Paolo L Cozzi
Thanks to Ariel Horowitz for this New York Times article on the large amount of taxpayer subsidies for Renewable Energy.
- The Federal government has a number of policies in place to reduce risk to Renewable Energy project developer, including loan guarantees, grants from the treasury and other incentives
- From 2007 to 2010, federal subsidies jumped to $14.7 billion from $5.1 billion, according to a recent study.
- The Obama administration defends this use of taxpayer funds, arguing significant environmental and economic benefits to the projects.
- One project California, being brought online by NRG Energy will have nearly 1 million solar panels, power nearly 100,000 homes and cost taxpayers $1.6 billion dollars
- State Utility Commissions participate by determining the rates that the companies will receive for the electricity – in California, the NRG project will receive prices an estimated 50% higher than market value, paid by taxpayers.
- Most of these major renewable energy projects also benefit from state legislation that requires utilities to purchase a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources (known as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards)
What do you think about this?
Paolo L Cozzi
This article on potential significant changes in one of the most significant, high-profile Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects in the nation hits somewhat close to home, as the moderator (I), worked on assessing risk on the Futuregen project this summer at the Department of Energy. Futuregen is one of the United States’ most politically visible CCS projects. It started under George W. Bush, but was eventually abandoned in 2007. It was resurrected by the Obama administration as “Futuregen 2.0,” and has been a major part of the administration’s push to bring 5-10 CCS demonstration projects online by 2016, receiving over $1 billion in two separate Recovery Act (stimulus) grants, accounting for most of the $1.3 billion total cost.
Ameren, a major utility company which owns the plant in Meredosia where the retrofit to a new form of coal combustion with Carbon Capture is to take place, has indicated it plans to reduce its role in the project, aiming to hand over control to the Futuregen Alliance, the group in charge of building and maintaining the pipeline, storage facility and visitor’s center. The Department of Energy “remains committed to the demonstration of carbon capture and storage technologies at commercial scale and has been working to make FutureGen a reality,” according to a Department spokesperson.
Is Carbon Capture and Storage a viable option for a low-carbon future? Is it too risky? Should the government be spending large sums to bring it online? In the absence of a price on carbon, is there any way that CCS will make sense?