Report: Support for renewables strong in 2011, but could fall

Thursday, March 8, 2012 @ 12:03 PM
posted by rene5432

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office suggests that government support for renewable electricity has risen dramatically in recent years, but that could change starting in 2012.

The CBO report found that the U.S. federal government spent a total of $24 billion on all forms of energy. Support for the industry had been rising steadily since the mid 1980s, after a sharp drop, but in 2009 support for renewable electricity and energy efficiency more than doubled.

Now, in 2011, renewable electricity accounted for a substantial majority of all U.S. government subsidies.

But that strong support for clean energy might not last. The report found that 60 percent of all tax incentives for for energy were set to expire at the end of 2011. Tax incentives accounted for 85 percent of all spending, meaning that more than half of all support for the energy sector expired at the start of the year.

Perhaps more importantly, not a single one of the incentives being offered for renewable electricity has been made permanent. The only four permanent supports are gong to fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Power Engineering magazine notes that Congress has begun to consider a new national clean energy standard, but its chances of gaining approval are uncertain.

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