Writing for Renewable Energy Access, Paul Gipe reports on a dramatic about face from previous policy by the California Energy Commission. As previously noted, feed-in tariffs are widely used in Europe, most notably in Germany, France, and Spain, yet Ontario province in Canada is the first place in North America to a long-term, fixed rate for renewable energy, not pegged to the retail price of energy.
The California Energy Commission is expected to recommend that the state adopt feed-in tariffs to spur renewable energy development, in part, because of several years of unfulfilled expectations for renewable energy development in California.
The California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, passed as SB 1078 in 2002, set a target of 20% renewable energy sources by 2017. According to industry observers, the state that is leading the Nation in development of renewable energy policy will be unable to meet existing objectives without corrective action.
“We have no time to lose if California is going to meet its renewable energy goals. The Energy Commission has called for a dramatic change in direction. The Sierra Club supports their call for feed-in tariffs. This policy has been remarkably successful elsewhere. It’s being used in Ontario, Canada and Michigan is considering it as well. We need this kind of policy leadership in California too,” says Carl Zichella, the Sierra Club’s regional field director for California, Nevada and Hawaii.
California would be the first state in the United States to adopt feed-in tariffs, a.k.a., Advanced Renewable Tariffs. There are other grassroots effort to implement such policy in other states, e.g., Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin. After Ontario implemented such policy, there was a surge in the solar farm construction.