Renewable Energy

November 7, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 41
Should federal subsidies be eliminated?
By Mary H. Cooper


r19971107cover.gif (Photo Credit: Enron Renewable Energy Corporation)
(Photo Credit: Enron Renewable Energy Corporation)

In the early 1970s, a series of energy crises awakened the country to its growing dependence on foreign oil. In response, lawmakers created federal subsidies to help develop and promote solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. The goal was not only to develop more domestic energy sources but also to reduce the air pollution resulting from fossil fuel use. Today, however, oil and gas prices have fallen, foreign oil supplies appear reliable and renewables - despite the subsidies - have failed to capture much of the energy market. As Congress considers legislation that would deregulate the electric industry, some producers of oil, gas and coal - still the main sources of energy in the United States - say it's time to eliminate federal subsidies for renewable energy.

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