California's nuclear energy industry has received $8.21 billion in federal subsidies over the last 50 years, while solar continues to struggle, receiving less support than nuclear did in its earliest years, according to a report released Monday by DBL Investors.
The report, “Ask Saint Onofrio: Finding What Has Been Lost in A Tale of Two Energy Sources,” compares federal subsidies for nuclear energy to those provided for distributed solar energy.
"In keeping with our nation's tradition of supporting the emergence of new energy sources, federal subsidies were necessary and highly-effective for the early growth of the nuclear industry and have been vital to the recent growth of the nascent distributed solar industry," said Nancy Pfund, report co-author and Managing Partner of DBL Investors.
“Nuclear energy has received four times more federal support than distributed solar over a period six times as long,” DBL said in a press release. “While solar is beginning to comprise a significant portion of installed capacity in California, it has received less support than nuclear did in its earliest years. At the same time, the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has reduced California's in-state nuclear generation by almost 50 percent.”
"The difference is that despite the declining role of nuclear power in the Golden State, federal subsidies for nuclear have become a perpetuity,” Pfund added. “Meanwhile, solar subsidies are at risk of ending during the industry's infancy,"
Total U.S. solar generation
According to a report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, solar generation for the U.S. in 2013 will be only 0.2 percent of the total power produced. However, solar generation is expected to grow by 79 percent in 2013 and 49 percent in 2014.
Contrary to popular belief, federal subsidy levels for alternative energy sources have been much lower than subsidies for "traditional" energy sources, such as coal, gas and nuclear, DBL added.
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