Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Feed-in Tariffs Promote Renewable Energy

Via WorldChanging...

Here is a quick primer on the "German model of feed-in tariffs (an obligation for utilities to purchase, at a set price, the electricity generated by any renewable energy resource)" from Canada's Ecology Action center.

The linked pdf argues strongly for a feed-in tariff system that encourages individuals to install alternate energy systems that lets them feed excess power generated back to the grid and get paid for it. The utility gets power without having to spend on new infrastructure. The individual takes the risk in installing the new infrastructure, but has a guaranteed market in the form of the utility which takes the 'risk' in marketing the new power.

Feed-in tariffs have been the force behind the spectacular success of renewables in Germany:

  • In the 1990s European countries introduced it and it’s now in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Latvia, Brazil, Indonesia, Nicaragua, China, etc — over 30 countries
  • Germany is the most famous as it’s premium is the highest and since 2000 has produced a doubling in renewable energy fed into the German grid with a seven x increase in installed PV...
  • The German law guarantees the supplier with 20 years premium rates and pays more on a sliding scale
  • The sooner the installation is made from a commencement date the higher the feed in price — to encourage early take up
  • Germany wants to improve its long-term energy security, increase sustainable energy as a proportion of the total used and now 10.2% of electricity in Germany comes from renewable.