Clean Power

Published on March 6th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


In Rush Limbaugh Land, Hundreds of Thousands of Wind & Solar Energy Jobs Don’t Exist

March 6th, 2012 by  


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.)

h/t Think Progress
Rush Limbaugh via cowicide

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • I´ve been around in the clean tech business in Europe since 1975, and I recall vomiting at a then young Rush Limbaugh´s obnoxious and bloviating , neo-McCarthyite verbal flatulance during the Reagan era. This was when Reagan pulled the solar cells off the White House Roof that Jimmy Carter had installed, and acted to slow down the development of California wind farms. (The U.S. had once been the leader in solar and wind.) Germany was just experimenting with rooftop solar at the time and putting up its first “big” Growian experimental wind turbine putting out 100 kw when the flatulant blowhard first came on the air..

    Last year, Europe passed the 100 GW mark in installed wind capacity. Advances in wind turbine efficiencies never stop. Siemens and Vestas are now erecting turbines in 6 MW class, with both now developing 8 MW. Coming soon. Spain now gets over 50% of its power needs from wind. Britain is building out, as are Denmark, Holland, Germany. (I advisedly note that as part of the €400 billion Euro “Desertec” build out of wind and concentrated solar in North Africa- shipping power via HVDC to Europe- Siemens is putting up 7.500 wind turbines. These will be a new type— putting out 8 MW apiece. 60.000 MW or the equivalent of 60 nuclear power plants going up in that trade wind rich area. A team at the University of Stellenbusch in South Africa developed a “Permanent Magnet Excited Induction” for a Danish wind developer- which boosts output on turbine generators by up to 20%, and which will let turbine manufacturers boost capacities from 6 to 8 mw on big turbines. Smaller turbines then become economically feasible in other areas with lower wind rates as well.

    For Germany alone, we are estimating a good 130 GW of wind installed by the end of 2025. Of course, all the European or South African, or Chinese advances will go into the U.S. wind industry- boosting turbine efficiencies while cutting production and installation costs. The Bloviating fat butt can rage on, but he can´t stop the global developments- where wind is number 1 in installed new power generating capacity.

    If we get on to solar. Well, Germany just beat its own record again last year, and installed another 7 GW in rooftop solar.
    New developments, some coming from South Africa and the U.S.A. – will push efficiencies from a current 15% to 50% and even more. Again, the most promosing new development comes out of the University of Stellenbusch in South Africa- where something the size of a tablet computer puts out the equivalent of quite a few square meters of conventional solar. There are other developments which slash the costs of manufacturing the aluminum backing, glass covers (with glass voltaic added) copper, and silicon (cutting energy costs by 80%) – and we can expect the rooftop solar installation to go to over 20 GW p.a. by the end of 2015-at grid parity- giving a total of over 257 GW installed solar capacity by the end of 2025. This gets us to renewable redudancies- which are needed if we aim for demand response renewable systems in Diversified Smart Grid coordinated modes.

    I`ll drop a comment or two about “Germany´s hidden renewables” that the old bloviating, pig flatulance Limbaugh never even noticed because it is beyond his limited imagination.
    They will also change the nature of energy in the U.S. as they impact.

  • Kentmmillen

    Mybe Rush is having thinking problems as a result of his excessive drug use!

  • I think what Rush is saying is, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  • Bob_Wallace

    What world does Rush Limbaugh live in?

    He lives in a world where one can create a character and play it out in public, receiving huge amounts of money in return.

    This guy has made a major fortune. His net worth is estimated to be anywhere from $300 million to over a billion dollars. He’s right there with Mitt Romney in being one of the country’s richest people. Rush is one of the 1%.

    Lying and being obnoxious for that sort of money – lots of people would gladly take his place.

  • quietman

    Rush is a glaring example of what is wrong with the US. Remove the fear and partisan politics he has nothing to capitalize. I feel sorry for people who value what he says. Let’s think for ourselves.

  • Mattpeffly

    The best way to stop a flamer like Rush. Would be to put up a page with contact information for all the companies that support his show and let people start calling/writing to say. Drop Rush or we will drop you. As long as he is paid to say stupid things he will keep saying them.

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