Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources [September 18, 2012]   [open pdf - 440KB]

"The majority of energy produced in the United States is derived from fossil fuels. In recent years, however, revenue losses associated with tax incentives that benefit renewables have exceeded revenue losses associated with tax incentives benefitting fossil fuels. As Congress evaluates the tax code and various energy tax incentives, there has been interest in understanding how energy tax benefits under the current tax system are distributed across different domestic energy resources. In 2010, fossil fuels accounted for 78.0% of U.S. primary energy production. The remaining primary energy production is attributable to nuclear electric and renewable energy resources, with shares of 11.2% and 10.7%, respectively. Primary energy production using renewable energy resources includes both electricity generated using renewable resources, including hydropower, as well as renewable fuels (e.g., biofuels). The value of federal tax support for the energy sector was estimated to be $19.1 billion in 2010. Of this, roughly one-third ($6.3 billion) was for tax incentives that support renewable fuels. Another $6.7 billion can be attributed to tax-related incentives supporting various renewable energy technologies (e.g., wind and solar). Targeted tax incentives supporting fossil energy resources totaled $2.4 billion. This report provides an analysis of the value of energy tax incentives relative to primary energy production levels. Relative to their share in overall energy production, renewables receive more federal financial support through the tax code than energy produced using fossil energy resources. Within the renewable energy sector, relative to the level of energy produced, biofuels receive the most tax-related financial support."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41953
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