Use EnergyFactCheck To Set the Record Straight on Renewable Energy

We hear these lines all the time from opponents of renewable energy and now there’s an easy way for you to fact check them – at ACORE’s EnergyFactCheck.org:

"Tax credits and government subsidies for renewable energy cost too much."

"Renewable energy industries need to be able to stand on their own two feet, just like coal, oil and natural gas."

"State mandates for renewable energy will send electric rates soaring and the lights may not stay on."

Statements like this are often presented by politicians and fossil fuel corporations as undeniable facts. You know they aren’t true, but how can you get your hand on the facts easily?

The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) has launched an enhanced version of EnergyFactCheck.org site. In addition to being able to fact check as in the previous version, you can quickly find:

  • State Profiles: key statistics on every state, key developments and attempts to repeal supportive policies 
  • Industry Portfolios: key data on energy efficiency and various renewable technologies; and topics (Costs, Jobs, Investment, National Security, Reliability)
  • Blog on trending topics in renewable energy

"America’s energy portfolio – and the debate shaping that portfolio – is changing," says ACORE. "A credible voice for the clean energy industry has never been more important."

Let’s see how the Energy Fact Check can help put some context around ongoing battles to halt or roll back support for renewables, as in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and West Virginia as well as at the national level.

Consider, for example, this statement by Ken Merchant (R-TX), who is sponsoring the Production Tax Credit Elimination Act with Mike Pompeo (R-KS).

"If we want to build a healthier American economy, Congress must get rid of the dead weight in the tax code that is limiting our nation’s potential. That’s why I have introduced legislation to eliminate the production tax credit (PTC). Since its creation in 1992, the PTC has ballooned from a temporary boost for energy innovation into a massive special interest handout for the now multibillion-dollar wind industry. Today the wind industry regularly produces more energy than the market demands while hardworking taxpayers shell out billions of dollars each year in PTC support. In fact, because the credit pays claimants for 10 years of energy produced, Americans are currently on the hook for a minimum of $6.4 billion over the next decade.

However, the facts are, according to EnergyFactCheck:

FACT: Clean energy tax incentives like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) have spurred intense job creation and cost reduction in the renewable energy industry, providing benefits that far outweigh the tax revenue lost. Other industries have been claiming — and continue to claim – similar tax incentives." [fossil fuels and nuclear]

They back it up with data, for example:

  • The ITC provides a 126% average return on investment to the federal government over the life of a solar project. (US Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, July 2012)
  • Tax credits for fossil fuels and nuclear are permanent.(US. Congressional Budget Office, March 2012
  • The oil and gas industries have received about $447 billion in subsidies in the US, as opposed to $5.93 billion for renewables, since 1918. (DBL Investors, September 2011)
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