Making Renewable Energy Competitive With Fossil Fuels

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A September 2011 report from DBL Investors, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund specializing in renewable energy, backs up environmentalist calls for increased subsidies for renewables by showing how early subsidization of other energy keystone sources helped secure their respective dominant places in the energy marketplace. The report calculates that, in the U.S., nuclear subsidies accounted for more than one percent of the federal budget in their first 15 years, and that oil and gas subsidies made up one-half of one percent of the total federal budget in their first 15 years. Subsidies for renewables, in contrast, have constituted only about one-tenth of a percent, the report concludes.

While the pendulum of energy subsidies may be swinging in favor of renewables in the last year or two, such momentum can be lost easily if lawmakers don’t extend various incentives and credits that have helped drive it.

CONTACTS: CBO; ELI’s “Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008,”; DBL Investors.

EarthTalk is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: Subscribe:; Free Trial Issue: Solar Energy image from BigStock.

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  1. Large businesses and corporation NEVER pay taxes. They are going to make money no matter what the government does or does not do as far as subsidies. The government can raise their tax to 50% and they would just raise their rates on their product to pay it. They are going to make money no matter what. We the consumer, is the ONLY ENTITY that pays taxes. We pay their taxes when we purchase their product. So subsidies from the government just keeps their product price lower. There isn’t any difference because the subsidies that come from the government really comes from our tax money. So no matter what or how you look at it WE pay the piper either way…when we buy or when we pay our income taxes.
    The only difference is to the people that make so little they don’t pay tax. Subsidies keep the price low enough for them to purchase.
    For example if the government stopped subsidies to the Oil Companies, they will raise the price at the pump and the poor won’t be able to afford gas. With the subsidies at least they can purchase gas.
    Big companies only suffer if their stocks go down. Then they just raise the price to compensate for it…more for us to pay.
    Wake up America, WE the People are the ONLY ENTITY that pays taxes, one way or another.

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