Federal Energy Subsidies Continue to Cost Taxpayers Billions per Year

Mar 13, 2013

Washington D.C. – The Subcommittee on Energy today held a hearing to examine various forms of federal financial support for the development and production of fuels and energy technologies. 

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.): “I strongly support an all-of-the-above energy policy that favors any and all sources of energy that can stand on its own merit.  Picking winners and losers - usually just losers - is not the right approach.  Government should work to ensure Americans have access to abundant, affordable, and reliable energy, and target taxpayer resources to fundamental research that could one day enable these technologies to compete without expensive subsidies or mandates. Doing so would not only help bring energy independence and grow our economy, but it would bring revenue to the Treasury.”

As the centerpiece of his energy policy, President Obama has significantly increased federal spending on certain forms of energy through the use of tax incentives, loan guarantees, and direct spending on research, development, demonstration and commercialization activities.  A witness today from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office testified that federal energy tax subsidies will total more than $16 billion in 2013, up from just $5 billion in 2005. 

Chairman Lummis: “This increase reflects President Obama’s interest in rapid deployment of green energy technologies no matter the price tag.  January’s ‘fiscal cliff’ deal is a prime example.  The White House was reportedly ‘absolutely insistent’ that the package extend and expand the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy.  This one-year extension will cost taxpayers at least $12 billion.”

Nearly 70 percent of the energy-related tax incentives in 2011 were directed toward renewable energy technologies, and 10 percent were dedicated to energy efficiency.

The following witnesses testified:

Dr. Terry Dinan, Senior Analyst, Congressional Budget Office

Ms. Mary Hutzler, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for Energy Research

Mr. Malcolm Woolf, Senior Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs, Advanced Energy Economy