Renewable Energy World
For at least the last 40 years, since the oil shocks in the 1970s, dealing with fossil fuel subsidies has been on the international agenda. There have been various pronouncements of intention during that time from the G7, G8, G20 and other ‘G’ bodies, although nothing much has happened; except that the numbers of billions of dollars spent by governments each year on subsidizing both production and consumption of oil, coal and gas have generally increased.
For many years, this was an important component of the debate about renewable energy, and one of our key arguments in the cost debate. Now that wind (and now also solar) are becoming more and more competitively priced against heavily subsidized incumbents, you don’t hear so much on the subject in renewable energy circles, although it is a useful argument to have handy when out-of-touch incumbents argue about how heavily subsidized renewables are. By the most conservative estimates, fossil fuel subsidies are five times that for renewables, and most estimates would put it much higher, some by an order of magnitude.