Feed-in tariffs are a comprehensive renewable energy policy responsible for two-thirds of the world’s wind power (64 percent) and almost 90 percent of the world’s solar power. With simplified grid connections, long-term contracts and attractive prices for development, that’s policy that works.
The basic premise of the feed-in tariff is that the electric utility must connect any wind turbine or solar panel (or other generator) to the grid and buy all the electricity via a long-term contract with a public price. It’s use in Germany and its simplicity have led to mass local ownership of renewable energy in that country.
In the U.S., the policy is spreading, having been adopted by multiple municipal utilities in Florida, Indiana, and California as well as states including Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Vermont.
- Feed-in Tariffs in America: Driving the Economy with Renewable Energy Policy that Works
- Pricing CLEAN Contracts for Solar PV in the U.S.
- Bringing Renewable Energy Home – A conference on feed-in tariffs
Source for pie charts: Jacobs, David. Applicability of the German FIT to the Taiwanese policy framework. (Presentation to the International Symposium on Germany’s Renewable Energy Development and Power-purchasing Policy Trends, Taipei, Taiwan, 9/28/11).
John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His latest paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development. Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World. John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at email@example.com.