Representative Jay Inslee of Washington plans to introduce a bill into the House this month to establish a federal feed-in tariff for renewable energy similar to European incentive programs, Inslee told Clean Technology Investor (subscription req'd).
Under the bill, utilities would be required to pay a specific price for renewable energy to anyone supplying electricity to the grid. The Federal Energy Regulation Commission would set the prices which would then decline every two years. Prices would also differ depending on the technology in use (i.e. solar gets a higher tariff rate because it is more costly. The thinking being that long term such price supports will drive down the cost of the given technology). Only systems with 20 megawatts or less of capacity would qualify, as the bill is aimed primarily at distributed energy, the representative said. Suppliers of renewable energy would receive the guaranteed payments for a 20-year period.
Representative Inslee plans to introduce the bill to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next week or two. "Next year I expect to have a very serious discussion of this and perhaps passage," he said.
Requiring utilities to pay a mandated amount for renewable energy is "a new idea to D.C., and like a fine wine it'll need time.
Source: CNN Money
Photo: Thomas Roche via Flickr under a Creative Commons License