About those Energy Subsidies..

February 8, 2019

Criss Crossing the state to listen in on the orchestrated theater that is the anti-wind movement, perhaps the one bogus argument heard more than any other is the complaint that renewable energy only exists because of subsidies.

Above, History channel celeb Marty Lagina made money in the Oil and Gas business before, a dozen years ago, he moved into the renewable space. He has some turbines and solar panel developments around the state – I didn’t know he was famous when I interviewed him last June, but I thought he could speak authoritatively to the issue of subsidies – for both old and new energy.

laginathum

A friend sent me a link to one of these “it’s the dang gummint’ subsidies” rants that made it into a small town paper in southern Michigan, and I took it upon myself to respond, thusly.

Monroe Evening News:

In response to the letter published Feb. 2 from Jim Dunmyer of Temperance: Mr. Dunmyer states that wind and solar energy are subsidized — a true statement. What Mr. Dunmyer omits mentioning is that oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are also richly subsidized, despite the fact that, in the case of fossil fuels, they have been mature industries for over a century.

Nuclear power, also a mature industry, has been heavily subsidized since the 1940s. Wind power, for instance, has been supported by government research in the 1970s, and the current Production Tax Credit was applied in the 1990s by, among others, conservative Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, to encourage renewable energy production.

Indeed, Mr. Grassley’s state will this year generate almost 40 percent of its electrical consumption by wind power — and has seen electric rates drop slightly over the last 20 years, as opposed to the average of other states, which has risen by a similar amount.

In the early 2020s, the Wind Production tax credit will lapse, leaving wind energy as the only form of production with no government subsidy — which is fine, because the subsidy has done its job, making wind currently the cheapest form of electricity production in the United States, according to surveys taken by the international accounting firm Lazard, which are available online. Solar energy has seen similar cost declines, and is itself about to compete with wind for lowest priced energy across the country in the early 2020s. It is telling that Mr. Dunmyer has nothing to say about the subsidies to fossil fuels, including the most devastating one of all — the continued U.S. military expenditures, punctuated by hugely expensive wars for oil, that have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in recent decades, and hundreds of thousands of human beings their lives — clearly a mere “externality” to the fossil fuel barons and Mr. Dunmyer.

With U.S. troops now being deployed to the vicinity of Venezuela, we now stand on the precipice of yet another devastating, costly conflict in an oil state, of which, apparently, Mr. Dunmyer remains blissfully unaware.

The coming decade will continue to see widespread adoption of renewables, as the Wall Street Journal has recently reported that global investment in renewables last year was more than double that for obsolete, polluting, deadly fossil fuels.

Peter Sinclair Midland

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5 Responses to “About those Energy Subsidies..”

  1. Canman Says:

    The most prudent thing to subsidize would be getting some next generation nuclear demonstration plants up and running. On a money per energy basis, nuclear gets far less subsidies than renewables and it also has to fight against renewable portfolio standards that exclude nuclear.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    ” leaving wind energy as the only form of production with no government subsidy — which is fine, because the subsidy has done its job, making wind currently the cheapest form of electricity production in the United States, according to surveys taken by the international accounting firm Lazard, which are available online.”

    I take issue with this line of thought. To say subsidies have done their job, is to relegate the deployment of new RE to the vicissitudes of the free market. I would argue that given the existential nature of AGW, it makes sense to spend government monies to move the market faster than the status quo.

    Since CO2 lasts in the atmosphere for about 5000+ years, the ROI of any subsidies must literally be measured against the adaptation costs they will save over 5000 to 10,000 years. This means it would be the best money spent in the entire history of human civilization.

    Therefore, subsidies should not end, and it would wise in the extreme to increase them until fossil fuels are no longer available for burning purposes.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I’m fine with your logic, but I’m pushing back against a bogus “conservative” narrative, so good to remind that wind will be going subsidy free soon –

  3. doldrom Says:

    The oil in Venezuela is just a diversion to throw us off the scent.
    We’re really there to tilt at windmills.


  4. Forgive me for going off topic but I’ve been meaning to share this with you –
    https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/had-we-paid-attention-to-frank-shuman/


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