Archive for October 2011

What’s New on Feed-in Tariffs

By Paul Gipe

What’s New on Feed-in Tariffs

  • ClearSky Advisors: Did Anti-Renewable Energy Policy Cost Candidate the Ontario Election?–But what about Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate Hudak: Did he lose this election because of his negative stance towards green energy? . . We can’t know for certain, but two pieces of evidence suggests that the PC party would benefit from a more pragmatic approach to green energy in the future: The PC party did not gain a single seat in 11 ridings with significant new green energy manufacturing facilities, suggesting that green energy policy might actually have saved McGuinty from an overall loss. . . While the PCs’ loss of support can’t be solely attributed to Hudak’s aggressive stance on green energy policy, it is clear that he made no gains by taking such a negative position. . .
  • Solutions: How Germany Became Europe’s Green Leader: A Look at Four Decades of Sustainable Policymaking–The German success in rapid renewable-energy deployment relies on a robust feed-in tariff law and an overall comprehensive climate and energy framework with a long-term perspective. This policy environment comes with streamlined administrative procedures that help shorten lead times and bureaucratic overhead and that minimize project costs. All of the above create a high investment certainty that the United States overall and most of its states independently currently lack. . .
  • METI: Summary of Principles of Japan’s Proposed Feed-in Tariffs
  • Energy Matters: 25,000 Employed In UK Solar Power Sector from Feed-in Tariffs–An analysis carried out by the UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) has found the UK solar sector now employs around 25,000 people – eight times the number since the country’s solar feed in tariff initiative was introduced. . .
  • Updated Tables of Feed-In Tariffs Worldwide–Updated tables include new French PV tariffs (4th Quarter 2011), tariffs for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and suggested tariff in the Maldives. . .
  • Palo Alto Proposes Limited Solar Feed-in Tariff–Palo Alto’s municipal utility has proposed a limited feed-in tariff program for solar photovoltaics (solar PV) only. . .
  • Snapshot of Feed-in Tariffs around the World in 2011–[Updated 10/06/11] Feed-in tariffs are the world’s most popular renewable energy policy mechanism. Despite the economic recession, more and more jurisdictions are turning to feed-in tariffs to spur not only renewable energy development but also industrial development and the attendant jobs that it creates. . . The following article is a snapshot of where feed-in tariffs are being used, and the prices that are being paid. While extensive, this article is not comprehensive. It does not include every tariff for every technology in every jurisdiction, but it does give a flavor for the breadth of this policy mechanism with the odd name. . .

Nuclear Power, Japan, Feed-in Tariffs, and the Rapid Development of Renewables

 

What’s New on Solar Energy



This feed-in tariff news update is partially supported by An Environmental Trust and David Blittersdorf in cooperation with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The views expressed are those of Paul Gipe and are not necessarily those of the sponsors.


Clean Coalition Update: Tribute to Bob Galvin, SREC vs CLEAN, interconnection reform and more

by Clean Coalition

 

Dear Clean Coalition Friends,

The smart energy community has lost a great friend.  Last week, Robert “Bob” William Galvin, best known as the longtime chief executive officer of Motorola, Inc., passed away at the age of 89.  He was a global business leader and innovator, author, and philanthropist who can take significant credit for helping to transform the telecommunications industry through policy and technology innovations.  More recently, Bob Galvin founded the Galvin Electricity Initiative to focus his wherewithal on transforming the quality of the nation’s obsolete electricity system, a necessity if we are to move our nation towards the widespread adoption of clean local energy and restore our economy in a globally competitive market dependent on digital technologies.  His experience in the telecommunications industry taught him well that policy innovation drives technology innovation; and both are required to achieve industrial transformations.

One of Bob Galvin’s great sayings was, “Challenge the status quo and don’t settle for anything less than perfection.”  The Clean Coalition applies this sentiment as we fight policy inertia and promote policies and programs that will truly make clean local energy accessible now.

With this in mind, I am pleased to share news on a bold new report by John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance entitled Finding the More Cost-Effective Solar Policy.  In light of the recent collapse of Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) markets, Farrell’s report aims to compare the cost-effectiveness of SREC and Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Programs to finance solar energy projects and meet renewable energy goals.  The results?  The transparency, certainty, and low risk nature of CLEAN Programs allow them to deliver solar energy at a significantly lower levelized cost than SRECs.  This means CLEAN Programs enjoy higher bankability with lower transaction costs and lighter ratepayer impact.  The report is certainly a challenge to the status quo in places like New Jersey, which has assumed that SRECs are a preferred mechanism for encouraging solar deployments.  Farrell’s analysis contests that assumption using specific metrics of program effectiveness.  His report clearly shows the opportunity that new jurisdictions have in considering CLEAN Programs.  You can download a copy of Farrell’s report here.
Thank you for supporting the Clean Coalition and our pursuit of making clean local energy accessible now.

Sincerely,

Craig Lewis
Executive Director, Clean Coalition


SB 32 CLEAN Program:  Pricing workshop and staff proposal feedback
 

Since our last newsletter, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held their pricing workshop for the implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 32* and released a staff draft proposal for the program.

Pricing under the new SB 32 CLEAN Program will be key in determining its success.  The Clean Coalition’s assessment of the information presented at the pricing workshop and/or from the current staff proposal is as follows:

  • Overall:  Staff proposal is generally well formed.
  • Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM)** based pricing:  If pricing for SB 32 is to be related to the clearing price in the new RAM program, then it should be based on the November 2011 auction clearing price, with later adjustments made in reaction to market response of the program (as CPUC staff suggested).
  • Locational adder:  Pricing should follow the staff proposed formula of RAM clearing price plus transmission costs, locational adder, and time-of-delivery (TOD) adjustments; however, a different formula than the one suggested should be used for the transmission component of the locational adder.  Specifically, the Clean Coalition recommends the transparent use of Transmission Access Charges (TACs), which are calculated by the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) each year. This data is publicly available and clearly reflects the avoided transmission component of clean local energy.
  • Adding a scaling factor:  A scaling factor should be considered against the RAM clearing price.  This can be done by using national data to compare 20-megawatt (MW) size projects to projects that are 3 MW and below (this data is available from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory).  This data will provide a more accurate avoided cost base for SB 32 projects.
  • When no RAM price is available:  If there is no applicable RAM clearing price for a particular technology, the latest Market Price Referent (MPR) should be used in lieu of the RAM clearing price.
The Clean Coalition expressed the above opinions at the pricing workshop, and will also submit written comments that expand on the above statements now that the revised staff proposal is available.

Given the current status of the implementation process, the Clean Coalition expects that an official Proposed Decision will be ready by the end of the year, with a statewide CLEAN Program in operation before mid-2012.

* SB 32 is enacted legislation that calls for an expansion of California’s existing, albeit small, AB 1969 CLEAN Program.  Among other things, SB 32 expands the AB 1969 program size from 500 MW to 750 MW of clean local energy and increases the eligible project size from 1.5 MW to 3 MW.

** RAM is a two-year procurement program that was adopted by the CPUC with the purpose of lowering transaction costs and promoting the development of projects on the larger end of the WDG market segment, which includes projects up to 20 MW in size.


Interconnection Reform:  Rule 21 / Distribution System Interconnection Settlement update

The Clean Coalition has been pushing for interconnection reform since its founding, and is deeply engaged in the CPUC’s Rule 21*** reform process that is now taking place under a formal proceeding known as the Distribution System Interconnection Settlement (DSIS).  [Please see previous newsletters over the last year to see how the Rule 21 reform process has evolved.]

The goal of the new DSIS proceeding is to have a vastly improved statewide interconnection tariff that applies to all projects interconnecting to the distribution grid, including wholesale Qualifying Facilities (QFs).  The targeted timeframe is to reach agreement on the improved interconnection tariff by the end of this year and have that single tariff implemented throughout California by early 2012.  Additional refinements will be pursued later in 2012, but a vastly improved interconnection situation is the goal of the settlement process.

DSIS proceeding activities are happening on a weekly basis to address the following four issues:

Issue 1:  Reform Distribution-Level Interconnection Process, Queuing and Reporting Requirements

  • Define the appropriate interconnection study process for all types of generation resources seeking interconnection to the distribution system.
  • Create distribution-level interconnection procedures for storage technologies.
  • Evaluate and determine appropriate processes for establishing distribution-level interconnection queues (serial or cluster).

Issue 2:  Technology Operating Standards, Standardized Engineering Study Methodology, and Deliverability Study Methodology

  • Evaluate the need to revise technical operating standards due to advances in technology, communications, and the potential need for the system operator to control these systems.
  • Define distinct engineering methodologies based on the characteristics of the resource, such as the resource’s impact on the transmission system.
  • Establish a path to resource adequacy qualification for resources that have certain characteristics.

Issue 3: Limits on Distributed Generation Penetration

  • Review and modify, if necessary, the screening mechanism that limits an expedited interconnection to fifteen percent of a line section’s peak load.

Issue 4: Cost Allocation for Infrastructure Upgrades

  • Evaluate mechanisms to improve cost certainty around infrastructure upgrades throughout the interconnection study process.
  • Evaluate methodologies to allocate infrastructure upgrade costs between generators and ratepayers.

The Clean Coalition’s participation in the DSIS will focus on making sure reform efforts achieve outcomes that support far greater levels of cost-effective and timely clean local energy via predictable interconnection processes.  While information discussed in the DSIS proceeding is confidential, all parties wishing to join the proceeding and settlement process may inquire with the CPUC.  Please check their website for details.

*** Rule 21 is a California procedure used for most interconnection to the distribution grid that falls under state jurisdiction, including all projects interconnected behind-the-meter; like net-metering projects.  Rule 21 is also used for wholesale PURPA Qualifying Facilities, including in SCE’s CREST Program, and is likely to be used in the upcoming SB 32 CLEAN Program.


Local CLEAN Program Guide:  New module release – Gaining Support for a CLEAN Program; next module on Evaluating Avoided Costs due out shortly; upcoming ICLEI webinar

 

The Clean Coalition has released the Gaining Support for a CLEAN Program module of the Local CLEAN Program Guide. The Guide is a comprehensive how-to guide for communities and utilities across the nation to evaluate, design, and enact Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Programs based on global best practices for ramping cost-effective renewables and reaping the associated economic benefits.  The Guide draws from tremendously successful CLEAN Programs in the United States, such as the Gainesville, FL program and the soon-to-be operational CLEAN Programs that the Clean Coalition helped design in Fort Collins, Colorado and Palo Alto, California.

The latest module explains how policymakers, utility staff members, and other stakeholders can generate support for a well-designed local CLEAN Program.  This module includes best practices for creating a strategic plan, conducting outreach, defining program goals, and building momentum for the program.  Gaining Support for a CLEAN Program is available free for download on our website here.

Also, please check the website frequently as the Evaluating Avoided Costs module will be released in the next few weeks.  This module will help readers design cost-effective CLEAN Programs that take advantage of the avoided costs and the superior value of CLEAN energy.

Want to learn more about kick-starting a CLEAN Program in your area?  Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, will be presenting on this topic during a webinar sponsored by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – on Tuesday, December 6, 11 am to noon (PST).  To reserve your virtual seat at this free webinar, please send an email to LocalGuide@Clean-Coalition.org.


Palo Alto Utility recommends city adopt CLEAN Program

The Clean Coalition is happy to announce that the Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC) voted to recommend that the Palo Alto City Council adopt a CLEAN Program.  The process started with casual considerations by City Council members and other key influences in early-2010 as they considered how a CLEAN Program in Palo Alto could significantly boost the city’s use of clean energy and create local jobs.

Carefully designed over the last year, the new Palo Alto CLEAN Program will begin with solar only, capitalizing on the community’s most readily available clean energy resource.  The program is designed to require the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) to purchase electricity generated from solar electric systems located in its service territory.   While the CLEAN Program details have not been finalized, the general plan is that the program will begin in February 2012 with the purchase of up to 4 MW of solar capacity in 2012.  Initially, projects must be at least 100 kilowatts (kW) in size, and the CPAU will buy the energy for about 15 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh).  The UAC will review the program in time to release the 2013 plan in the fall of 2012.

While the Clean Coalition’s involvement has been informal, multiple members of the Coalition’s team have actively provided the CPAU, the UAC, and the City Council with analysis and feedback throughout the CLEAN Program development process.  Initially, the Coalition helped identify impending shortfalls in Palo Alto’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) fulfillment and to perform an initial analysis of Palo Alto’s avoided cost of energy.  With the City Council’s approval of the initial concept of a CLEAN Program, the CPAU developed the program proposal now moving through the approval process.

The final City Council vote is expected this December.  If adopted, Palo Alto will become the second California publicly owned utility to adopt a CLEAN Program; Sacramento instituted a CLEAN Program in 2010.


CLEAN California Campaign:  New partners, Clean Economy Network webinar video
 
The CLEAN California Campaign represents a broad partnership of California business, government, environmental, academic, and social justice organizations that are encouraging the state to implement a robust CLEAN Program that will meet Governor Brown’s goal to install 12,000 MW of distributed generation by 2020.  The growing list of Campaign partners now includes the California Environmental Justice Alliance, the Truman National Security Project, and Focus the Nation.

On October 12, the Clean Economy Network, a CLEAN California Campaign partner, hosted a webinar in which Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, discussed the CLEAN California Campaign and highlighted local CLEAN Programs that are moving forward in the United States.  Mark Fulton, Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research at Deutsche Bank and a Clean Coalition Board of Advisors member, talked about the German CLEAN Program success and discussed how the German model can be leveraged in the United States.  Mike Eckhart, Citigroup’s Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability, moderated the webinar.  Please visit the Clean Coalition’s website to watch a video of the webinar, which provides a comprehensive look at CLEAN Programs from both domestic and global points-of-view.

To learn more about the CLEAN California Campaign and/or to endorse it, please visit www.EnergyJobsNow.org.


Clean Coalition weighs in on CEC’s draft report on Renewable Power in California

As part of the Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) Committee, California Energy Commission (CEC) staff released a draft report entitled Renewable Power in California: Status and Issues (click here to download the CEC report).  The report will be the foundation upon which the CEC will be creating its action plan for deploying more clean energy projects in California, including reaching the Governor’s goal for 12,000 MW of Distributed Generation (DG) by 2020.

The Clean Coalition submitted formal feedback on the draft report focusing on the following three key areas:

  • The Wholesale Distributed Generation (WDG) market segment, which is comprised of 20 MW-and-smaller projects that are interconnected to the distribution grid, needs enhanced representation in the draft proposal.  Beyond this segment’s potential to provide most of the Governor’s goal for 12,000 MW of DG in a cost-effective and timely manner, WDG is best able to address the major objectives and values expressed by the Governor, the CPUC, and the CEC.  WDG is the most cost-effective renewable energy market segment because it optimizes the utilization of available sites to serve local load, while avoiding costs and delays associated with transmission upgrades that are required for large central station projects.
  • Regional targets for reaching the Governor’s goal of 12,000 MW of DG should be based on load, with adjustments for special policy objectives.  The currently proposed methodology includes an overly complex mix of factors, many of which use market trends as a proxy for future development.  This methodology would lead to inefficiencies in the development of regional targets as existing market trends are presently disconnected from current policy goals.
  • California must implement policies that help modernize the state’s electricity system with an Intelligent Grid and “Interconnection 3.0” features.  Transitioning to a distributed renewable energy future will require statewide deployment of an Intelligent Grid, including the overlaying of a comprehensive electronic control and communication system on the current power grid.  Additionally, future interconnection procedures should be designed with state-of-the-art information technology and grid modeling solutions.  The Clean Coalition refers to such grid awareness and modeling as “Interconnection 3.0” and it will radically improve current interconnection planning and study procedures.

To review the entire Clean Coalition submission, download the filing here.  The CEC is expected to post a revised executive summary of the report on October 24 and have the final report finished by December 6.  The new draft IEPR report will be posted for public comment on December 1.  Check the CEC website here for further details.


CREST Motion victory in California

Last month, the Clean Coalition reported on the official Motion it filed with the CPUC to modify the Southern California Edison (SCE) California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST)**** Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) (please see the last newsletter for details).  The Clean Coalition’s Motion called for fundamental modifications that would allow banks to actually finance the CREST projects.  The importance of this modification is evidenced by the fact that practically no CREST PPAs have been executed even though there are over 150 MW of projects ready to build, if the CREST PPA becomes financeable.

On October 11, the CPUC issued its Proposed Decision on the Clean Coalition Motion.  The Motion was granted with only minor changes.  This is a major victory in the Clean Coalition’s push for a standard WDG PPA that works for all parties and is easy to finance.

The outcome of this Proposed Decision means that:

  • SCE must replace major provisions in the “Termination” and “Project Assignment” sections with language from their Solar Photovoltaic Program (SPVP) contract.  From the point of view of traditional lenders, these are the most essential and necessary changes to make the PPA financeable.
  • SCE must remove language from the PPA that would have allowed the utility to modify the contract later, even years after the PPA had been signed.  This language made the contracts highly risky for lenders and will no longer be an obstacle.
  • New PPA contracts will now allow projects to come online 6 months later than the previous deadline allowed (originally 18 months, now 2 years), if delays to project development are caused by interconnection or permitting issues outside of the developer’s control.
  • New PPA contract adds another interconnection agreement option for developers and removed the requirement that the interconnection agreement needed to be completed before the PPA could be signed.

This Proposed Decision is expected to be voted on during the November 10 CPUC meeting and once approved, will go in to effect immediately, requiring SCE to file the changes within 5 days.

The Clean Coalition applauds the CPUC’s swift response to the Motion.  By fixing the CREST PPA, the Clean Coalition now expects this previously under-subscribed clean local energy procurement program to expand rapidly, creating jobs and bringing private investment to California.  Further, the timing of the PPA fix is critical, as it will allow projects to qualify for federal tax benefits that will otherwise expire at the end of 2011.

**** The California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST) Program is SCE’s implementation of Assembly Bill 1969, the existing predecessor CLEAN Program to the coming SB 32 CLEAN Program.  Although CREST has been available since 2008, only a handful of projects have been successfully contracted under the program.

U.S. Solar Panel Makers Say China Violated Trade Rules

Seven American makers of solar panels filed a broad trade case in Washington against the Chinese solar industry on Wednesday, accusing it of using billions of dollars in government subsidies to help gain sales in the American market.

Gordon Brinser, of SolarWorld Industries America, flanked by Senators Jeff Merkley, right, and Ron Wyden, both of Oregon, announcing the filing of the China trade case on Wednesday.

Readers’ Comments

The companies also accused China of dumping solar panels in the United States for less than it costs to manufacture and ship them.

The trade case, filed at the Commerce Department, seeks tariffs of more than 100 percent of the wholesale price of solar panels from China, which shipped $1.6 billion of the panels to the United States in the first eight months of this year.

The filing, which the Commerce Department must review under federal rules, is certain to be controversial. For one thing, if successful, it would drive up the price of solar energy in the name of trying to breathe life into a flagging American industry. High costs have already kept solar power from becoming more than a niche energy source in the United States.

The case also coincides with criticism by Congressional Republicans of the Obama administration’s efforts to support American clean energy companies. Republicans argue that federal loan guarantees of more than a half-billion dollars to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra show the folly of the administration’s efforts to guide industrial policy in that field.

The filing might also add fuel to the anti-China sentiments that are running high in some Washington corridors and have started to seep into the presidential campaign.

Chinese commerce officials had no immediate comment about Wednesday’s solar panel filing, but have vehemently opposed such trade cases. A Chinese solar company manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a telephone interview that in any trade case filed by the American industry, “We would be well prepared and are confident we could defend it.”

In August, Solyndra and two other American solar energy companies filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the plunging prices of solar technology from China. Many of the surviving companies, meanwhile, have been laying off workers and closing factories, or setting up shop in China.

Two Democratic senators on Wednesday joined the news conference in Washington announcing the trade case, which is being led by an Oregon solar panel maker, SolarWorld Industries America.

“American solar operations should be rapidly expanding to keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for these products,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “But that is not what has been happening,” Mr. Wyden said. “There seems to be one primary explanation for this; that is, that China is cheating.”

He was joined by his Oregon colleague Senator Jeff Merkley, also a Democrat, who said China was engaging in “rogue practices.”

Whatever the partisan positioning, though, the trade case will procedurally begin above the political fray. It will follow a quasi-judicial path at the Commerce Department and a related American agency, the International Trade Commission, that is intended to operate without partisan influence.

Other recent industry cases against China that have followed this process include one filed in late March, involving galvanized steel wire. The most recently completed case against China, in late May, resulted in tariffs of about 33 percent levied against certain types of imported aluminum products.

The White House on Wednesday declined to comment on the solar trade filing. But President Obama recently appeared to support the American solar industry’s concerns. In a White House news conference on Oct. 6 he said: “Even if the technology was developed in the United States, they end up going to China because the Chinese government will say, ‘We’re going to help you get started, we’ll help you scale up, we’ll give you low-interest loans or no-interest loans, we will give siting, we will do whatever it takes for you to get started here.’ ”

United States policy toward China provoked a recent back-and-forth between Mr. Obama’s staff and Mitt Romney, whom many Democrats expect to be the Republican presidential nominee. Mr. Romney, talking tough in a Republican debate last week, said the United States had been “run over by China” for 20 years and “you have to have a president that will take action.”

In response, Mr. Obama’s senior campaign strategist, David Axelrod, countered that Mr. Romney was once again flip-flopping, having criticized Mr. Obama in the past as protectionistfor mounting a trade case against China on behalf of AmericSeven American makers of solar panels filed a broad trade case in Washington against the Chinese solar industry on Wednesday, accusing it of using billions of dollars in government subsidies to help gain sales in the American market.

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

Gordon Brinser, of SolarWorld Industries America, flanked by Senators Jeff Merkley, right, and Ron Wyden, both of Oregon, announcing the filing of the China trade case on Wednesday.

Readers’ Comments

The companies also accused China of dumping solar panels in the United States for less than it costs to manufacture and ship them.

The trade case, filed at the Commerce Department, seeks tariffs of more than 100 percent of the wholesale price of solar panels from China, which shipped $1.6 billion of the panels to the United States in the first eight months of this year.

The filing, which the Commerce Department must review under federal rules, is certain to be controversial. For one thing, if successful, it would drive up the price of solar energy in the name of trying to breathe life into a flagging American industry. High costs have already kept solar power from becoming more than a niche energy source in the United States.

The case also coincides with criticism by Congressional Republicans of the Obama administration’s efforts to support American clean energy companies. Republicans argue that federal loan guarantees of more than a half-billion dollars to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra show the folly of the administration’s efforts to guide industrial policy in that field.

The filing might also add fuel to the anti-China sentiments that are running high in some Washington corridors and have started to seep into the presidential campaign.

Chinese commerce officials had no immediate comment about Wednesday’s solar panel filing, but have vehemently opposed such trade cases. A Chinese solar company manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a telephone interview that in any trade case filed by the American industry, “We would be well prepared and are confident we could defend it.”

In August, Solyndra and two other American solar energy companies filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the plunging prices of solar technology from China. Many of the surviving companies, meanwhile, have been laying off workers and closing factories, or setting up shop in China.

Two Democratic senators on Wednesday joined the news conference in Washington announcing the trade case, which is being led by an Oregon solar panel maker, SolarWorld Industries America.

“American solar operations should be rapidly expanding to keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for these products,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “But that is not what has been happening,” Mr. Wyden said. “There seems to be one primary explanation for this; that is, that China is cheating.”

He was joined by his Oregon colleague Senator Jeff Merkley, also a Democrat, who said China was engaging in “rogue practices.”

Whatever the partisan positioning, though, the trade case will procedurally begin above the political fray. It will follow a quasi-judicial path at the Commerce Department and a related American agency, the International Trade Commission, that is intended to operate without partisan influence.

Other recent industry cases against China that have followed this process include one filed in late March, involving galvanized steel wire. The most recently completed case against China, in late May, resulted in tariffs of about 33 percent levied against certain types of imported aluminum products.

The White House on Wednesday declined to comment on the solar trade filing. But President Obama recently appeared to support the American solar industry’s concerns. In a White House news conference on Oct. 6 he said: “Even if the technology was developed in the United States, they end up going to China because the Chinese government will say, ‘We’re going to help you get started, we’ll help you scale up, we’ll give you low-interest loans or no-interest loans, we will give siting, we will do whatever it takes for you to get started here.’ ”

United States policy toward China provoked a recent back-and-forth between Mr. Obama’s staff and Mitt Romney, whom many Democrats expect to be the Republican presidential nominee. Mr. Romney, talking tough in a Republican debate last week, said the United States had been “run over by China” for 20 years and “you have to have a president that will take action.”

In response, Mr. Obama’s senior campaign strategist, David Axelrod, countered that Mr. Romney was once again flip-flopping, having criticized Mr. Obama in the past as protectionist for mounting a trade case against China on behalf of American tire producers

What’s New on Feed-in Tariffs

By Paul Gipe

 

  • Pakistan Regulator Seeks Approval of Feed-in Tariffs for Wind–Feed-in tariffs for wind energy have been submitted to the Water and Power Ministry from Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA). NEPRA has proposed a novel two-tier system of tariffs depending upon ownership. Pakistan will pay foreign wind developers less than domestically-owned companies. . .
  • Maldives May Launch Solar Feed in Tariff–The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 300,000 inhabitants, may be moving towards a system of feed-tariffs for solar photovoltaics (solar PV). . .
  • Updated Tables of Feed-In Tariffs Worldwide–Updated tables include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and suggested tariff in the Maldives. . .
  • Palo Alto Proposes Limited Solar Feed-in Tariff–Palo Alto’s municipal utility has proposed a limited feed-in tariff program for solar photovoltaics (solar PV) only. . .
  • Reuters: Green energy sector cheers Ontario election result–Ontario’s renewable energy industry breathed a sigh of relief on Friday and manufacturers looked forward to a surge in demand after voters in the province returned the Liberal Party to power, albeit without a majority. . .
  • Tyler Hamilton: Liberals re-elected in Ontario: Green Energy Act and feed-in-tariff program live on–Happy to report that the re-election of the Ontario Liberal government last night means the province’s landmark Green Energy Act, which gave birth to the continent’s first comprehensive Euro-style feed-in-tariff program, has survived its first major challenge. The opposition Progressive Conservative party vowed to scrap the FIT program if elected and neuter the green energy legislation that has brought billions of dollars of investment to Ontario, thousands of jobs, and a new economic pathway for a province that needs to reinvent itself for the 21st century. . .
  • Summary of Sophisticated Sri Lankan Tariffs–In 2010, Sri Lanka launched a sophisticated program of feed-in tariffs. Sri Lanka now has some of the highest feed-in tariffs for wind, hydro, and biomass in the developing world. . .
  • Snapshot of Feed-in Tariffs around the World in 2011–[Updated 10/06/11] Feed-in tariffs are the world’s most popular renewable energy policy mechanism. Despite the economic recession, more and more jurisdictions are turning to feed-in tariffs to spur not only renewable energy development but also industrial development and the attendant jobs that it creates. . . The following article is a snapshot of where feed-in tariffs are being used, and the prices that are being paid. While extensive, this article is not comprehensive. It does not include every tariff for every technology in every jurisdiction, but it does give a flavor for the breadth of this policy mechanism with the odd name. . .

 

Pakistan Regulator Seeks Approval of Feed-in Tariffs for Wind

Two-tier Tariff System Proposed–First in Developing World

October 11, 2011

by Paul Gipe

Feed-in tariffs for wind energy have been submitted to the Water and Power Ministry from Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).

NEPRA has proposed a novel two-tier system of tariffs depending upon ownership. Pakistan will pay foreign wind developers less than domestically-owned companies.

If the proposed tariffs are approved by the Ministry, Pakistan would leap ahead of any feed-in tariff proposal for wind energy in North America. The targeted wind capacity of 1,500 MW is alone significant. Possibly more significant, however, the proposed tariffs are not simply fixed at one single price for 20 years. Instead the Pakistani tariffs are differentiated by decade. For example, the tariffs during years eleven through twenty are half those during the first ten years of the contract. Payment in this manner approximates repayment of debt and equity during the first decade. After debt retirement, the tariff can be substantially reduced while still maintaining the desired return on equity sufficient to attract investment.

  • Project size: >5 MW<250 MW.
  • Program is open only to the end of 2012 and limited to a total of 1,500 MW.
  • Financing must be closed 12 months after contract is awarded and projects must also be completed within 18 months.

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Up-front Tariffs for Wind Energy

-End-