How many green jobs can we afford?

Keith Pitt, a Queensland MP, compiled a lists of green projects, most in Qld, with the capital cost, the number of workers involved in the construction and the number of permanent jobs.

The projects included the Kaban wind plant, costing $37M with 250 construction workers and 5 permanent staff, Clarke Creek wind, 1.5Bil, 350 construction workers, 25 permanent, Borumba Dam pumped hydro $14Bil, 2360 jobs, 30 permanent, Golden Plains wind, $3Bil with 700 construction jobs and 7 permanent.

The total construction cost for the eight projects amounts to $22Billion with some 5000 construction workers and 108 permanent staff.

The cost for each permanent job, based on those numbers, ranged from $7.4M for Kaban wind factory to almost half a billion for Borumba pumped hydro and Golden Plains wind.

There is clearly something unfair about that calculation, after all the works are designed and built to provide power, not jobs, the green jobs are supposed to appear in the industries that use the cheap and reliable power generated by the intermittent providers (sarc.)

Still, the first time I circulated those numbers the punchline was “How many green jobs can we afford at 7 million to half a billion per permanent job?

But what about the benefits?

Productivity is the key to human progress and investment in new capital goods is the way to increase productivity.

That means producing things that people want or need in a way that is cheaper or at least better value for money.

So what do we get out of the projects listed above, and others like them?

We get power that is more expensive and less reliable, with a massive environmental footprint.

Incidentally, those costs don’t include $60 or 80 billion required to rewire the nation.

What is the future for manufacturing and any kind of power-intensive industry as power becomes more expensive and less reliable?

And then there is the opportunity cost, the goods and services we can get if we spend the money on useful things like modern coal-burning power stations.

The official net zero Plan A is not working, that about Plan B


Build some modern, highly efficient, supercritical coal burners.

That should have started while the old stations were closing after the turn of the century.

They will deliver at 90+% capacity every day of the year between routine maintenance. The power will be cheap, it will be reliable, there will be no expensive re-wiring.

Nuclear power will come on line one day.

But at the moment the nuclear policy of the Coalition is a figleaf to cover the nakedness of the energy policy they have pursued since Malcolm Turnbull rallied the pink and green rats in the ranks to assassinate Tony Abbott. The ultimate betrayal of the nation occurred when Scott Morrison caved in to the net zero lobby.

We need politicians who are literate in science and engineering so they can stand up in public and make the case to burn coal without fear or shame until nuclear power is on deck.

Bonus. Meet Daniel Westerman, head of the Australian Energy Market Operator AEMO, who is in charge of implementing PLAN A.

And there is more.

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February 23, 2024 11:35 pm

Rudd gave us pink bats.
Turnbull gave us pink rats.

The EIA estimates that the initial capital cost (overnight cost) of a new reactor is $5,339 per kW, or $5.3 billion for a 1000 MW reactor. Financing cost, long construction periods, and escalating costs can push the total cost well above the overnight cost.

That’s plucked from a nuclear is bad article..
Still more reliable and cheaper than unicorn farts.

February 24, 2024 5:56 pm

“How many green jobs can we afford”


Next silly question?

February 25, 2024 2:00 pm

More to the point!
How many green jobs do we really need??

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