US subsidies for renewables fall 56% in 3 yrs

Chart by EIA (www.eia.gov).

April 30 (Renewables Now) - In the US the amount of federal subsidies received by renewables in transport and electricity has halved from USD 15.26 billion (EUR 12.6bn) in fiscal 2013 to USD 6.68 billion in fiscal 2016.

The share of renewables in total federal energy subsidies stood at 45% in fiscal 2016, down from 52% in 2013.

The drop in subsidies came as a result of a significant decrease in subsidies for renewable generation of electricity, from USD 13.4 billion to USD 3.9 billion. Subsidies for biofuels for transportation use, however, grew to USD 2.8 billion from USD 1.9 billion. This is according to the “Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2016” report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). It has been prepared at the request of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for updated energy subsidy information needed for the study on grid resiliency.

Federal subsidies for energy in the country come in the form of tax expenditures, direct expenditures, research and development (R&D), and credit subsidies to recipients of federal loan guarantees. The first category accounted for 80% or USD 5.6 billion of renewables subsidies in 2016. Biofuels are responsible for 51% of that, and then come the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for large wind and solar parks.

The PTC and ITC credits taken in fiscal 2016 stood at around USD 1.4 billion and USD 1.2 billion, respectively, according to EIA’s calculations.

Direct expenditures for renewables fell to roughly USD 909 million in 2016 from nearly USD 8.72 billion in 2013 because support under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) decreased. Federal R&D expenditures for renewables almost halved to USD 456 million from USD 864 million, while federal loan guarantee subsidies amounted to zero in the years under review.

The table shows details on subsidies by technology.

Subsidies in millions Fiscal 2016 Fiscal 2013
Biomass 79 572
Geothermal 86 358
Hydro 38 233
Solar 2,231 5,756
Wind 1,266 6,187
Subtotal renewables in power 3,869 13,387
Biofuels 2,813 1,878
Coal 1,262 1,094
Natural gas and petroleum liquids (773) 2,796
Nuclear 365 1,390

The EIA report examines only federal subsidies and financial interventions targeted exclusively at energy markets that have an identifiable budget impact.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.83)

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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