A new report reveals the billions of dollars in subsidies being quietly shelled out to renewable energy technologies, all on the back of the American taxpayer.
The renewable industry’s dependence on government subsidies has been well documented, but a recent American Rising Squared investigation painted a more clear picture of just how much state and federal taxpayer money is being spent to prop up solar and wind energy companies. Among the key findings: billions in financial aid from the federal government and a burgeoning number of programs at the state level to keep otherwise-noncompetitive renewable energy companies afloat.
At the national level, U.S. taxpayers were charged over $13 billion through federal expenditures relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2016 alone.
Policy aimed at supporting renewable energy production has proliferated in recent time. Eight states have established renewable goals and nearly 30 have renewable portfolio standards. Minnesota tops the list when it comes to subsidy programs for renewable energy technologies, having more than any other state in the country. Additionally, there are a total of 86 different programs offering financial incentives for solar energy, with California managing 25 programs alone.
“Billions in federal and state spending for this elaborate tapestry of mismatched, ineffective, redundant, and short-sighted programs continue to move forward without critical or objective review. The plain fact is that America’s bureaucrats continue to throw billions of taxpayer dollars toward renewable energy without asking the hard and inconvenient questions,” an America Rising Squared Friday statement noted about the findings.
The investigation also dives into the process required to operate “clean” energy. For example, the manufacturing of many renewable energy products requires the extraction of rare earth metals such as Gallium, Indium and Tellurium. The process to extract and refine rare earth materials — elements necessary in the construction of electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines — is extremely energy intensive.
“The process of shaping America’s energy policy, particularly when it comes to renewable energy and their connection to critical materials like rare earth, lacks the essential simplicity for average Americans to understand. The government’s objectives appear primarily political, with neither clear ‘big picture’ goals nor the strong leadership needed to chart a logical path forward,” the America Rising Squared statement continued.
The findings come as more reports indicate the hidden costs of renewable energy.
A 2017 study initiated by the Montana legislature revealed net metering customers in the state were being overcompensated for their solar energy by about three times the market value — that price falling on the backs of non-net metering customers.
The New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill on Thursday allocating more money into the renewable energy industry, with a goal of making solar, wind and other renewables account for 50 percent of the state’s total energy use by 2030.
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