US subsidy boom and bust is ‘a threat to green sector’

US federal support for clean energy in 2014 will fall 75% from its peak just three years ago and the sector may falter unless the policies behind this boom-and-bust cycle are reformed, claims new research.

Spending in 2011 was down more than 30% from its 2009 high of $44.3bn, but the end of some incentives, such as the production tax credit for wind and the economic stimulus programmes, will hit the sector even harder, says a joint report by the Brookings Institution, Breakthrough Institute and World Resources Institute.

The decline marks the end of an unprecedented era of US support for clean energy. Spending in 2009-14 is expected to exceed $150bn, more than three times the amount spent in 2002-08.

But in their analysis of 92 clean-technology projects supported by the federal government, the researchers predict that spending will fall to $16.1bn this year and to $11bn by 2014.

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