Most people do not realize that for more than 40 years the federal government has been subsidizing the development of wind and solar energy to produce electricity. So far, federal subsidies for renewable energy total more than $100 billion. This is almost five times the size of the budget for the state of West Virginia.
These subsidies tilt the energy playing field by giving special tax breaks to companies that build and operate wind and solar facilities. One of these is called a production tax credit, which is used mostly by wind developers, and the other is an investment tax credit, which subsidizes mostly solar installations. These tax credits make wind and solar less expensive to build and operate than they would be without subsidies.