Failing the laugh test: Wind, solar power make subsidy accusations

The lavishly subsidized wind and solar power industries apparently don’t like other meth dealers – er, make that energy subsidy recipients – on their federal-pork street corner. The evidence? Wind and solar apologists are squealing with outrage that coal and nuclear power may finally get their own small piece of the action.

For important context, the wind and solar power industries each receive such enormous taxpayer subsidies that all other energy industries combined do not receive as much taxpayer pork as either wind or solar power alone. According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, the net subsidies for coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power combined amount to only 1/9th of the amount of federal renewable energy subsidies (see Table 3:

Keeping wind and solar power’s dominance of the energy subsidy racket in mind, wind and solar apologists are making laughable objections to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to provide credit – on energy security grounds – to power facilities that can produce electricity 24/7 and can store their fuel onsite. With coal and nuclear power fitting these energy security goals, and wind and solar power falling short, renewable power apologists claim energy security considerations amount to “subsidies” and “bailouts” for coal and nuclear power.

For example, University of Michigan professor Mark J. Perry argued Tuesday in the Washington Examiner ( that coal and nuclear power “are being pushed out of competitive electricity markets by an abundance of cheap natural gas and renewable energy.” He may be correct that low natural gas prices are giving coal and nuclear power a run for their money, but wind and solar power prices certainly don’t. It is precisely because wind and solar power are so expensive and unreliable that the wind and solar industries need lavish subsidies and renewable power mandates to force consumers to purchase their products.

Perry digs himself a deeper hole by calling energy security considerations a “bailout” and then arguing, “It is time to let natural gas and renewable power earn their fair share of the electricity market, unencumbered by government interference.”

“Unencumbered by government interference”?!! This is a renewable power apologist talking? Forgive us for spewing our coffee all over our keyboard as we read this.

Free-market economists can debate whether the federal government should assign preference to baseload power that is available 24/7 and is relatively immune to supply interruptions. But people championing wind and solar power are the last ones who can criticize coal and nuclear power finally being considered for a small portion of the renewable power industry’s federal energy subsidies.


About the Author: CFACT

CFACT defends the environment and human welfare through facts, news, and analysis.