$200 million green-tech subsidy results in -100 jobs

posted at 12:45 pm on October 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

What happens when job-stimulus funds get spent on a company that reduces its workforce?  It looks like Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Stephen Chu made another “bad bet” in 2009, sinking $200 million into the non-profit National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.  NREL isn’t going under, but it’s cutting back staff after getting a big taxpayer subsidy from Porkulus:

President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan.

According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.

Are you getting the impression that a visit from Obama or Chu might be the kiss of death for green-tech companies?  Obama shows up to promote Solyndra and the company sinks into bankruptcy, taking over a half-billion taxpayer dollars with it.  Chu personally delivers the jobs-stimulus check to NREL, which then starts trimming jobs.

Why is NREL cutting staff?  Because Congress won’t give them even more money:

NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings.

“We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”

Well, let’s talk about their budget.  In 2008, according to the Independence Institute, NREL’s budget was $328 million.  In 2010, it grew to $536.5 million, a 64% increase in funding.  Now they see an $8 million haircut — which amounts to only 1.5% of its budget — and they want to lay off at least 7.4% of their staff.

Here’s a question that budget makers should consider.  If the entire $200 million funded all 1350 of NREL’s jobs (which it didn’t, as NREL obviously had a significant staff before the stimulus), it would have been at a cost of $148,150 per job.  If an $8 million cut costs 100 jobs, that’s only $80,000 per job.  Why does it cost twice as much or more to add jobs at NREL as it does to cut them?  Do they get marked down as being used jobs?

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Shades of Spain.

steebo77 on October 4, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Okay, I wasn’t exactly happy with 200K per job but darn it, we’re just moving in the wrong direction now.

hawkdriver on October 4, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Follow the money.

faraway on October 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Hindsight is 20/20, you racist wingdings.

Hey, isn’t Christie a fatso fattie McButterfat fatboy?

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I have a friend that works there. for now.

hanzblinx on October 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I wonder how many more of these “Solyndras” and “NRELs” are there.

mikhail1973 on October 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

How many companies is this now? Is anyone keeping a list?

dogsoldier on October 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

This is what happens when we let Politicians play with OUR Money.
And they want us to accept TAX INCREASES???

gullxn on October 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM

So, let’s see; A quantum physicist and a community organizer get together and decide to run a business….

I wonder where this story will go?

percysunshine on October 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM

PBHO: time to double down!!

Khun Joe on October 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Are you getting the impression that a visit from Obama or Chu might be the kiss of death for green-tech companies?

-
Nah… It’s pre-planned. It’s like pouring sand in a gas tank. No one does it by accident… and these pr*cks tossing our money away know exactly what they’re doing. It all about bankrupting America and money laundering.
-

RalphyBoy on October 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Ed, you clearly did not include democrat campaign worker jobs in your number, and green tech subsidy money will surely pay for plenty of those.

Vashta.Nerada on October 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Are you getting the impression that a visit from Obama or Chu might be the kiss of death for green-tech companies?

Not just green-tech companies. Ask the latest Democratic candidates for governor in NJ & VA, along with Martha Coakley. And Democrats in 2010. And the U.S.A.

rbj on October 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

“Are you getting the impression that a visit from Obama or Chu might be the kiss of death for green-tech companies?”

No, the kiss of death is the fact that many players in the industry need government assistance to operate, underscoring their financial fragility.

furytrader on October 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Obviously, math is racist.

trubble on October 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

It’s almost like we have an incompetent community organizer running our country.

gwelf on October 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Are you getting the impression that a visit from Obama or Chu might be the kiss of death for green-tech companies?

-
For got to add… It’s more like financial necrophilia…
-

RalphyBoy on October 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Yeah, but buildings are really cool looking.

BobMbx on October 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Yes, but did they get their donations to the DNC on time? Cuz that’s all that really matters.

lorien1973 on October 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

No, the kiss of death is the fact that many players in the industry need government assistance to operate, underscoring their financial fragility.

furytrader on October 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Oh my goodness. That almost translates into saying the corn ethanol business couldn’t survive in a free market system. Heresey.:)

a capella on October 4, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Hindsight is 20/20, you racist wingdings.

Hey, isn’t Christie a fatso fattie McButterfat fatboy?

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Hindsight is $200M/$200M

And, yes he is. He’s the canolli man.

SlaveDog on October 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Think how many more jobs would be lost if we didn’t spend that money.

OneGyT on October 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Me and my buddies would have done the same for 1/2 the money…

right2bright on October 4, 2011 at 1:06 PM

You know, Steven Chu is a super-smart Nobel Laureate.

Just sayin’

Cicero43 on October 4, 2011 at 1:07 PM

o/t Christie not running – Ann Coulter weeping

50sGuy on October 4, 2011 at 1:08 PM

A green energy project that reduced man-power would be first step towards it being competitive. And avoids the low Chinese wage problem.

Its green energy that is manpower intensive that is a loser.

tomg51 on October 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Time to end the Chu Dynasty.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Time to end the Chu Dynasty.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Something to Chu on!

gullxn on October 4, 2011 at 1:16 PM

All of this stuff looks like a bunch of commercials this time next year.

Moesart on October 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Shades of Spain.

steebo77 on October 4, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I don’t think it’s coincidence that after Spain decided to go green, it became a senior member in the PIIGS Terminally Boned Club.

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

This ‘green companies’ garbage makes me dizzy.

OT: F&F SPECIAL PROSECUTOR !!

pambi on October 4, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Depreciation or Dis-appreciation.

djaymick on October 4, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I never knew the US Government was allowed to gamble with taxpayers’ dollars. That Capitol Hill place must be a real fun casino. Sounds like Operation Fast and Furious isn’t the only special Obama program that needs a special prosecutor.

katablog.com on October 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I suppose that was actually net job growth because without it we were going to lose 1000 jobs. So they actually created 900 jobs. Nice!

preallocated on October 4, 2011 at 1:32 PM

The list of greendoggles grows…

trigon on October 4, 2011 at 1:59 PM

In 2010, it grew to $536.5 million, a 64% increase in funding. Now they see an $8 million haircut — which amounts to only 1.5% of its budget — and they want to lay off at least 7.4% of their staff.

Why didn’t they keep all their employees and give them all a 1.5% pay cut?

In 2010, a $536.5 million budget for 1350 employees comes out to $397K per job. In 2011, a $528.5 million budget for 1250 employees comes out to $423K per job.

Does this mean that NREL is cutting 7.4% of its workforce and giving the others raises of 6.4%? Doesn’t sound fair to me…

Steve Z on October 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM

So, let’s see; A quantum physicist and a community organizer get together and decide to run a business…. I wonder where this story will go?

The cat dies.

drunyan8315 on October 4, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Hindsight is 20/20, you racist wingdings.

Hey, isn’t Christie a fatso fattie McButterfat fatboy?

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Hey, you neglected to mention Perry’s racist rock – c’mon man.

Midas on October 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Do they get marked down as being used jobs?

LOL! I love your sense of humor, Ed!

wren on October 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

This green jobs crap has GOT to get some national publicity soon. That giant sucking sound is not coming from a windmill farm … it’s the sound of your hard earned money being sucked out of your wallet by the Obama-Dyson-Orek Green Machine.

Sadly, maybe it will take a few deaths for a giant wake-up call and investigation, as Fast and Furious needed.

fred5678 on October 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Another way to look at it: we paid $ 2 mill per lost job!

gullxn on October 4, 2011 at 3:49 PM

I wonder how many more of these “Solyndras” and “NRELs” are there.

mikhail1973 on October 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Maybe $600 Billion or so?

hawksruleva on October 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM

So… the president was in Mesquite TX today, close to Dallas, at Eastfield Community College stumping his “jobs” bill… 200 people were given ticket to get in and it was held in the gym… and this?

CynicalOptimist on October 4, 2011 at 6:02 PM

It’s going to take a generation to repair ONE TERM of the Dems having what they wanted.

No, ALMOST all they wanted!

golfmann on October 4, 2011 at 7:53 PM

At what point does “Sustainable Energy” become unsustainable?

Few Things Considered on October 4, 2011 at 10:37 PM


I wonder how many more of these “Solyndras” and “NRELs” are there.

mikhail1973 on October 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

All of them.

The various “green tech” ventures have been a perpetual drag on the economies where ever they were imposed. They caused the banking failures that plagued the end of the Bush admin. It wasn’t bad loans to indigent minorities. That was just the excuse the democrats conjured to buttress their natural racist tendencies.

Someone should focus on the correlation between downturned economies and adoption of global warming regulations across the micro level of various states and counties. As they adopted Gores boogie man their region moved into recession. Betcha.

papertiger on October 5, 2011 at 4:45 PM