Millions Have Been Invested in Wind Farms, but That Hasn’t Brought Jobs

Erie Shores Wind Farm

Posted by Ian:
Following Ontario’s $7 billion deal with Samsung, will the province really benefit from the creation of green energy jobs? Not according to a study looking at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which found early $2 billion has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.

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Closed Sterling plant could be going green


Former Sterling Truck plant in St. Thomas

A deal is in the works to turn the closed-down Sterling Truck plant in St. Thomas into a green energy manufacturer, the area’s MP says.

A national Canadian manufacturer has signed a memorandum of agreement to share technology with another industry that develops green energy platforms, including solar energy, with the intention to manufacture at the St. Thomas plant, MP Joe Preston (PC — Elgin-Middlesex-London) said yesterday.

“We are not at the point where we can say it will happen,” Preston cautioned. “But memorandums of agreements have been signed. There is interest out there. It feels good. We have to start sharing any good news, anything that is positive.”

The new manufacturer has “elements of many different types of green energy,” but solar panel production is a big part of it, he said.

Times they are a-changing

From the St. Thomas Times-Journal

Tool-and-die training is on hiatus and educating the next generation of wind turbine technicians could soon be in place at Fanshawe College, St. Thomas campus.
Thanks to the economic downturn, the local campus has not only seen a spike in enrolment but they’ve also re-tooled some of the programs offered, and admission dates.
Dean Chris Fliesser estimates they’ve seen enrolment rise to 450 from 400 students — a 15 per cent increase — from last year.
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of activity, which started last summer,” he said, adding that coincides with the launch of Ontario’s Second Career program to help laid off workers re-train.
To accommodate those on the hunt for career training, Fliesser said they’ve started admitting students mid-semester, rather than just in September or January.
“We’re providing opportunity so students can come in at different points in the year,” he said.
The personal support worker program, for example, has four entry points — September, October, January and March.
Fliesser added they’ve introduced an “intake” point for May 11, when two new gas technician and one welding program, among others, are offered.
Increased enrolment and the economic reality in our community has required some changes for Fanshawe-St. Thomas.
For instance, Fliesser said they’ve stopped taking students for the tool-and-die program, once the school’s marquee offering.
“There are a lot of people in that trade right now who are not working and there’s been less demand from a student perspective and employers,” he said, adding they’ll bring it back when demand picks up.
On the flip side, Fliesser said they’ve also got their eye on green energy technology, namely wind turbines. He noted a lot of students in the electronic technician program go on to work with wind turbines. Right now, Fanshawe covers about 70 per cent of the requisite wind turbine training.
“Depending on the employer, they may say, ‘that’s fine, that’s good enough.’ And will take them and train them the rest of the way.
For the others, we’re thinking… should we be offering a wind turbine post-graduate program?” he said. “Our philosophy is that we will put on any program where there is demand for those jobs and we can get enough of a cohort to offer it.”

A Train That Is Leaving the Station

Auto workers in Detroit should be learning how to build and service electric cars powered by hydrogen or new battery technology. Laid off construction workers should be learning how to install solar panels or how to insulate buildings to save energy. Unemployed bankers could be learning about counting carbon emissions and about how to reduce those greenhouse gases and use credits to help others do likewise. These are all skills that will be in great demand as the economy recovers, not just for a few more years of pollution-based prosperity, but for generations of sustainable growth to come.
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Why “green jobs” may not save the economy or the environment.

Just because “green” and “jobs” are both in demand doesn’t mean that policies focused on creating “green jobs” make sense.
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