Lucy Kitson, Peter Wooders, Tom Moerenhout, IISD, 2011. Paper, 31 pages, copyright: IISD

The extent to which governments subsidize electricity generation technologies is not generally clear. However, claims abound that each generation type—nuclear, fossil fuel and renewables-benefits to the detriment of others. While the literature on energy subsidies is considerable and growing, only a fraction of this literature focuses on subsidies to electricity generation, and only a small subset attempts to quantify the level of these subsidies. This paper reviews the information currently available for each fuel type, identifies the major gaps in the literature and makes a preliminary comparison of results.

The review highlights the paucity of consistent information and data on subsidies to electricity generation. It also highlights the limitations of global estimates, concluding that robust national estimates are necessary to proceed with further evaluation of subsidies. 

Click here to access the report. 

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 

The world is challenged by a changing climate, biodiversity loss, abject poverty and environmental degradation. What can make a difference? Good ideas. Creativity. Passion. Innovation. The achievement of change. 

IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. 

In the pursuit of sustainable development, we promote open and effective international negotiation processes. And we believe fervently in the importance of building our own institutional capacity while helping our partner organizations in the developing world to excel. 

Established in 1990, IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a diverse team of more than 150 people located in more than 30 countries. Through our dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with more than 200 organizations throughout the world. To learn more about our history, please visit the IISD Timeline. 

Click here to learn more about our project work and programs, which are guided by our strategic institutional directions. And please visit our IISD Linkages site to follow our coverage of international negotiations on environment and development. 

IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The Institute receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.