Monday, January 28, 2013

A common defense of hefty green energy subsidies is "Our clean-energy industry . . . has to fight uphill against the oil subsidies." Well, the facts show a different story:
A Texas Comptroller’s study in 2006 found that federal clean-energy subsidies amounted to 4.5 percent of total consumer spending on those sources, while oil-and-gas and coal subsidies clocked in at just 0.83 percent. That makes renewables more than five times more subsidized than nonrenewable sources. The single largest recipient of subsidies when the study was conducted was not the gargantuan oil-and-gas industry but that swing-state sop, ethanol. The nominal costs of renewable subsidies totaled 83 percent of the dollars allowed to fossil-fuel companies, despite the latter industry being magnitudes larger than the former.

And that was before both oilman President Bush and President Obama dramatically expanded the subsidies available to renewable-energy producers...

By the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s reckoning, there are only three major exemptions granted to fossil-fuel producers: the “expensing of exploration and development costs for oil and natural gas” ($800 million), the “option to expense 50 percent of qualified property used to refine liquid fuels” ($800 million), and the “option to expense investment costs on the basis of gross income rather than on production” ($900 million). (There are also $600 million, by their calculation, of other miscellaneous subsidies.)
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