The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Silent Surcharges: Are All-Energy FITs a Good Idea?

Paul Gipe recently wrote a long post on the possibility of introducing feed-in tariffs for fossil fuel or nuclear-generated electricity.

I recommend reading it.

There are different opinions about the cost of renewable energy. Some people still try to say solar is too expensive.

But one thing is clear. All the figures are open for anyone to see. Everybody knows exactly how much is paid over the feed-in tariff to get solar energy deployed.

In contrast, the classic model of financing was: Add up whatever cost the utility had for their equipment, then add on some profit, and then fix electricity prices (requiring approval by a regulator) at a level resulting in that profit.

What exactly is the difference in the solar energy feed-in tariffs?

For one, the feed-in tariffs are reduced all the time, since costs go down. Those costs go down as a consequence of the feed-in tariffs, but they go down. A lot.

In contrast, the costs of fossil fuel or nuclear have not gone down.

Next, the costs were never disclosed in the same way to the consumer that the feed-in tariff does. Electricity bills don’t have a “fossil fuel cost surcharge” or a “new nuclear plant cost surcharge.” The utility just adds up all the costs in the model, without a need to disclose them to the customer.

These are silent surcharges.

And, of course, most of the cost is just ignored. Yes, fossil fuel use leads to larger and more dangerous storms, but I have never heard that anyone damaged by a hurricane sends a bill for the damage to the utility responsible for that damage.

Yes, severe nuclear accidents, like the Fukushima accident, lead to basically infinite damage, which no insurance company will ever underwrite without a built-in limit, and the balance of the risk is loaded off on the taxpayer without any compensation.

But, arguably, the classic model of financing is rather similar to a feed-in tariff. The regulator looks at actual costs and sets the price.

If so, setting a feed-in tariff for nuclear energy, as the United Kingdom may do according to Gipe’s article, would not be so different from what was done when most of the existing nuclear plants were built under monopoly structures.

The most important difference would be that the feed-in tariff would make the assumptions about costs transparent. That would be progress.

So yes, maybe it would be a good idea to have feed-in tariffs for all forms of electricity generation (except for countries where nuclear is illegal altogether, which would, of course, not have a feed-in tariff for nuclear energy).

This article was originally published on Lenz Blog and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Lightbulb via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

COMPANY BLOGS

How To Recruit An Internal Ally

When you’re collecting information for a proposal, the person with...

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS