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  • Feed-in tariffs in AmericaDriving the Economy with Renewable Energy Policy that Works

    JOHN FARRELLjfarrell@ilsr.org

    April 2009

    New Rules Project1313 5th St. SE, Suite 303Minneapolis, MN 55414

    612-379-3815www.newrules.org

    A publication of in cooperation with

    mailto:jfarrell@ilsr.orgmailto:jfarrell@ilsr.orghttp://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.org

  • This project has been funded in part by the European Commission and Heinrich Bll Stiftung.

    The European Commission is not responsible for the content of this project.

    The Heinrich Bll Foundation is a non-profit political foundation affiliated with the German political party of Alliance 90/The Greens. Since 1998, the Heinrich Bll Foundation has an office in Washington, DC. The Heinrich Bll Foundation North America focuses its work on the issues of foreign and security policy and transatlantic relations, global governance, sustainable development, social equity and gender democracy. www.boell.org

    The Transatlantic Climate Policy Group is a two year program, launched by the Heinrich Bll Foundation, which aims at fostering transatlantic dialogue and cooperation on climate and energy policies. The Transatlantic Climate Policy Group seeks to engage policymakers, research analysts, experts, and media on both sides of the Atlantic in order to achieve two major goals: to identify common ground and future challenges for transatlantic energy and climate cooperation, and to increase collaboration between U.S. cities and EU cities, U.S. States and the member states of the EU, and finally U.S. federal and EU policy institutions. http://www.boell.de/climate-transatlantic/ The Institute for Local Self-Reliance was formed in 1974 with a mission to provide innovative strategies, working models, and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development. To this end, ILSR works with citizens, activists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to design systems, policies and enterprises that meet local or regional needs; to maximize human, material, natural and financial resources; and to ensure that the benefits of these systems and resources accrue to all local citizens. A program of ILSR, the New Rules Project helps policy makers to design rules as if community matters. http://www.ilsr.org and http://www.newrules.org

    New Rules Project www.newrules.org 1

    http://www.boell.org/

    http://www.boell.orghttp://www.boell.orghttp://www.boell.de/climate-transatlantic/http://www.boell.de/climate-transatlantic/http://www.ilsr.orghttp://www.ilsr.orghttp://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.orghttp://www.boell.orghttp://www.boell.org

  • Acknowledgments

    The author would like to thank David Morris, for providing thoughtful comments and insightful editing, and Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Bll Foundation, for this opportunity to collaborate.

    Other Publications from the New Rules ProjectThe Benefits of North Dakota's Pharmacy Ownership Law, by Justin Dahlheimer and Stacy Mitchell, January 2009

    Meeting Minnesotas Renewable Energy Standard Using The Existing Transmission System, by John Bailey, George Crocker (NAWO), John Farrell, Michael Michaud (Matrix Energy Solutions), and David Morris, November 2008

    Energy Self-Reliant States: Homegrown Renewable Power, by John Farrell and David Morris, November 2008

    Rural Power: Community-Scaled Renewable Energy and Rural Economic Development, by John Farrell and David Morris, August 2008

    Driving Our Way to Energy Independence, by David Morris, April 2008

    Broadening Wind Energy Ownership by Changing Federal Incentives, by John Farrell, April 2008

    Ethanol and Land Use Changes, by David Morris, February 2008

    Carbon Caps With Universal Dividends: Equitable, Ethical & Politically Effective Climate Policy, by John Bailey, January 2008

    Municipal Broadband: Demystifying Wireless and Fiber-Optic Options, by Christopher Mitchell, January 2008

    Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for Americas Independent Businesses, by Stacy Mitchell, November 2007, Beacon Press

    Since 1974, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) has worked with citizen groups, governments and private businesses to extract the maximum value from local resources.

    A program of ILSR, the New Rules Project helps policy makers to design rules as if community matters.

    2009 by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Heinrich Bll Foundation North America. Permission is granted under a Creative Commons license to replicate and distribute this report freely for noncommercial purposes. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/.

    New Rules Project www.newrules.org 2

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/http://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.org

  • Table of Contents

    ............................................................................................................Executive Summary! 5

    ...............................................................................................The Power of Feed-in Tariffs! 6

    .........................................................................................................The European Experience! 8

    ............................................................................Denmark: The Rise and Fall of Feed-In Tariffs! 8

    1979-1992: Fostering a wind industry

    1993-2002: The FIT and the Surge in Production

    2003-Present: U.S.-style quotas and stagnant development

    Danish Results: Energy and Industry

    Denmark: Locally owned wind power

    ...........................................................................Germany: The Rise and Rise of Feed-In Tariffs! 10

    1987-1990: A small start

    1991-1999: Feed-In Tariff accelerates wind, some solar

    2000-Present: Revised FIT broadens German renewable development

    Results: Energy and Industry

    Germany: Locally owned renewable energy

    ...........................................................................................Feed-In Tariffs in the United States! 12

    .................................................................................................Why Feed-In Tariffs Work! 14

    ...............................................................................................................................Simplicity! 14

    ..................................................................................................................................Stability! 14

    .................................................................................................................................Fairness! 14

    .................................................................................................Designing a Feed-In Tariff! 16

    ....................................................................................................................Setting FIT Rates! 16

    Offer a reasonable return

    Configure by technology

    Award innovation

    New Rules Project www.newrules.org 3

    http://www.newrules.orghttp://www.newrules.org

  • Accommodate various sizes

    .................................................................................................................Adjusting FIT Rates! 16

    Adjust for experience

    Adjust for inflation

    Provide a long-term contract

    Share the Cost

    ......................................................................................The Economics of a Feed-in Tariff! 19

    ........................................................................................................Cheaper renewable power ! 19

    ..................................................................................................................Cheaper electricity! 19

    .............................................................................................................Substantial job growth! 20

    .........................................................................................Total benefits far outweigh the costs! 20

    ......................................................................................................................Local ownership! 21

    ...................................................................................................Minnesota: A Case Study! 22

    ........................................................................Costs and Benefits of a Minnesota Feed-in Tariff! 22

    ...............................................................................................Cost to ratepayers and taxpayers! 22

    .................................................................................................................Benefits to the state! 23

    ........................................................................................Questions about Feed-In Tariffs! 24

    ........................................................................................Wont a Feed-In Tariff be expensive? ! 24

    ..........................................................................If we have an RPS, do we need a Feed-in Tariff?! 25

    .........................................................................................Isnt an RPS more market-oriented? ! 25

    ......................................................................................................................Conclusion! 26

    ..............................................................................................................About the Author! 27

    .................................................................................

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