The United States does not have a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, or a national renewable energy standard. As a result, our "green energy policy," to the extent that one exists, is a matter of picking winners (and, implicitly, losers) with government money, for example by giving companies a tax break if they are developing solar technology.
The problem with the government picking winners and losers is that sometimes the government-picked winners turn out to be losers. Subsidized companies fail and they take taxpayer dollars down with them. Take this solar cell manufacturer that closed its Massachusetts shop, laid off 800 workers, and moved to China, where work is cheaper and the subsidies are better. As he tells this story, Edward Glaesar writes in the New York Times that the green energy economy won't be a job creator.
Now, one company doesn't make a trend.* If I wanted to write the opposite story, that U.S. investments in green energy will produce jobs, I could tell you about Suniva, a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells operating out of Georgia. You want to talk government-backed innovation? The company grew out of the Department of Energy-funded project at the Georgia Institute of Technology. You want to talk export-driven industries? In 2010 Suniva received the Green Transaction of the Year award from the U.S Export-Import Bank after a $2 million financing deal with India. You want to talk job-creation? The company doubled in size to 130 employees between 2009 and 2010.