U.S. spends heavily on renewables, but programs draw down

The Congressional Budget Office released a report suggesting that a substantial majority of energy subsidies in the U.S. went to renewable energy technologies last year.

All together, incentives for energy production provided by the federal government amounted to $24 billion in 2011. The vast majority of that came through various tax breaks, with the Department of Energy's loan guarantee and direct subsidy programs accounting for only 15 percent of all spending.

While most of last year's government spending stemmed from renewable energy subsidies, several of these programs, accounting for roughly 60 percent of all tax incentives or more than half of all spending, came to a close at the end of last year.

The CBO suggested that the tax incentives provided by the federal government were not necessarily effective, since they sometimes supported programs that would have been pursued without them. Meanwhile, $4 billion in spending by the DOE over the course of four years led to the investment of $25 billion in private loans for renewable energy companies and efficiency technology.

PennEnergy's Research area offers synopses of the global renewable energy sector.

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