Only pennies for renewable energy

Sunday, November 7, 2010; 7:44 PM

The Nov. 5 news story "Obama shifting climate strategy after GOP gains," about President Obama taking a different approach to pushing energy legislation, mentioned Sen.-elect Rand Paul's Web site, which states that "we should not be subsidizing solar and wind power."

In 2008 the fossil fuel industry received close to $557 billion in tax breaks and subsidies, while renewable sources of energy received about a tenth of that. Virginia has a coal production tax credit that costs the state $35 million in tax revenue yet only modest solar incentives for manufacturing and none for installation of systems.

The solar industry is not asking for special treatment but simply a level playing field. If we shift some of the handouts away from the fossil fuel industry and boost renewables that collect free energy, we will enjoy savings in energy costs and increased national security.

Kent Baake, Alexandria

The writer is vice chairman of the Virginia Alternative and Renewable Energy Association.

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