The U.S. Department of Energy publishes periodic reports (see the latest) on federal government subsidies to energy production in the U.S. These reports total up the costs of direct financial support for various energy technologies, tax incentives, research related to marketing and implementation and price support.
Federal support for energy in FY 2010 alone includes the following activities:
Direct Expenditures to Producers or Consumers – $14.3 billion. Federal programs involving direct cash outlays that provide a financial benefit to producers or consumers of energy.
Tax Expenditures – $16.3 billion. Provisions in the federal tax code that reduce the tax liability of firms or individuals who take specified actions that affect energy production, consumption, or conservation.
Research and Development (R&D) – $4.4 billion. Federal expenditures aimed at a variety of goals, such as increasing U.S.…
A year ago during the Copenhagen conference on climate change, I published a post, Electricity for the Poor–What Copenhagen Really Needs to Confront, where I noted that some 1.5 billion people did not have access to reliable electricity supplies. To update this, there is more electricity generated this year than last, mostly due to newly commissioned large conventional sources of electric power – gas, coal, hydro, nuclear. The new estimate is 1.4 billion living in energy squalor.
To hear the good and the great at Cancun, the sustainability issue of energy poverty is hidden. Occasionally, one of the climate-change grandees slips up and admits that this the real subject is wealth redistribution, not climate. But that is about as close as it gets.
All the more reason that the international forums on climate change, energy environment, and the like should get to first principles and study this map: The World At Night (courtesy of Bert Christensen)
When you fly overnight from Johannesburg to Europe the lights thin out just north of Lusaka, Zambia, a few more in Zambia’s Copper Belt and then nothing (and I mean nothing) until the North African coastline. …
My post last week evaluated the claim that wind generation can save money for power pool customers. It was found that the supposed savings could be realized only if the elephant in the room – the above-market feed-in tariff – was ignored. In other words, consumer payments for electricity from a power pool was half of the story; the real price had to include the consumer-qua-taxpayer funding of the feed-in-tariff (FIT).
And with this two-part scheme, games are played. Wind generators can bid a low price into the pool only to receive a higher FIT, which gives them an incentive to underbid. This might reduce the pool price but not overall cost to Germans for electricity.
If a generation resource is a good investment for its developers then it must return a profit to them. …