22 Aug 2012
Global subsidies increase for both renewable and fossil fuels
The Worldwatch Institute has revealed that subsidies for both renewable energy and fossil fuels have risen substantially over the last few years, which has led to an understandably mixed response from green campaigners.
Officials from the environmental data analysis body were encouraged by the fact that, in 2010, renewable subsidies had risen to a new record high of $66 billion in total, but not by the fact that older, more harmful energy sources still receive much more as of this year, with the estimated overall figure currently standing anywhere between $775 billion and $1 trillion.
The authors of the report, however, were keen to point out that the subsidies did actually work out as proportionally higher by per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for renewables, if important externalities were left out of the equation. They also took heart from their prediction that, in the years to come, the cost of alternative energy is expected to fall, whilst the opposite is expected of traditional fuels like oil and coal.
This shift can be attributed to a combination of factors, including an improvement in the technology behind sustainable sources like wind and thermal power, meaning that their efficiency levels will increase accordingly, as the price of transporting fossil fuels continues to be pushed up.
Figures from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences also lifted the lid on how the negative effects of oil and similar fuels has led to America having to spend around an extra $120 billion each year on healthcare and pollution costs that are clearly not issues when it comes to renewables. The Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch, Alexander Ochs, noted that the additional money required to deal with these issues is not yet reflected in how much consumers pay for these more damaging materials. Ochs went on to say that it is currently the taxpayer, rather than those who are bringing these fuels to the market, who are footing the bill for the pollution they cause.
The report stated that if the agriculture industry in particular continues in its efforts to eventually switch entirely to a reliance on alternative energy, then the potential worldwide economic benefit could be sizeable and brought about in a number of different ways. Greenhouse gas emissions, for example, are bound to decrease significantly over the coming years and decades, which will subsequently lead to savings on the importing of fuels.
As well as providing our customers with a wide range of farming equipment and all sorts of other products, including household and fashion products such as ladies wellies, we at Mole Valley Farmers have also recently taken our first steps into the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Mole Energy is an innovative project set up with the aim of helping farmers throughout the South West and beyond to learn more about the many financial and ecological advantages of making the move towards renewables.
With a wealth of information available to read online, we also have our very own demonstration site at a farm in Somerset, at which we are working hard to conduct new research into different types of alternative fuel; the team at Mole Valley are known for our dedication to helping the agricultural community in every way we can, and our ambitious Mole Energy scheme is just another instance of this.
Image credit: Brooke Raymond (flickr.com)