Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1998
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Report answers the sticky question: Where'd it go?

Recharge the Economy with Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Subsidies. It's a word that prompts finger pointing from all directions in the energy industry. Now a new study, Federal Incentives for the Energy Industries, has uncovered which sources of energy (em not which type of provider (em received the most federal dollars over the past 50 years.

But don't expect the finger pointing to stop.

Management Information Services Inc., a Washington, D.C. economic and research consulting firm, found that federal subsidies over the past five decades totaled $564 billion in 1997 dollars. The oil industry received the greatest portion of that (em $272 billion. The "second place" awardee, the recipient of $90 billion, or 16 percent, was the renewable energy sector. This would include solar, hydro and geothermal sources. Coal, natural gas and nuclear energy each received between $61 billion and $74 billion in subsidies, or, to use the more formal name, "federal incentive funds."

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