With the Utility Regulators, Day 3: Oil and Renewables Debate Subsidies
To provide U.S. regulators a basis for decisions they will be making on controversial subsidies and incentives in state energy policies that may make or break renewables, a debate was added to the agenda at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) summer committee meetings.
“Energy subsidies have existed in the U.S. from the early days of wood,” DBL Investors Managing Partner Nancy Pfund said in reviewing the historical role of federal energy subsidies. “In wood, it was land grants and warrants for timber lands.” (What would Jefferson do?)
Over the first fifteen years of their subsidies’ durations, Pfund said, “federal support for non-renewables was much greater than for renewables.”
The oil and gas industry got five times what renewables got and nuclear got ten times the subsidies (in 2010 dollars). “Nuclear spent an average of about $3.3 billion a year, oil and gas about $1.8 billion, and renewable energy just under half a billion.”