The next time that someone complains that solar energy is too expensive and will never be competitive with coal, oil or natural gas, throw a few of these numbers their way: $72 billion – that’s how much money the US government spent between 2002 and 2008 on subsidies for fossil fuels according to a report by the Environmental Law Institute. That’s over $10 billion a year. And how much of that — you wonder — was spent to subsidize renewable energy over the same period? $29 billion – and half of that, was spent on ethanol subsidies alone. Uncle Sam spent twice as much to subsidize fossil fuel production and consumption and only 15% was spent to subsidize the renewable energies that really can change the way the world generates electricity (solar, wind, biomass, etc.).
During the week when world leaders were debating how to solve global warming at the Copenhagen climate summit, the world’s largest power generation exposition and conference (known as Power-Gen International) was held at the opposite end of the globe, at viva Las Vegas. This was a huge conference with over 18,000 delegates from more than 25 countries.