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Renewables and energy efficiency make up 75% of US energy subsidies

UNITED STATES: Tax benefits for renewable energy and energy efficiency make up close to three-quarters of energy-related tax subsidies the US is expected to hand out in 2013, says new data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Federal energy tax subsidies will cost $16.4 billion in 2013, CBO senior adviser Terry Dinan told a congressional hearing this week.

Of that, an estimated $7.3 billion — or 45% — will go towards renewable energy and another $4.8 billion will be for energy efficiency. Tax subsidies for fossil fuels make up 20% of the total and tax subsidies for nuclear power make up another 7%.

Dinan pointed out, however, that the mix will look quite different in the future under current policy.

"Most of the support for energy efficiency and renewable energy comes from provisions that have already expired or are scheduled to expire at the end of 2013.

"In contrast, most of the support for fossil fuels and nuclear power comes from provisions that are permanent," he testified.

President Barack Obama has called for the elimination of tax breaks for the oil and gas sector and wants to see renewable energy's production tax credit (PTC) made permanent, but has had no luck getting either proposal past Congress.

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