This report is one of a series of analyses of public incentives directed toward energy resources. The purpose of the series is to gain insights into the kinds and amounts of public incentives that could be required to induce 20% of the nation's energy budget from renewable resources by the year 2000. The initial analysis focused on federal incentives used to stimulate traditional energy production.
For many years, policy discussions have focused on strategies to bring down greenhouse gas emissions using taxes, permits and other regulatory or statutory limits. Yet fossil fuel markets across the world remain littered with government programs subsidizing these emissions. The subsidies are large and act as a negative tax on carbon, slowing the transition to cleaner fuels, weakening the impact of carbon constraints and absorbing a significant portion of government revenues in many countries.
Energy Subsidies within PJM: A Review of Key Issues in Light of Capacity Repricing and MOPR-Ex Proposals
In its proposed tariffs to remove potential distortions caused by subsidies in capacity markets, PJM includes a number of limitations and exclusions that appear to result in unequal evaluation of subsidies across different fuel cycles. This will likely impede PJM’s core objective of ensuring competitive, nondiscriminatory auctions in the wholesale capacity market.
This review assesses the House and Senate tax reform proposals as they relate to the energy sector. Three main areas are examined: cross-cutting changes to tax rates or baselines and whether some of them will have disproportionate or distortionary impacts on particular fuels; specific energy tax expenditures that are modified or repealed in the proposals; and baseline subsidies that remain untouched.
Earth Track Written Testimony on Federal Energy-Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers
Within the United States, the cost of energy subsidies to taxpayers is both substantial and often not properly documented. Regular review to evaluate the fiscal costs of these policies; their impact on market structure, competiveness, and environmental quality; and their ability to achieve stated goals is prudent.
My comments focus on three main issues:
Energy resources vary widely in terms of their capital intensity, reliance on centralized networks, environmental impacts, and energy security profiles. Although the policies of greatest import to a particular energy option may differ, their aggregate impact is significant. Subsidies to conventional fuels can slow research into emerging technologies, thereby delaying their commercialization. Subsidies and exemptions to polluting fuels reduce the incentive to develop and deploy cleaner alternatives.
Government subsidies to energy producers, transporters, and consumers are widespread throughout the world and represent a large public investment in the energy sector. In theory, this investment could be funding a variety of social goals such as providing the poor with access to basic energy services and addressing common environmental problems linked to energy extraction and consumption.
Although some subsidies do address these types of concerns, most either do not, or do not do so effectively.
Presentation at a meeting sponsored by the Energy Research Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission and the World Bank in Beijing, China. The presentation reviews existing estimates of global subsidies to energy, including their magnitude, differences in estimation methods and assumptions, reporting trends, and emerging issues.
We are grateful to the World Bank for making a Mandarin version of this presentation available as well.
Fossil fuel subsidies have allowed energy exporting countries to distribute resource revenue, bolstering legitimacy for governments, many of which are not democratically elected. But subsidy benefits are dwarfed by the harmful consequences of encouraging uneconomic use of energy. Now, with consumption posing a threat to long-term exports, governments face a heightened need to raise prices that have come to be viewed as entitlements.
Complex security, environmental, and economic trade-offs remain the norm for the energy sector. Government intervention is also the norm, and too often involves a torrent of energy plans, white-papers, and legislation. In an ideal world, government policies should work in tandem with market forces to achieve an adequate energy supply mix that is cleaner and more diverse than what preceded it. These synergies do not currently exist. Instead, there are thousands of government energy market interventions in place around the world - many of which act counter to stated energy securi