Feed In Tariffs – Empower people – Make them less dependent on Big Energy

June 3, 2011

The so-called conservatives of the tea party congress claim they are in favor of smaller government, while proposing energy solutions that only increase the dependence of consumers on large government and big industry.

Feed in Tariffs, perhaps the most important tool in use around the world to encourage renewable energy development, result in the gradual dispersion of power and responsibility to communities, small companies, cooperatives and individuals. For Tea Baggers and their plutocrat backers, that burns like acid.

From Climate Progress:

FITs are considered by many to be the most successful instrument for promoting renewable energy. Despite the wonky name, it’s actually a very simple concept — which is why it’s been so effective.

FITs guarantee an owner of a renewable energy project a premium price for every unit of electricity or heat generated over a 15-20 year period of time. That premium is designed to give the owner “a reasonable rate of return” and is changed on a set schedule as technology costs come down, with room to make immediate changes when needed. (In fact, Germany and other European countries have made major changes to their FITs over the last year as the price and cost of solar PV has dropped dramatically.)

The payments come from utilities, which raise the funds by charging ratepayers a small fee each month. This only costs a few dollars— or, as is often said: “About the price of a loaf of bread.”

FITs also give clean energy projects of any size priority access to the grid — meaning that a 5 kilowatt solar PV system has just as much right to plug into the grid (if not more) as a 500 MW coal plant. This, as Ulrich Kelber described, “empowers people.”

The policy drives rapid investment, which is why Germany — a pioneer in creating the modern FIT — has been an historic leader in deployment of solar PV, solar thermal, wind, biogas and combined heat and power.

Investors like FITs because they provide long-term consistency; renewable energy companies like FITs because they create an environment that makes it easy to scale; and consumers like FITs because it provides a simple way for them to invest in renewable energy.

3 Responses to “Feed In Tariffs – Empower people – Make them less dependent on Big Energy”

  1. pendantry Says:

    We need more thinking like this. A lot of the arguments against (e.g.) wind that I hear are to do with the problem of transporting the energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. Solution? Encourage more, smaller, local generation — where it’s needed. Simples.

  2. BlueRock Says:

    In a similar vein:

    * “Solar energy is the energy of the people. To use this energy does not require big investments of only a few big corporations. It requires billions of investments by billions of people. They have the opportunity to switch from being a part of the problem to becoming a part of the global solution.” http://www.rightlivelihood.org/scheer_speech.html

    Sadly, Hermann Scheer is no longer with us – but he’ll go down as a visionary in the history books.

  3. […] Here he shares his experience with new home solar panels, and the UK’s Feed In Tariff. […]

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