The author of the April 21 Point of View piece, “ Why green energy mandates don’t work,” seems to imply that only renewables receive subsidization. However, the price we pay for energy from coal and natural gas is not the full cost, either. Indeed, it is subsidized by other parts of the economy.
The coal ash spill should quickly come to mind. Researchers at Wake Forest University estimate that the economic damage done will cost $1 million per affected mile. At 70 miles, the cost is estimated at $70 million. And the Dan River coal ash pond is only one of 33 in North Carolina. However, that cost will never be fully realized in the price consumers pay for energy.
So, who pays for it? It is subsidized by fishermen who can no longer catch fish, tourists and boaters who will avoid the area, devaluation of homes, polluted drinking water that sickens our residents and, finally, reduced tax revenue from these lost activities.
Now, consider the recent Sustainable Energy Association report that showed that North Carolina received $1.93 in return for every $1 invested. I for one would rather subsidize energy with money rather than dead fish and sick residents.