by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Dan Way reports this morning for Carolina Journal:
The state’s renewable energy investment tax credit program expired Dec. 31, 2015. Yet the state paid $454 million in the subsidies the past two years, including a record $245 million for calendar year 2016. It’s likely the state might forgo hundreds of millions more in tax revenue through 2020.
The program may be dead, but many of the tax credits remain alive. It was structured to issue tax credits equaling 35 percent of the money companies invested in renewable projects. Investors also have up to five years to claim the credits against the taxes they owe. Not surprisingly, companies with big tax bills tend to use credits the most.
In 2017 the state paid $209 million in credits, including $1 million or more to 41 entities, based on state Department of Revenue data. Of the recipients, 31 were large insurance companies, four were big banks, and two were electric utilities. Only three were people. Apple rounded out the list.
That ought to serve as a reminder that the “moneyed interests” in the energy policy debate are often on the side of renewables, given the generous subsidies and cronyism available. If you’re wanting a low-emissions source of electricity that doesn’t vacuum up subsidies like a blue whale does krill, look to natural gas.
Here’s a link that lists several ways in which renewable energy is dependent upon government goodies to survive.