Where Energy Subsidies Go:

Today's WSJ reports on an Energy Information Administration study detailing current federal energy subsidies.

The agency reports that the total taxpayer bill was $16.6 billion in direct subsidies, tax breaks, loan guarantees and the like. That's double in real dollars from eight years earlier, as you'd expect given all the money Congress is throwing at "renewables." Even more subsidies are set to pass this year.

An even better way to tell the story is by how much taxpayer money is dispensed per unit of energy, so the costs are standardized. For electricity generation, the EIA concludes that solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and "clean coal" $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59. . . .

The same study also looked at federal subsidies for non-electrical energy production, such as for fuel. It found that ethanol and biofuels receive $5.72 per [million] British thermal unit[s] of energy produced. That compares to $2.82 for solar and $1.35 for refined coal, but only three cents per [million] BTU[s] for natural gas and other petroleum liquids.

UPDATE: I consulted the EIA report upon which this editorial is based, and it confirms (as some commenters suggested) that the size of subsidies for non-electricial energy production was overstated. The figures originally quoted are per million BTUs, not per BTU (see Table ES6).