AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Life:Powered project published the paper The Siren Song that Never Ends: Federal Energy Subsidies and Support from 2010 to 2019.

“Since 1913—the same year as the introduction of the federal income tax—politically-connected businesses have lobbied for energy-specific tax breaks and spending under the guise of stimulating energy production and the development of new technologies,” said Brent Bennett. “Instead, federal energy subsidies have left a legacy of distorting energy markets, a legacy that began with fossil fuel tax breaks and grew dramatically with the explosion of renewable energy subsidies in the past decade. As lobbying for more subsidies intensifies during the current economic crisis, policymakers would do well to consider the failures of the wide variety of energy subsidies that exist today and resist calls for more.”

Key Points:

  • Over the past 10 years, wind, solar, nuclear, and fossil fuels have all received substantial federal subsidies – between $13 billion and $37 billion.
  • Wind has received 17 times and solar 75 times more subsidies per unit of electricity generated than the average for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear since 2010.
  • While wind and solar have received more subsidies than other energy sources in recent years, debates about energy subsidies should not revolve around which resources receive more. The focus should be on how energy subsidies distort markets and why those distortions should be removed.
  • Studies that show certain resources receiving far more subsidies than others, especially studies that report hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. energy subsidies, are relying on cherry-picked data or inflated definitions of subsidies.

Key Facts
Over the past 10 years, over $120 billion of our tax dollars have been spent on #energy subsidies.
As with all forms of cronyism, #energy subsidies are a tragedy of the commons in which politically connected businesses profit at the expense of taxpayers.
While wind and solar have received more subsidies than fossil fuels, the most important question is how #energy subsidies distort markets — and whether they're necessary at all.
Share this story