Green energy boosters like to claim that the fossil fuel industry receives the lion's share of energy subsidies. They point out things like this:
“Energy industries have enjoyed a century of federal support. From 1918 to 2009, the oil and gas industry received $446.96 billion (adjusted for inflation) in cumulative energy subsidies. Renewable energy sources received $5.93 billion (adjusted for inflation) for a much shorter period from 1994-2009. Average annual support for the oil and gas industry has been $4.86 billion (1918-2009), compared to $3.50 billion for nuclear (1947-1999) and $0.37 billion (1994-2009) for renewable energy.”
What they don’t talk about, and don’t want people to understand, is that the fossil-fuel sector gets larger dollar amounts in subsidies because they’re a far bigger part of the country's energy pie. It would be a bit like handing out a dollar bill to every person in the country, and then asking whether right-handed people would get more money than left-handers: of course they would, as a group, since there are a lot more right-handed people.
The relevant question is, which form of energy is more subsidized on a per-unit-of-energy basis. The charts below show what the subsidy situation looks like when you calculate it on the much more relevant subsidy per-kilowatt-hour basis. As you can see, on that apples-to-apples basis, wind and solar power receive far higher subsidies than conventional energy forms.