Clean energy advocates should cast aside their worries about increasing Republican scrutiny of energy subsidies. The clean energy industry’s foolish reliance on tax incentives has already handcuffed its expansion.
Unlike the leading nations in the clean energy race, the United States has no coherent energy policy. Rather, its energy market is balkanized by 50 distinct state policies and overlaid with poorly conceived federal tax incentives. Federal tax incentives have one redeeming feature. To get a tax incentive only takes one vote of Congress while getting any other kind of monetary subsidy requires two votes, an authorization and then an appropriations bill.