A top Republican senator tells Fox News Digital that solar should be fighting for sales in the market, not for handouts in Washington.
The Biden administration quietly released a 59-page study about the current scope of federal energy funding. The report showed that the green energy industry gets a lot more money from taxpayers than the fossil fuel business.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy wrote and released the report in August. It is the first of its kind since 2018. The EIA looked at data from 2016 to 2022 and found that the federal government gave out $183.3 billion in direct and mostly secondary subsidies to taxpayers during that time. More than half of those subsidies came in the last three years.
“Democrats have said for years that solar energy and other new technologies are cheaper than coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Fox News Digital, “This report makes it clear that solar relies heavily on subsidies paid for by taxpayers.”
In a letter to Stephen Nalley, who was the acting administrator of the EIA at the time, Barrasso and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., asked for the study in early 2021. They wanted it to help Congress make policy decisions. The two said that such a study would be especially important “as Congress considers calls for a greater level of federal involvement in the nation’s energy systems and markets.”
“American families already pay too much for energy under the Biden Administration,” said the Wyoming Republican. “They shouldn’t have to give their hard-earned money to left special groups. Solar should compete for sales in the market, not for handouts in Washington.
According to the EIA study, green energy sources like wind and solar power make up about 21% of U.S. electricity production, but they got $83.8 billion in funding, which is by far the most of any other group.
The EIA study says that energy end use subsidies, such as tax measures linked to energy efficiency and saving, were the second biggest part of government support for the energy industry after green power. End-use sources got subsidies worth $64.8 billion, which is 35% of all the payments the federal government gave out for energy.
More than 80% of all energy industry subsidies went to renewable and end-use sources. Natural gas, petroleum, and oil, which make up more than 60% of electricity production and the vast majority of transportation energy, got $24.5 billion, or 13%, of all energy industry subsidies.
During the time period looked at, nuclear power, which makes up another 18% of U.S. energy, got $2.9 billion in subsidies, or 2% of all subsidies.
The report’s results show that a lot more public money is spent on green energy per unit of energy created than on fossil fuel energy for the same amount of energy.
For example, natural gas power made 44.9 quadrillion British thermal units in 2022, which was 45% of all the energy made in the country, but taxpayers had to pay $2.3 billion for it. That means that the natural gas business got about $0.05 for every million British thermal units (MMBtu) it made.
In 2022, the solar business made about 0.6 quadrillion British thermal units, which was less than 1% of all the energy made in the U.S. economy, but it got $7.5 billion in funding. That means that the solar energy business got $11.9 for every MMBtu it made last year.
When compared to coal power, which got $873 million in subsidies last year even though it made 18 times as much electricity as solar power, the results are just as clear.
But President Biden, his staff, and a number of well-known Democratic politicians have called for an end to fossil fuel handouts, saying that they distort the market and hurt renewable energy sources unfairly.
“The President wants to stop giving oil and gas companies tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks. Even though they get tax breaks worth billions of dollars, oil companies haven’t put any money into production, the White House said earlier this year.
Biden made the comment after he showed off his planned budget for fiscal year 2024. In it, he said he wanted to take away $31 billion in “special tax treatment” for oil and gas company investments and other tax breaks for fossil fuels over the next few years.
“We are making the danger worse. “As we’ll hear today, the United States gives money from taxpayers to the fossil fuel industry,” said Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., head of the Senate Budget Committee, at a meeting in May. “In the United States, people pay about $20 billion a year to the fossil fuel business, according to some figures. For that, what do we get? Most economists agree: “not much.”
“But the biggest subsidy is the free pass to pollute,” he said. “The IMF calls this world free pass a “hidden” support for fossil fuels. Economists refer to it as an “unpriced externality.” Behind these words that sound harmless, there is a lot of harm.