Sen. Bingaman and energy subsidies

I responded to some recent statements on energy subsidies made by NM Sen. Jeff Bingaman in a recent article in the “Business Journal.” As this is an online format, I have taken the liberty of adding the link to information from the Energy Information Administration by way of a footnote. See my letter below:

Letters to the Editor
Albuquerque Business Journal

In reading the recent article regarding the “renewable” industry’s pleas for ongoing subsidies for their businesses, Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s statement that “the tax code has become intrinsically lopsided against renewables in favor of fossil fuels” jumped out at me.

If not an outright lie, Bingman’s statement is at very least entirely inaccurate. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, Coal receives subsidies of about 6/100ths of a cent per kWh while solar receives an enormous 96.8 cents per kWh. Wind receives 5.25 cents per kWh and nuclear receives just under 1/3 of a cent per kWh.

In other words, wind receives 87.5 times the subsidy that coal and natural gas receive while solar receives an astounding 1,600 times the subsidy of coal and gas. To say that the tax code has become lopsided would be an accurate statement on Bingaman’s part only if he stated that it was lopsided in favor of politically-favored “renewables.”

Of course, their advocates will claim that wind and solar have fewer “externalities” in the form of pollution, but wind and solar require backup (usually natural gas) and even with the addition of expensive carbon sequestration technologies, both coal and gas are far cheaper and more reliable than so-called “renewables.”

Sen. Bingaman should correct his misstatement and Congress should recognize that energy subsidies of any kind are a fool’s bargain.

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