Should Wind and Solar Stand on Their Own?

<em>The Wall Street Journal</em> invites Mark Muro, with the Brookings Institution, and David Kreutzer, with the Heritage Foundation, to debate the merits of government subsidies for the development of wind and solar power in the United States.
October 10, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The impending expiration of a federal tax credit for wind-power producers, which many agree will likely result in widespread layoffs and factory closures, has sparked a larger debate about the continued use of government subsidies to aid the development of alternative energy resources. The Journal presents both sides of the subsidy debate.

From Mark Muro (pro-subsidy): "Federal subsidies for wind and solar power production are working. In fact, they're working so well that they don't need to continue much longer. But we do need to extend them for a few more years so that they can fulfill their purpose....The ultimate reward is cheaper, cleaner energy and greater energy diversity, which will help guard against price shocks, keep energy costs down through competition and lessen the damage our energy consumption does to the environment, among other things."

From David Kreutzer (anti-subsidy): "The problem with subsidizing wind and solar power is that subsidies don't make these unaffordable energy sources affordable, they just change who pays....The argument that wind and solar energy are on the verge of being cost-effective is an old one, dating at least to the early 1990s. And yet we are still handing out subsidies that supposedly will push them over that line in just a few more years. It's time to stop. With a phaseout or not, extending subsidies is just more of the same."

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Published on Monday, October 8, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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