When the government decided to destroy the solar industry, they didn’t really consider the job losses – it has admitted as much to the solar industry last week;
The death of the solar industry would result in an estimated 22,000 job losses. That’s an estimate from Friends Of The Earth, so it’s probably on the high side. But even if it’s 10 times too high, that’s an awful lot of unemployment. If the jobs were being lost at a major employer like a car plant or a high street bank, there would be uproar and demands to do something. But in this case the government is causing job losses to hundreds of small businesses, so there is no single loud voice to protest. And for what purpose? The government claims it is to cut energy bills, but the government’s own documents put the saving at between 50p and £1.20 per household per year. That’s not a lot of savings for so much damage to the environment and the economy – really quite evil. Mwhahaha.
While the government completely ignores job losses in the solar sector, it’s quite happy to talk about the (small) number of jobs being created in the oil and gas industries. For example it was very keen to advertise the 400 jobs that will be created with the opening of the Culzean gas field. What it’s not so happy to talk about is the amount it subsidies the oil and gas industries. Recent IMF documents calculated that the fossil fuel industry receives £418 in subsidies from each household in the UK. That’s significantly more than the subsidy that we put in to renewables, and cutting subsidies on fossil fuels by 50p per household would make negligible difference to large international energy companies (who coincidentally often have Conservative MPs on their payroll as non-executive directors or consultants), unlike the huge impact to UK small businesses from cutting solar subsidies.
So, the solar industry employs more people than fossil fuels (4 times as many jobs per MWh), has less subsidy, less impact to the environment, and killing it will have negligible impact on our energy bills. The public is more in favour of renewables than fracking, with even the massive wind farms being many times more popular than fracking with voters of all persuasion. So why is the government pushing fossil fuels and killing renewables? We’ll have to simply give them credit for being evil.