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Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010  

Author:  | Economics, U.S.

On pages xiii and xiv in the Executive Summary of this report, federal subsidies and support for energy (mostly electricity) are compared between the years 2007 (previous report) and 2010.

From 2007 to 2010, total subsidies for wind increased from $476 million to $4,986 million (both in 2010 dollars). Coal subsidies increased from $943 million to $1,358 million, although “clean coal” decreased from $3,038 million to 0. Natural gas and oil increased from $2,010 million to $2,820 million, and nuclear from $1,714 million to $2,499 million. Support for conservation increased from $369 million to $6,597 million.

U.S. Energy consumption was down from 101.4 quadrillion btu in 2007 to 98 qbtu in 2010. However, production was up from 71.4 qbtu in 2007 to 75.0 qbtu in 2010.

In 2010, wind received 42% of all federal subsidies for electricity production (page xviii) and produced 2.3% of electricity generated (page xx). Coal produced 44.9% and received 10% of the subsidies. Natural gas and oil (almost all natural gas) produced 25% and received 3.6% of the subsidies. Nuclear produced 19.6% and received 19.8% of the subsidies.

This translates to: $52.48/MWh for wind, $0.64/MWh for coal, $0.63/MWh for natural gas and oil, and $3.10/MWh for nuclear. Solar received $968/MWh. Hydro received $0.84/MWh.

[Note:  The subsidy for wind is partly inflated by one-time “Section 1603” grants provided by the 2009 economic recovery act in lieu of the production tax credit (which is spread over 10 years).]

Page xix has an interesting graph, showing the addition of new generating capacity from 1995 to 2010. Lots of new natural gas plant was added from 1999 to 2005, after which its annual increase remained fairly steady. Almost no new coal was added from 1997 to 2006, after which its annual increase is steady from 2007 to 2009 and then substantially increased in 2010 (more than one-fourth of all new capacity added that year, more than wind). 2007-2009 also corresponds to a substantial increase in wind. The variations in natural gas addition from 2007 to 2010 correspond almost exactly with those of wind.

(click to enlarge)

Download original document: “Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010”

Also see:  2013

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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