This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 23, 2002

Report Questions Government Support for Renewable Energy

A report issued early this month by the Cato Institute, a non-profit public policy research foundation, says that government subsidies for renewable energy sources are unwarranted. The report says that renewable energy is not likely to gain significant market share in the foreseeable future without a significant increase in government subsidies or mandates. The report also claims that the environmental benefits of renewable energy could be achieved more cheaply using other technologies.

The report does acknowledge that government subsidies for fully commercialized fossil energy technologies — oil, coal, and natural gas — are nearly double those for renewable energy, while nuclear and fossil fuels are also receiving more research and development funds. It also suggests that natural gas prices and availability will remain stable for the foreseeable future. See the Cato Institute press release, with a link to the full report.