DOE FY 2016 Funding Request Up 42.3% for Energy Efficiency and Renewables

The FY 2016 funding request for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy area is $2.72 billion. This is a 42.3% increase when compared to the FY 2014 and FY 2015 budget for the same area, ref. 1. The enacted DOE budget for FY’s 2014 and 2015 total $3.8 billion.

The Obama administration continues to support wind energy by picking it as a winner in its quest for clean energy. Not only is DOE requesting $2.72 billion for wind energy development, taxpayers support a wasteful wind production tax credit, ref. 2. This tax credit has been in place for 22 years. Extending the wind subsidy for just one year costs the taxpayer more than $6.0 billion. This subsidy to Big Wind is so generous that in some markets, some wind producers can literally give away their electricity and still make a profit. This phenomenon is called “negative pricing” and it has the effect of making nuclear and coal electric plants less competitive and more likely to close.

After 22 years and billions of dollars of subsidy, wind produces only 4% (when the wind blows) of our electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. To run the U.S. economy entirely on wind would require a wind farm the size of Texas, California and New Mexico combined and backed up by natural gas on windless days, ref. 3. Two fundamental problems that wind and solar have is: first, they take up too much land area and second, they produce small amounts of energy per acre of land when compared to conventional electric power plants.

References:
1. “Nearly $30 billion sought for FY 2016″ Nuclear News, p. 82, March 2015.
2. Alexander, Lamar, U.S. Senator (R, Tenn.) “The United States without nuclear power.”, Nuclear News, p. 20, March 2015.
3. Ridley, Matt, “Fossil Fuels Will Save the World(Really).”, The Wall Street Journal, p. C6, March 14, 2015.