Comments: "Sustainable" Energy Unsustainable

Mike Rosen took on this subject in his third hour today. His first impression was the same as mine - Subsidies created those jobs in the first place!

He also did a good job exposing how this is average rate payers helping solar proponents put expensive power systems on their homes at little or no cost to themselves.

And many callers defended the program on the basis that "fossil fuels have huge subsidies too." Yet not a single one of them could give an example of said subsidies. To paraphrase multiple callers - "I just read that they're there, and they're numerous, and they're huge." (No word whether it was from an authoritaritive source, like the internets.)

Posted by johngalt at February 28, 2011 3:00 PM

Here is an example of subsidies.
Please comment to let me know if this resource is acceptable to you.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf

Posted by JC at March 4, 2011 1:35 PM

"Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? ...306 [years] (and 5 months.)"

Just for MORE fun:
Estimated number of people on the planet = 6.9 billion
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html

Estimated global subsidies for oil in 2008 = 312 billion
http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2010/11/23/global-fossil-fuel-and-renewable-subsidies/

Estimated U.S. Energy Subsidies (tax expenditures (TE)) = 6.74 billion (subtracting TE subsidies for ALL renewables)
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf
Hold that thought - this is for U.S. subsidies alone

How many years could these U.S. subsidies power a single, average American home if every person on the planet had an average American home? Well? How many?

Thought experiment: What kind of impact would there be on global energy markets if every person on the planet had an "average American home"? (frightening)

Subsidizing Big Oil:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/vehicle_impacts/cars_pickups_and_suvs/subsidizing-big-oil.html

Posted by JC at March 5, 2011 10:22 AM

You asked if the DOE site was an acceptable source. To be fair, I was still thinking about it -- I place moderate faith in gub'mint statistics and the DOE is toward the bottom.

Then you link to far more partisan sources.

We don't agree on much around here, but I suspect all ThreeSourcers would agree that neither oil, ethanol, nor unicorn farts should be subsidized. Let them all compete in the free market.

However, what many opponents call subsidies are simply standard features in the tax code. I'd love to clean up the tax code, but in the meantime, the only way a large company can exist in the US is to take advantage of all the loopholes.

GE and Whirlpool use these to pay pretty much zero taxes, but because they're making Energy Star appliances -- and grease the right palms -- they get less flack than the big bad oil companies.

Real subsidies need to go bye-bye, no arguments 'round here. But do you think they just happened last week? You want to subsidize "green" energy? In decades, that will be what's keeping us from transitioning to something better.

Posted by jk at March 5, 2011 11:09 AM

Thank you for bringing the debate here from Facebook JC. When my online time is limited it will go to this page before any other.

If you have a point to make other than villification of American prosperity then you'll have to spell it out for me. That's a lot of info there.

But I think you may have mistaken the fun I poked at callers having no clue how government subsidizes oil for my personal approval of said subsidies, or denial that they exist. I want them ALL killed. All corporate welfare, whether for conventional, productive energy or for alternative, wishful energy companies - zeroed. We can argue about research later but I think we should agree on the corporate subsidy point. (Caveat: Namaste Solar and other small, local businesses fall under the heading of "corporation.")

It took until recently for me to realize it but when a Republican politician says he is for "all of the above" on energy policy he isn't just saying he is pro-drilling. Unless he says otherwise you must assume he is "pro-subsidy" for "all of the above." And if this can be verified, OFF WITH HIS HEAD! (Electorally, of course.)

Posted by johngalt at March 5, 2011 11:23 AM
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