Can Renewables Compete?

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Q & A with Alternative Energy Expert Scott Sklar

Q. I was in a debate with someone who said that renewable
(solar, wind, hydroelectricity, etc.) energy should just compete in
a free market like every other industry and should stop receiving
government and state subsidies. I wanted to disagree with him, but
I didn’t have the facts.

? John Z.; Denver, Colorado

A. The United States subsidizes its coal and oil industries
more than any other country, so there is no ‘free market.’ Some
examples of these subsidies are oil and gas depletion allowances,
special treatments for coal royalties, tax waivers for companies
with overseas refineries and federal appropriations for black/brown
lung benefits for coal miners. There are many other subsidies, and
they all total billions of dollars per year.

In comparison, renewable energy receives much less ? under $100
million per year in subsidies. If we are going to shift to
renewable energy before oil and gas run out, we need to shift
taxpayer subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables.