Take the Lipstick Off the Renewables Subsidy Pig and it's a Different Animal.
To grasp the meaning of this bar chart, you have to know which line items are embodied in the big ticket items. For example: "Ethanol production received $3.0 billion in blender’s credits under the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, exceeding any conventional or renewable fuel." That's a three billion dollar pig feeding from the public trough, making food more expensive for humans and real pigs! Subtract that oinker and the renewables bar would drop down to fourth place (total of $1.9 billion for non-ethanol renewable energy support).
Wind subsidies come under the Electricity category: "The estimated value of production tax credits to wind producers in FY 2007 was $666 million." So, roughly half of the 2007 subsidies for electricity went to wind. If Congress actually renews that credit, which is looking doubtful for this year, look for that wind number to become a great deal larger in FY 2009. Story and graphic via::USEIA, How much does the Federal Government spend on energy-specific subsidies and support?Know which pig wears the most lipstick?
See that bar axis labeled "Refined Coal?" That's our oinker of the year folks. "In FY 2007, refined coal (chemically enhanced to reduce certain emissions) received about $2.4 billion." Meaning:- coal mining, and possibly coal specialty processing and distribution, companies received more in direct Federal subsidies ($2.4 billion) to reduce air pollution -- presumably through washing or blending with additives to remove metals and sulfur compounds as well as non-combustables -- than did the non-ethanol renewables category.
Reiterating: coal processing got more federal subsidies than did renewable energy (if ethanol subsidies are excluded from the renewables category).
Not that we want to see increased air emissions from coal fired electricity plants. But, why can not private utilities carry their own operating costs? Through this subsidy, the cost of pollution control for coal combustion has been outsourced to the the US taxpayer. Fine if that's actually what we want. Do taxpayers even know about it? Do they really want it?
Such a long long way to go.
More Subsidy Stories From The Archives
U.N. Study: Scrapping Fuel Subsidies Can Help Fight Global Warming
Cut Solar Subsidies? Update with Vinod Khosla
Hidden Oil Subsidies: We Need to END Them
Obama Refines His Position on Coal
Survey: Is there a Role for Coal?