“This is a very, very sad day for Denmark”. Those were the most memorable words by Danish PM Helle Thorning Schmidt when she together with EU Commission president José Barroso yesterday launched the country´s EU presidency in Copenhagen. Not the best possible start for a presidency with green jobs on the top of its priority list.
The sadness was caused by the news that the pride of the Danish industry, the world´s biggest manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas was to cut 2335 jobs in an effort to cut costs. “This is one of the businesses that we thought will be the new way of doing things,” Thorning Schmidt said.
The Vestas fiasco is another example of what happens when an industry - in this case the wind turbine industry - is totally dependent on government subsidies. But the wind power lobbyists still think they can get away with it:
“When global development is lagging, we have a challenge,” Jan Hylleberg, chief executive officer of the Danish Wind Industry Association, said in an interview yesterday. “Most important for the Danish industry in these times are the political decisions that need to be taken, especially in Europe.”
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''Political decisions need to be taken, especially in Europe" of course means that there should be even more subsidies for Vestas and other failing wind turbine makers. At the same time wind industry lobbyists are working hard in order get Congress to extend the tax credits that Vestas and the other wind turbines companies rely on.
There is, however, no real reason why Congress would choose to extend the tax credits, particularly considering the fact that the American-led shale gas revolution will provide clean, cheap and plentyful energy for the foreseeable future.
The European Union is another matter. In spite of the deepening financial crisis the failed EU leaders - Helle Thorning Schmidt among them - still keep on repeating the mantra about the European Union as the "world number one" in "clean" energy, regardless of the costs to taxpayers. But the day of reckoning is coming closer also in Europe.