"Before going further, let me be clear: I’m pro-solar. I have 8.5 kilowatts of solar panels on my place here in Austin. (I got three different subsidies for putting them on my roof.) Solar is politically popular and it will continue to grow at a rapid clip in the years ahead.
But it’s also clear that the vast disparity in subsidies being given to solar and wind versus the amount being given to nuclear energy reflects the mismatch between the rhetoric about the possible threat of climate change and the reality of how Congress doles out money to politically connected industries. The world’s top climatologists have agreed that we will need more nuclear energy – at the gigawatt and terawatt scale — if we are going to have any hope of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also clear that we must also preserve and extend the operating lives of existing nuclear reactors. That’s not happening. Instead, reactors are being shuttered and their output is being replaced by natural gas-fired generators.
Even more galling: For years, the solar and wind sectors have claimed that they no longer need subsidies because they are cost-competitive with hydrocarbons. And yet the ITC and PTC continue to be extended. Those extensions are diverting billions of dollars from the federal treasury and into the coffers of foreign and domestic companies who are wrapping themselves in the cloak of climate change to justify their unending attachment to the federal teat."
Author Robert Bryce is an energy justice activist who writes about energy, power, innovation, and politics. He is the director / narrator of the 2018 film Juice: How Electricity Explains the World, in which he chronicles his global quest to discover where residents have access to electricity, and where they don't - and how it determines their destiny. His conclusion:
"Poverty, women’s rights, climate change — indeed, most of the world’s most pressing challenges — can be explained by answering one question: Can you turn your lights on in the morning?"
In 2015, Senator Charles Grassley (photo), the Iowa Republican, said, “As the father of the first wind-energy tax credit in 1992, I can say that the tax credit was never meant to be permanent.” But the government funding bill passed in December includes an extension of the tax credit that will cost taxpayers an additional $1.7 billion.