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PUCN to discuss novel renewable energy policy



CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) will be holding an informal workshop to discuss docket #09-11004: “Investigation regarding [renewable energy] feed-in tariffs (FITs).”

FITs are a revolutionary policy tool that is acknowledge, both here and aboard, as the single most equatable and efficacious method for dramatically accelerating investment in renewable energy equipment manufacturing as well as deployment of generation capacity. But FITs have only recently been seriously considered by states and local jurisdictions across North America, with a few restrictive FITs having been implemented in the U.S.

FITs have been in use in over forty countries for nearly a decade, the best known being those in Germany, Spain, and France. The country of Germany, for example, represents fully 50 percent of the world’s installed solar PV capacity and one in three solar panels is manufactured there because their FIT program. In 2009, Germany installed over 3,000MW of solar compared to the entire United States which managed barely 300MW, 200MW of which were installed in California.

Feed-in tariffs, or FITs (where “tariffs” are a “price paid,” not a tax), pay anyone interested in generating renewable energy and feeding it into the grid a price that
is based on the cost of production and that insures a reasonable rate of return on investment for a contract period of generally twenty years. Properly designed FITs
will guarantee an immediate and measurable economic stimulus at zero cost to the government or the utility, and negligible cost to electricity ratepayers. The province of
Ontario is a recent example of the FIT phenomenon where manufacturers from around the world are setting up shop there in response to legislation adopted in 2009.

“After studying FITs for two years the only conclusion one can reach is that a properly designed FIT policy will reshape and stabilize Nevada’s economy for this century and beyond,” said Bob Tregilus of the Electric Auto Association of Northern Nevada and who presented on FITs to Senator Mike Schneider’s Interim Committee on Production and Use of
Energy last November.

“Nevada is uniquely situated with the 10th largest economy on the planet immediately to our west as a potential market for “made-in-Nevada” renewable energy equipment and
generated power. There’s every reason to believe that feed-in tariffs will far surpass what the Gaming Act of 1931 did for our state’s economy,” Tregilus added.

Monday’s PUCN workshop on FITs will result in a report to Senator Mike Schneider’s Interim Committee on the Production and Use of Energy that is considering the feasibility of feed-in tariff legislation for the 2011 session.

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