Three years ago, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., helped coach then-freshman U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., through a speech on the House floor boasting about the green jobs that had been created in New Mexico.
Given what’s transpired since then, you might question the judgment of both representatives in advocating subsidies for renewable energy projects.
Here’s what Heinrich and Polis said on June 10, 2009, according to the video above, titled, “Tipping Point In Our Country’s Energy Policy Debate” and featured on Heinrich’s YouTube channel. Heinrich is now running against Republican Heather Wilson for New Mexico’s open U.S. Senate seat.
Heinrich: ”With Sandia’s help, thousands of jobs in new energy fields have been created in communities, in our community, by companies like Advent Solar, and Emcore, which makes concentrated solar photovoltaics. Just a month ago, I participated in the grand opening of a $100 million Schott Solar manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, which is on track to eventually employ 1,400 people. On the west side of the First Congressional District, Solar Array Ventures is building a factory that will employ 1,000 people. And in the rural east side of our Congressional District, hundreds of people have been at work, with good-paying jobs, on the near-complete 100-megawatt High Lonesome Mesa wind project.”
Polis: “You know, a question on that. I’ve heard supporters of this Republican inaction tax trying to argue that this bill costs jobs, that somehow this is going to be bad for [the] economy. A lot of what you’ve been talking about – I mean, a solar plant hiring 1,400 people in your district, job growth on the infrastructure side – it certainly sounds to me that by passing this bill, it’s going to lead to even more job growth in your district. Is that what you’ve been finding?”
Heinrich: “I believe that’s absolutely the case. And, in fact, what we’ve seen is that even in the midst of this recession, the good news on our horizon has been these quality high-tech jobs in the renewable energy sector.”
Um, that’s not what they’ve been finding and seeing recently. Rob Nikolewski of New Mexico Watchdog recently ran down a list of green energy projects in New Mexico, including reference to Heinrich’s advocacy.
“Last month’s announcement that Schott Solar was shutting down its manufacturing plant in south Albuquerque was met with shock, then outrage,” Nikolewski reported, citing 250 employees to be laid off and $16 million in grants given the company that don’t have to be paid.
“Taxpayers also got stuck losing millions back in 2009 when Advent Solar went belly-up,” he reported.
Regarding two other projects, Nikoleweski reported that High Lonesome Mesa Wind Project “appears to be doing fine” and that the the Solar Array Ventures project was reported to be on hold in 2010, according to an Austin Business Journal report at the time.
Separately, the New Mexico Business Weekly reported recently that…
Emcore Corp.”has 165,000 square feet of manufacturing space at the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque, where it employs about 450.”
On June 26, 2009, both Heinrich and Polis voted for The American Clean Energy and Security Act, which included cap-and-trade provisions. It passed the House by a 219-212 vote in June 2009, and later died in the U.S. Senate.
A Wall Street Journal editorial in 2009, relying on a Heritage Foundation analysis, reported that it would have “cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four.”