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Fossil fuel and renewable energy subsidies need parity

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 04/28/2011 in
Updated 06/18/2019

According to a study by the Environmental Law Institute, U.S. fossil fuels industries enjoyed direct federal payments totaling roughly $18 billion between 2002 and 2008. Of course, that doesn’t include the $54 billion in tax breaks.

Over the same time period, subsidies to renewable power producers totaled just $5.5 billion.

Now, the government included corn based ethanol as a “renewable source” of energy which is frankly maddening, considering more fossil energy is used to produce ethanol from corn than the ethanol’s calorific value.

Really, the graph should look more like this:

I just watched Bill Ritter, Colorado’s former governor, debate a couple fossil and nuclear industry knuckleheads. He valiantly pushed for solar energy adoption and enhanced legislative efforts on a recent intelligence squared debate:

[vimeo width=”500″ height=”400″]http://vimeo.com/20896432[/vimeo]

While the two coal and nuclear advocates fired away at the premise of ratepayer subsidized renewable energy, he spoke calmly regarding the enormous benefit the solar industry has had on Colorado communities, jobs created, and clean energy served up. I couldn’t help but have the following stream out of my mouth as I watched:

“Ratepayer subsidized solar?! Aww that’s terrible!!, I take it you’re much more comfortable with TAXpayer subsidized coal and oil, right?”

Last modified: June 18, 2019

One thought on “Fossil fuel and renewable energy subsidies need parity

  1. Avatar for Jason Abbott Jason Abbott says:

    Good discussions here, but I believe that the pro-fossil fuel side is making the misguided assumption that our current utilities are providing efficient energy in the first place. The question that I would have like to asked the panel (both sides) is this: By encouraging and investing the investigation of alternative energy approaches through subsidies, does this actually drive even more efficiency from our utilities? It seems to me that we should encourage the ‘free radical’ distributed energy competition with our utilities.

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