demand for the Chevy Volt (a topic we’ll have to come back to in another post):
“The problem with the Volt is just like all of Obama’s green energy, there’s no business there yet. There’s no solar energy business yet. There’s no wind energy yet. It’s not there yet.”
Yep, that’s right Rush, hundreds of thousands of jobs and a huge portion of our new electricity generation doesn’t exist. (And let’s not even think about how clean energy is taking off in other places, like in Europe, where there have been over one million clean energy jobs since 2010.)
(Note: I normally avoid covering ridiculous statements by the likes of Limbaugh, but sometimes I just can’t go without setting the record straight, especially when it comes to our top clean energy industries.)
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.