Monday, April 11, 2011

What if solar energy got the same subsidies as fossil fuels?

Knowing this is possible, and that American energy companies are fighting to keep it out of our reach, drives me crazy.


  1. Anonymous5:37 AM

    We had breakfast with friends a couple days ago and this was one of the things that we talked about. The good news is that the renewable energy is there. Hopefully it won't take too long to use it for our major sources of energy.

  2. Anonymous5:42 AM

    That is amazing, thanks!

  3. Anonymous5:51 AM

    What if ALL promising renewable energies got subsidies? This is a young industry, and it deserves the same kind of support that fossil-fuel electricity grids and distribution got, as well as fossil-fuel transportation methods. Don't forget the enormous amount of government money spent in the interstate highway system.

    I personally think the Constitution allows for Congress to over-ride Rick Scott's decision to ax the SunRail in Florida. It's criminally stupid that we still don't have nationwide high speed rail in an era of $2, $3, $4 a gallon gas!

  4. California Dreamin'5:51 AM

    I've been convinced for quite some time that there is a conspiracy on the part of the big oil companies to keep us addicted to fossil fuels. We've known since the 70s that we needed to find alternative sources of energy and very little has been done to accomplish this. After all, look at all those big oil profits that would go bye-bye if we were offered clean, renewable, SUSTAINABLE energy generated by the sun or wind.

    Instead, we hear "drill, baby, drill" and "the green industry won't create many jobs" propaganda from the right.

  5. Anonymous5:52 AM

    And I'm tired of our energy policy being held back by a bunch of rightwing nihilists. Get the fuck out of the way!

  6. London Bridges5:55 AM


    Can you post a link to Where we can find this graphic on the internet? Some of us with small monitors cant read it very well, and this is one I want to be able to send around!

  7. angela6:14 AM

    Its about time we went all in with renewable energy sources . . . . Of course the oil industry will try to eat our children.

  8. Anonymous6:52 AM

    The biggest mistake most people make is in thinking this is a young industry. It is NOT. It was young in the early 70's when Carter wanted to increase subsidies to the new greener fuels and take them away from oil and gas. The powers that be would not have that so they got Carter out (see anything on the hostage situation and release AFTER the 80 election) and Reagan in. The renewable industry went down the shitter. I know as I was poised to enter that field as an engineer and could not find a job to save my soul once the fix was in (well before the actual election to be honest with you).
    The fact that we are still sucking off the oil teat from any country (even our own) is a crime against humanity.

  9. Anonymous6:56 AM

    London Bridges, here is a link:

    and a slower one:

    You can also right-click to save the smaller graphic on Gryphen's site on your computer, and once there, zoom in.

    Great graphic, great article.

  10. Anonymous7:06 AM

    My sis works for a very progressive town in the NE. When they build new city buildings or remodel, they always attempt to use green building techniques and systems. She tells me that all the advanced building materials, and systems they buy are made outside the us and for the most part they are not available here.

    Even when you look at the high cost for green building systems, the savings over time are well worth it. Large municipalities and corporations are doing green building now because it makes sense and saves money.

  11. Anonymous7:54 AM

    Recently, I installed solar panels on my house. Not only am I generating my own electricity, I am selling my surplus BACK to the electric company. Yep, you heard right. Sold the surplus back and just got a check for $83.46. You get a tax credit for installing them now,too. Nice!

  12. Punkinbugg7:55 AM

    When we drive from Dallas to Lubbock to see our kiddo at Texas Tech, we pass through one of the largest wind farms in the U.S., near Roscoe, Tx. Graceful white turbines dot the dry, dusty landscape for as far as the eye can see. I love it... and it smells much nicer than the oil and gas pumps surrounding Post, Tx.

    We have chosen to buy our electricity from Green Mountain Energy, which generates from 100% renewable resources.

    You'd think the state of Texas would be forever in bed with the oil & gas industry, and to a large extent, it is, but... that hasn't stopped us from developing and selling the one thing we've got plenty of: WIND, and lotsssss of it.

  13. Anonymous8:29 AM

    Watch, part of the Republican cuts will be to the solar and wind subsidies and not the fossil fuels. Anyone an expert in their proposed cuts?

  14. Chenagrrl8:51 AM

    Like the car companies fought seat belts.

    Wonderful graphics.

  15. emrysa8:52 AM

    the billionaires will fight to the death (of everyone!) to keep their profits. because of this the only way that renewables will get a foothold is by government mandates and subsidies.

    in many ways, america is a colony. only it's not owned by another country, it's owned by the billionaires.

    one of the biggest problems with solar to the hard-core capitalists is that it is decentralized, which makes it difficult for them to make the obscene money they have been making. while decentralization is very good for the people, it's not as good for profits as the current mode. unfortunately it's going to take drastic government action to move us in the right direction. and we all know how much people here love drastic government action.

    last year my state passed a law that allows the power company to collect additional funds from consumers so that they can build a new nuclear plant in the future. the plant has not been designed or approved, but the state is allowing them to collect funds for it. it's criminal - they'll collect fees up front from consumers and then get millions in federal subsidies. ultimately the for-profit corporation will not have to put out a dime of their own money. why didn't the power company ask the legislature for up-front money from the consumers to build solar facilities when we have tons of sun and land? yeah that's a rhetorical question. fucking greedy criminals.

  16. Anonymous9:13 AM

    The sun does not discriminate who receives its rays, except Alaska when the high north latitude bends away for a good chunk of the year.

    Because the sun is accessible to all, and the Koch Brother's can't own the sun (I'm sure if solar power takes root, they'll figure out a way) solar power will finally be subsidized for them to make a fortune.

  17. Thanks for pointing this out. I'd also point out that sadly our elected officials are sheeple not leaders Gryphen. They are owned by the corporations in this country. The Knik Arm Bridge ticks me off too. Why aren't we developing hydroelectric or geothermal projects with this money? Instead they want to build a toll bridge that some Alaskans will use but many more will not. How much income will that generate? Pitiful.

  18. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Yes, 6:52 AM - You are correct in saying this is not a young industry.

    Sandia Corp. supported Solar II at Daggett, California (10 miles east of Barstow) with the installation of the ONLY 24/7 DELIVERY OF SOLAR ENERGY in the successful prototype MOLTEN SALT RECEIVER with all the heliostats and the tower still intact today, at that site. It is secured behind iron fencing but the heliostats and tower are visible from the fence.

    I have toured the facility with the original designer who received a national award for his work decades ago.

    He also was honored by DC dignitaries in 1996 when Solar II was ceremoniously connected to the electric grid and producing 10 megawatts. Now mothballed.

    Just google "Sandia or "molten salt receiver" or "Sandia molten salt receiver" to view the installation and read the narratives. The molten salt stores the energy which can be utilized in the dark of night or any other time chosen.

    European countries are considering a small (very small, think minute) parcel of the Sahara Desert to install the molten salt solar collector for Europe. Desertec is the name of the project. Google has many sites listed for this project.

    Oil owns America. Don't ever question that.

  19. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Stockholm is an excellent example of using waste to power a large city, so don't limit your imagination to solar and wind. They have cut dependence to fossil fuels down to 3% from 80%. let me try this link:

  20. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Burying technology that does not benefit the big oil corpora-terrorists is nothing new. I remember my father talking about a carburator that was invented in the 1930's that would get 100 mpg. The inventor thought he was selling his patent to a company that would produce them on a large scale. Unfortunately that company was owned by big oil. It was buried. That's why we still get lousy gas mileage.

    Big oil will fight anything and everything that will cut into their record profits. Welcome to the Corporate Sates of America - of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. They are PEOPLE according to the supreme court.

  21. Anonymous2:57 PM

    That money Obama gave for speed trains to nowhere and would not be ready any but very limited use for decades,could have given hundreds of small communities solar panels and small locally owned and controlled wind turbines to ease the cost of energy for all residents,as well as doing the same on an even smaller scale for rural homesteads.

    There aren't all that many place in the US that don't get a good bit of wind and sun on a yearly basis.
    If the units are linked into a commercial grid any surplus on really windy or sunny days can be sold to the supplier of the commercial grid.

    But I suspect the coal companies really hate that idea as does big oil.

    But Obama is the POTUS and he could have done it anyway.

  22. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Don't forget about wind, We have wasted so many decades already not shifting our investment to renewable energy??

  23. Anonymous9:12 PM

    My husband works in wind energy and he says everyone is worried about their jobs. It's a political hot button as well as a financial one for those in the pockets of big oil.

    Anon 6:52 is correct. Reagan completely stripped renewable energy down to nothing. It's like a roller coaster. Whenever there is a political shift, the funding goes up and down and up and down...feast or famine.

    It's not just "save the planet," it's also a matter of national security. Why be at the mercy of other countries (which we always will be because we cannot meet our demand for fossil fuels no matter how much digging we do) when we can harness our own renewable resources.

    So many other countries are working their asses off to develop their alternative fuel technologies, including China. Meanwhile we're being pulled back into the dark ages.

  24. "The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun."
    — Ralph Nader

  25. In 1900, Nikola Tesla said, “If we use fuel to get our power we are living on our capital - this method is barbarous.”

  26. While it's interesting to see the massive subsidies fossil fuels receive, I think the infographic leaves out important information. Of the 67,550 trillion btu of grid energy consumed in the US in 2009 (excluding transportation), 109 trillion btu came from solar/photovoltaic. Solar accounts for 0.16% of US power on the grid. Solar receives 1.4% of our subsidy dollars to generate 1/10th that proportion of electricity.


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