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Oil, gas is subsidized too, with money and lives

In response to the letter published Feb. 2 from Jim Dunmyer of Temperance: Mr. Dunmyer states that wind and solar energy are subsidized — a true statement. What Mr. Dunmyer omits mentioning is that oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are also richly subsidized, despite the fact that, in the case of fossil fuels, they have been mature industries for over a century.

Nuclear power, also a mature industry, has been heavily subsidized since the 1940s. Wind power, for instance, has been supported by government research in the 1970s, and the current Production Tax Credit was applied in the 1990s by, among others, conservative Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, to encourage renewable energy production.

Indeed, Mr. Grassley’s state will this year generate almost 40 percent of its electrical consumption by wind power — and has seen electric rates drop slightly over the last 20 years, as opposed to the average of other states, which has risen by a similar amount.

In the early 2020s, the Wind Production tax credit will lapse, leaving wind energy as the only form of production with no government subsidy — which is fine, because the subsidy has done its job, making wind currently the cheapest form of electricity production in the United States, according to surveys taken by the international accounting firm Lazard, which are available online. Solar energy has seen similar cost declines, and is itself about to compete with wind for lowest priced energy across the country in the early 2020s. It is telling that Mr. Dunmyer has nothing to say about the subsidies to fossil fuels, including the most devastating one of all — the continued U.S. military expenditures, punctuated by hugely expensive wars for oil, that have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in recent decades, and hundreds of thousands of human beings their lives — clearly a mere “externality” to the fossil fuel barons and Mr. Dunmyer.

With U.S. troops now being deployed to the vicinity of Venezuela, we now stand on the precipice of yet another devastating, costly conflict in an oil state, of which, apparently, Mr. Dunmyer remains blissfully unaware.

The coming decade will continue to see widespread adoption of renewables, as the Wall Street Journal has recently reported that global investment in renewables last year was more than double that for obsolete, polluting, deadly fossil fuels.

Peter Sinclair Midland

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