The World Future Council has just rolled out their new PACT website at www.onlinepact.org. The very cool new site will serve as an online community for the diffusion of climate relevant policy knowledge. According to Miguel Mendonça at the World Future Council, PACT is a free online resource designed to speed up the exchange and utilization of best policy practices to mitigate the dangers of climate change.
The first policy domain covered by the PACT concerns Feed-in Tariffs (FITs), which are used to cheaply and rapidly accelerate the deployment of renewable energy installations. The site offers a means of assisting legislators and advocates with the initial development of, or improvements to, a FIT law for their country or region. These draft laws can be developed by lawyers and used for local debate, and the site offers the user legal text for each of the core elements of a good FIT.
The FIT policy mechanism is now in place in 47 countries, states and provinces around the world, with the greatest success coming in Germany and Spain. A major benefit of the spread of FITs is that they bring many more players into the energy production market, including homeowners, small businesses, cooperatives, farmers and businesses. The decentralization of energy production that occurs as a result of a healthy FIT is challenging the traditional dominance of utility-scale energy generation and transmission. FITs are often politically popular amongst the masses, but less so with the utilities and corporations that stand to lose out on the revenue. Other than one bill introduced in Michigan, powerful interests in the U.S. have, thus far, all but quashed any discussion of FITs. American lawmakers are preferring instead to go with the renewables portfolio standard (RPS or RES), which mandates minimum levels of electricity utilities must supply from renewable sources.