Picture this…can you imagine walking through streets without traffic control at intersections…not being able to move your car out of the garage…not being able to turn on any lights in your house…no longer having hot water being available for your showers…finding food rotting in your refrigerator….the list goes on if/when Zombie Apocalypse or any natural disaster occurs and the power grid has been under attack or rendered incapacitated.
In response to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)’s Dr. Ali S. Khan’s post on May 16, 2011, for Preparedness 101 for Zombie Apocalypse or Any Natural Disasters, please refer to this site http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp and excuse/allow me to interrupt our series of discussion on Feed-In-Tariffs and bring you to the attention of how important it is to have solar energy in time of any natural disasters or Zombie Apocalypse. The simple fact that solar energy, by its nature, can be far more decentralized and therefore provides a better chance of survival for earthlings. For a quick overview of how solar energy may enable you to be better prepared for these emergencies, please take a look at posts of Sun Is The Future on: April 29 (Building Integrated PV), April 26 (Solar Shingles), April 5 & April 6 (Solar Water Heater), March 29 (Skyscraper as Vertical Solar Farms), March 20 (There Is Plenty of Sunshine For All of Us), March 18 (Solar Bullet High-Speed Train), March 12 (Solar Plane), March 5 (Solar Cars), March 4 (Why Solar), etc. The ability to generate your own power, rather than being completely dependent on the power grid may one day save your life. As the cost of solar technology decreases, let’s look for ways of implementing solar energy use into our daily lives.
sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, email@example.com
Now, let’s take a look at a country, UK, that had implemented Feed-In-Tariffs more recently, in addition to its renewable energy quota scheme (ROCS). The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband presented details of the scheme for Feed-In-Tariffs in the United Kingdom back in July of 2009 and UK’s FIT began in April of 2010. Below you will find the specifics of UK’s FIT listed in Wikipedia:
The Feed-In Tariff applies to small-scale generation of electricity, paying a fixed sum for eligible technologies. Payments through the mechanism are intended to replace the ROCs available through the Renewables Obligation for small-scale renewable energy generators and is based on a few key elements:
The tariff is available only to renewable sources producing up to 5 MW power. Specific rates are set for different technologies and at different scales of installation for those technologies. Generators of renewable electricity larger than 5MW remain eligible to earn Renewables Obligation Certificates within the existing Renewables Obligation quota mechanism. To prevent companies from moving large scale (for example big wind) projects from the ROCs to the Feed-in Tariff programme, a number of anti-gaming provisions has been inserted in the policy design; this should avoid the breaking up of bigger projects into several small ones, to fit within the 5 MW energy size cap.
The contract term is 20 years, 25 years for solar photovoltaic projects: this means that, starting from 2010, British providers of Wind Energy, Hydropower, Energy from Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion eligible for the FiT scheme will be rewarded with a tariff rate guaranteed for the next 20 years – 25 years for Solar PV generators.
The tariff made available to generators will be subject to digression. That is, the tariff level available for new generators will decrease annually. the rate of digression will vary by renewable energy technology. The price for individual renewable energy generating plants is fixed once the plant becomes operational.
Costs for the programme will be borne by all British electricity consumers proportionally: all consumers will bear a slight increase in their annual bill, thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government.
The new UK’s Feed-in Tariff Programme review is scheduled for 2013.
When the government review the current Feed-in Tariff in 2012/2013 they are expected to reduce the amount paid out by around 15% and continue to reduce it every 2 years.
The UK FiT design has a few distinguishing aspects: One new feature is the inclusion of tariffs for Combined Heat and Power (CHP), which only a few other systems provide for. Another is the provision of two distinct tariffs, one for small solar photovoltaic installations on new houses and the other for existing homes.
The government estimated that feed-in tariffs to support small-scale low-carbon generation would cost £8.6 billion up to 2030 and produce monetized carbon savings worth £0.42 billion
University of London has assessed the first year of UK’s FIT scheme through interviews with users of the FIT and government figures. The study suggests that technologies have a variety of factors affecting their performance in terms of installation levels, such as cost, size, availability, standardization of the technology, planning issues, ease of installation, perceived sensory impact (sight, sound and smell) and administrative complexity. Domestic PV scores very positively on all these factors, while small hydro and AD do far less well.
In March of 2011 the new coalition Government announced that support for large-scale PV installations (greater than 50 kW) would be cut. The proposed changes to the tariff levels for PV have been met with anger by many in the solar industry, but the FIT policy, along with the Green Investment Bank and now carbon reduction targets, are widely understood to be threatened by the Treasury department. This is due to the schemes being considered as liabilities on the UK national balance sheet. In this next clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it6TTFllaPQ&NR=1 you will see/hear interviews with users of UK’s FIT scheme and more detailed explanations of UK’s FIT.
Due to government’s redefinition of price/rate, Feed-In-Tariffs in Taiwan may not have pleased every one (evidenced by previous post of Incentive For Solar (11), but it is not half as disastrous as what had occurred in Spain. Spain’s struggling solar sector has announced, this year, that it will sue its government over two royal decrees that will reduce tariffs retroactively. The leading trading body ASIF and its 500 members endorsed filing the suit before the Spanish high court and the European Commission, alleging that royal decrees 156/10 and RD-L 14/10 run against Spanish and European law. The royal decree 156/10 prevents solar producers from receiving subsidized tariffs after a project’s 28th year while the royal decree RD-L 14/10 slashes the entire industry’s subsidized tariffs by 10% and 30% for existing projects until 2014. Both bills are retroactive, discriminatory, and very damaging to the solar energy sector. The decrees will cut payouts for ground-mounted solar energy projects by 45% this year, killing future investment in the trade and it will also see tariffs drop 5% for small rooftop installations and 25% for large ones. Definitely, this is the experience we want to avoid in the process of designing an optimal Feed-In-Tariffs program. One of the most important factors arised from the Spanish experience is due to its non-optimal level of FIT design, copying Germany’s FIT program when Spain has almost twice as much sunshine as Germany. Here, in the following video clip, Mark Pinto explains the supply glut of solar and Spanish experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY_CyMof5O0
Once again, there is much we can learn from those who have gone before us.
Keep in mind that we have already established the fact that Feed-In-Tariffs (FIT) is a very powerful tool to provide incentive for growth of renewable energy industry and a great way to transition into our future of renewable energy era while stimulating local jobs, opportunities, and economic prosperity, so long as we are cautious in implementing the optimal policy, at the optimal rate and optimal pace. It is also important to be clear, upfront, and preparing for the cost of renewable energy to decline. The positive aspect of not being in the forefront of the race is that we can learn a great deal from those who have been ahead of us. In this post, we will learn a valuable lesson from Taiwan and ask ourselves if circumstance changes should the government change regulations and if there is another way for the government to anticipate the change so to avoid dissatisfaction from consumers and investors.
In June of 2009, the Taiwanese Parliament greenlighted the Renewable Energy Development Act and established Feed-In-Tariff policy that promotes solar PV energy system, requiring electric utilities to buy all the solar power available for sale at premium, government-set-prices via long-turn contracts. Government subsidizes the difference and electricity is fed into the grid. Business and home owners may be able to participate by installing solar energy systems on their roof tops. FIT is effectively encouraging investment in renewable energy by enticing investors and reducing market demand for traditional energy and fundamentally changes the future market prices. So late in 2010, in response to a drop in PV rates, Taiwan Bureau of Energy changed the rules, stating that the rate depends on when the project begins in operation rather than the rate when the deal/contract is signed. Since there is a discrepancy of about 30% between the rates of “when the project begins in operation” vs. the rate “when the deal is signed”, the profits would correspondingly decrease and therefore investors were very upset. Should the government of Taiwan deny the high return that should accompany the high risk while also discouraging renewables? Or is the government of Taiwan justified for the cost of solar energy have decreased considerably and the return on profit for investors on earlier rate would have been very high. Taiwanese government’s argument is that investors’ profit should be reasonable and the decision also saves valuable budget funding. What do you think? Let’s take a look at this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ToIw7nwGOE
Greetings! Yes, I am still well and alive…just been seriously contemplating and researching on the topic of Feed-In-Tariffs (FIT) for Renewable/Solar Energy by looking at various countries’ experiences over the years and trying to figure out how we may be able to optimally utilize this very powerful and effective incentive program in US or elsewhere and FL without any negative ramifications. Within recent years, I have traveled to other countries to discuss and interview those who have been affected by Feed-In-Tariffs of Renewable and Solar Energy. Please be patient with me as I take you through a series of discussions and video clips from various parts of the world (such as Australia, UK, Taiwan, Italy, Canada, Spain, China, etc.)and in US regarding Feed-In-Tariffs. The consensus is that Feed-In-Tariffs is a very affective incentive program for renewable energy that would accelerate the transition into renewable energy era and increase local jobs, opportunities and economic growth, but the optimal level and pace at which FIT is set would determine how successful the implementation of FIT would be.
In the video clip below, we will see/hear Australian Senator Christine Milne speaking at the Greens National Council on Nov. 9, 2008, proposing Nationwide Solar Feed-In-Tariff Bill. Feed-in tariffs in Australia have been enacted by several State Governments for electricity generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Feed-in tariff (FIT) are a premium rate paid to producers of renewable energy. They are a way of subsidizing renewable energy and are implemented in conjunction with mandatory renewable energy targets. Both net and gross feed in tariffs have been introduced by various governments. Net FIT’s generally pay comparatively little to the producer (generally a household) because electricity produced by solar photovoltaic or other renewable energy just offsets the producer’s usage. Gross tariffs provide a more certain financial return and pay the household for all electricity produced, even if it is consumed by the producer, reducing or helping meet peak demand. The ACT and New South Wales have gross feed-in tariffs. Other Australian State Governments have enacted net feed-in tariff schemes which have been criticized for not providing enough incentive for households to install solar panels and thus for not effectively encouraging the uptake of solar PV. A uniform federal scheme to supersede all State schemes has been proposed by Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne, but not enacted. National feed-in tariff systems have been enacted in numerous countries including Brazil, Canada, China and many EU countries. Please take a look/listen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3PzLeX8Bow
There are two posts on May 8, 2011, and please be sure not to miss the Incentive For Solar (8)-Feed-In-Tariff if you haven’t already looked at/read it.
In the race to save our planet, earthlings would benefit a great deal to learn from each other.
After you’ve seen and heard the experience and comments from the panel of American scientists, researchers, and policy makers from previous post regarding Feed-In-Tariff, I’d like to share with you the obstacles and rewards of the country, Germany, that is leading the way of renewable energy due to the inclusion of Feed-In-Tariffs in Germany’s Renewable Energy Program. In the following video clip, we will see Hermann Scheer MP, member of German Parliament, World Future Council, and the main architect for German’s Renewable Energy Act of 1999/2000, discussing trials and tribulations and ultimate success in having the three provisions of FIT as part of the German’s Renewable Energy Act and therefore in securing the growth and prosperity of German’s renewable energy industry, placing Frieburg, Germany, in the position of Solar Capitol of Europe. When the video was filmed, UK was not one of the countries that had implemented FIT, but that is no longer the case in 2011 (UK started FIT in April, 2010. Now let’s take a look what we can learn from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H3lRTQSJxY
So, those of us earthlings in US, it is still not too late for us to join the race to save our planet! Let’s find the optimal level of our Feed-In-Tariffs, then we should be able to stimulate the growth and local jobs and opportunities while racing toward the Sun and Renewable Energy Age!
Sorry about the delay of this week’s postings…I tend to procrastinate when the issue seems to carry more weight in my heart…for I sincerely believe the thorough implementation of optimal Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for solar and all other renewable energies have the potential of accelerating our transition into renewable energy era at such an incredibly tremendous pace that it will help to bring down the cost of solar technology like you won’t believe! It had both perplexed and troubled me how snail- paced Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) had been spreading/implementing within US, considering the fact that the first form of feed-in-tariff was actually implemented in US in 1978, under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, telling Americans that the energy crisis was a “clear and present danger to our nation” and drew out a plan to address it. Thirty-three years later, here we are now, in 2011, when feed-in-tariff had been enacted in more than sixty four other countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UK, while only about a dozen states in the United States, have implemented this fantastic policy mechanism designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources and to help accelerate the move toward grid parity (grid parity is the point at which alternative means of generating electricity is at least as cheap as grid power.)
Put it simply, Feed-In-Tariff is an incentive policy that requires the power company to buy renewable energy from any one who produces it. No matter how small the producer is, the power company has to buy the renewable energy from the producer. Different tariff rates are set for different renewable energy technologies, linked to the cost of resource development in each case. Typically, FITs include three key provisions:
guaranteed grid access
long-term contracts (often 15-25 years) for the electricity produced
purchase prices that are based on the cost of renewable energy generation and tend towards grid parity
The cost based prices therefore enable a diversity of projects (wind, solar, etc.) to be developed while investors can obtain a reasonable return on renewable energy investments. This principle was first explained in Germany’s 2000 RES Act:
“The compensation rates…have been determined by means of scientific studies, subject to the provision that the rates identified should make it possible for an installation – when managed efficiently – to be operated cost-effectively, based on the use of state-of-art technology and depending on the renewable energy sources naturally available in a given geographical environment.” (RES Act 2000, Explanatory Memorandum A)
In 2008, the European Commission concluded that well-adapted feed-in-tariff regimes are generally the most efficient and effective support schemes for promoting renewable electricity. This conclusion is also supported by International Energy Agency, the European Federation for Renewable Energy, and Deutsche Bank.
Now I would like to share with you a video clip on discussion (of New America Foundation) of a panel of Americans who have seen and learned from the experience of other countries with Feed-In-Tariff (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsIMR3foWuQ)
Countries with the best policies (such as Feed-In-Tariff) tend to be able to attract more investments and ultimately leading to better local economy and job opportunities. It does appear to me, that if US would be able to implement Feed-In-Tariff effectively, there would be a better chance for US to regain its leadership position in renewable energy world.