As I see it, Feed in Tariffs (FiT’s) are the most logical and proven method of expanding renewable energy in a way that is fair to consumers, utilities, companies and, well, pretty much everyone because it levels the playing field for ALL. Feed in tariffs are a government-established, profitable price-point for renewable energy that is available to all. That’s it! See our post Wind And Renewable Energy: What are “feed in tariffs”
Here’s my take:
- Pay only for output and energy DELIVERED. As opposed to the current system where YOU, (Yes you!) pay for the state-run “wealth fare” of Tax Credits and Breaks, based solely on “investment” instead of results.
- Provides true equal opportunity for ALL investors. Investors, researchers, start-ups, innovators, industries, businesses and citizens can act and be equally rewarded for their efforts. (wow, the existing players who receive the unfair advantage of tax credits, to not even necessarily produce, would just hate that!)
- Electricity users pay for the tiny increase in expense based on their USAGE. Saved energy is saved money. It is completely up to you to save or waste electricity as you see fit. When you pay for what you use, and the consequences of that, you pay your fair share.
- Billions (likely Trillions) of dollars saved annually by the government in tax breaks and loopholes no longer available. Let’s stop with the semantics. Tax breaks and credits ARE the government spending your money for special interests (and the more entrenched, the stronger they are) the same as spending after tax money. Just no one voted on it this way. Spent is spent. Owed is owed. No difference!
- Locks in a relatively-low price for future electricity costs. A few percent more in today’s prices hedges our bets against the likelihood that fuels for electricity generation (oil, gas, coal etc) will cost more in 5, 10, 15, 20 years. Wouldn’t you lock in a really good rate for your heating oil and take that rate 20 years from now, guaranteed? If this was not logical, gold would not be at record-high prices right now.
- More renewable energy production REDUCES costs of traditional fuels-coal, oil, gas etc, because it decreases demand for these… theoretically. I question if we really do exist on a real supply and demand system. Again, that’s another post.
- Renewable energy’s modularity helps create “distributed electricity generation”, easing pressures on the electric grid. We don’t have to put our eggs all in one basket, or in one single huge power plant.
- FiT’s guaranteed returns on investments would help create the “Green Economy”. Estimated by some to easily be 250,000 to 1 million jobs, many that cannot be outsourced.
- Hedges bets for our energy future. In case of dramatic price fluctuations or even worldwide economic depressions, once the generation is developed, the wind will always be (relatively) free to intercept; oil, gas and coal… not so much. If the world economy collapses after we invest in these technologies, we will still have electricity generation as a society because of those domestic-dollar-locked-in prices. (Wow, Chinese-based World take-overs and petro dictators and their oil traders are reeeeally going to hate that!)
- Speaking of petro dictators…by getting onto more renewable energy, we will no longer be sending our hard earned money to tyrants that send it back to us as bombs.
Con’s (not that there really are any, these are minor disturbances and weak roadblocks)
- Require government “regulation”, ie.-laws, in an era of de-regulation idiocy. De-regulation has spurred or intensified EVERY problem we currently face economically and environmentally. Don’t get me started!
- Government “regulation”, ie-laws, are at the whim of the next elected officials. Current politicians will be removed and replaced numerous times before return is made on investments.
- May initially (only initially) cost more than traditional electricity generation. Current pricing is very close to parity for large wind projects. Does anyone really think dirty energy will always be as cheap as it is now? Don’t forget, as payment to the public interest, FiT’s are locked in for 10, 15, 20 years!!
We can easily keep doing the same thing we have, but it is not working to spur massive innovation, or even massive deployment of readily workable and affordable renewable energy systems. It’s just a matter of political will to disrupt the entrenched interests (who could just as easily make money on clean energy!!) and ignite good old American innovation toward a common goal, for the greater good. This is only one-tenth as hard as getting to the moon was, maybe only one twentieth as hard as mobilizing this entire country to win World War 2; on foreign fronts, no less. So what’s the problem today? Plain old greed, laziness and lethargy and apathy are. We can get it done together, though, and make a difference!
I’m open to your additions to this list. What do you think?