Get Smart about Comparing Energy Subsidies


Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Doug Koplow, energy subsidy expert extrordinaire and founder of, for a webinar to help us all better understand how exactly fossil fuels are subsidized.

In the hyperbole and questionable headlines of an election year, some facts and figures are refreshing. One of the highlights of Doug’s presentation – this handy slide:

The biggest takeaway for us: It’s very difficult to make meaningful comparisons of subsidies across energy technologies. As Doug explained, it’s like comparing apples, oranges, and puppies. Most of the news headlines are based on studies with highly questionable assumptions and major data gaps.

The truth is while clean energy subsidies are under the magnifying glass, enormous fossil fuel subsidies have been baked into our national policies for decades. We believe the purpose of subsidies is to commercialize a technology that is broadly beneficial – subsidies are temporary measures designed to achieve scale and bring down costs. Which begs the question – why are we still subsidizing fossil fuels at all?

Check out the webinar for yourself to get informed so you can explain the facts to your family, friends, and policymakers. You’ll also find the full slide deck here.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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