Capitol Comments

The new policy option on the block for spurring renewable energy (RE) expansion is the feed-in tariff – or FIT.  Feed-in tariffs offer a price per kilowatt-hour to producers of certain electricity sources, most notably solar and wind.  Feed-in tariffs have been successful in Europe for quite some time, but are only beginning to break into the United States, where the dominant policy tool for advancing renewable energy generation has been the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

Three items to report on briefly today:

· Two weeks from today, CSG will convene its 2010 National Conference in Providence, RI.  During the meeting, the Energy & Environment Policy Task Force will host an open roundtable discussion focusing on the key issues states can be expected to face in 2011.  The roundtable presents an excellent opportunity for participants to share their insights...

On Tuesday, Californians voted down Prop. 23, which sought to suspend California’s landmark global warming/clean energy legislation until unemployment dropped to 5.5% for 4 consecutive quarters.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans to accelerate the development of offshore wind power in the United States.  The US, particularly along the East Coast, has vast reserves of offshore wind.  According to Willett Kempton of the Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration at the University of Delaware, offshore wind has an estimated 18 times the resource of offshore oil.[i]  DOE intends to realize 54 gigawatts (GW) of wind by 2030 within a cost range of 7-9 cents per kilowatt-hour.[ii]

On November 2nd, Californians will vote “yes” or “no” on Proposition 23.  Prop 23 seeks to suspend AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 through, among other things, increased use of renewable energy and pollution controls until state unemployment (currently at 12.4%) is sustained at 5.5% for 4 consecutive quarters.  That has only happened 3 times in the last 34 years.

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