Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Energy in the USA

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Policy Paper

Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Energy in the USA

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By Wilson Rickerson, Florian Bennhold, and James Bradbury

May 2008

Abstract

Feed-in tariff policies have driven rapid renewable energy growth for electricity in Europe, but have not been widely adopted in North America to date. This paper reviews the experience of six US
states which have introduced feed-in tariff legislation, surveys feed-in tariff proposals in eight other states, and discusses the outlook for Community-Based Energy Development policies, which have the potential to be implemented in a way that is similar to feed-in tariffs. The paper also discusses a federal feed-in tariff bill proposed by Congressman Jay Inslee. Some states are proposing policies which follow the European model of creating performancebased electricity incentives based on different technologies’ generation costs, whereas other states are considering alternative approaches. To date, no broad, open-ended feed-in tariffs have been created in the US, but political momentum for the policy appears to be building, and the US dialogue on feed-in tariffs is continuing to evolve.

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