Gov. Paul LePage, once again, has complained that renewable energy sources are too heavily subsidized. Yet in the same article, he is apparently suggesting the state consider a targeted fossil-fuel subsidy to lure businesses with decreased electricity rates. That this would be paid for by the rest of us is apparently OK with Mr. LePage.

It turns out that the governor’s information on renewables is wrong. In 2015, the U.S. subsidized the fossil fuel industry (oil, gas, and coal) to the tune of $600 billion. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office reported $16.4 billion in direct tax subsidies to all energy producers, with 45 percent going to renewable energy sources and 29 percent going to support energy efficiency. This would appear to support the governor’s contention that renewable fuels are too heavily subsidized – except that the CBO report did not include the cost of regulatory subsidies, foreign tax subsidies and other forms of credits that helped raise fossil fuel assistance to that $600 billion figure.

Costs associated with renewable power are rapidly falling. Utilities in California and Texas are progressing toward power grids that rely on nonfossil fuels. Many large companies, aware that environmental stewardship is a great selling point for their products, have made pledges to move to 100 percent renewable energy within the next few years. Renewables have reached the point at which subsidies can be dropped, whereas fossil fuels cannot be competitive without them.

Instead of spending our tax dollars on the outdated fossil fuel industry, why doesn’t Maine try to attract the nimble, innovative businesses of the future by focusing on renewable power production for the state? We need to be thinking about the Maine economy of 2050 instead of trying to resurrect the economy of 1950.

Margaret Reimer