Press release: Capitol Hill Staffers Learn About the Economic Benefits of Feed-In Tariffs

Timely discussion occurs as national Feed-In Tariff legislation is introduced.

Craig Lewis

Timely discussion occurs as national Feed-In Tariff legislation is introduced

Washington, DC – The FIT Coalition hosted an educational briefing on the economic benefits of Feed‐In Tariffs (FITs) in the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday. The briefing occurred with the backdrop of Congressman Jay Inslee’s introduction of the Renewable Energy Jobs and Security Act late Tuesday, which contains a national FIT policy (H.R. 5883). Panelists included Randy Hayes, US Director of the World Future Council and founder of Rainforest Action Network, Craig Lewis, FIT Coalition Executive Director, and Wilson Rickerson, CEO of Meister Consultants. Michael Eckhart of the American Council on Renewable Energy moderated the briefing.

Senate and Congressional staff learned about Feed‐In Tariffs (FITs) and the tremendous  economic, national security, and environmental benefits that they provide. FITs are fixed price, long‐term contracts that require a utility to buy electricity produced by renewable energy generators. Hayes provided an overview of FITs and focused on how they improve local self‐reliance by providing community based jobs and investment. Using Europe as an example of where FITs have been successful, he explained, “Since Feed‐In Tariffs have been exacted, Germany has created over a quarter million clean energy jobs and in Denmark, communities benefit directly with 80% local ownership of energy production under FIT policy.”

Lewis discussed in his presentation how FITs work to remove barriers and encourage increased
development of clean energy. “By providing long‐term fixed pricing, standard must‐take contacts, and by guaranteeing interconnection to the grid, Feed‐In Tariffs remove the three most critical barriers to scaling renewable energy in the United States today. Feed‐In Tariffs level the playing field for smaller generators and unleash the currently underdeveloped wholesale distributed generation market segment that provides the biggest opportunity for renewables for at least the next decade, ” remarked Lewis. He went on to explain how growth in clean energy can translate into millions of new jobs, produce tens of billions in new tax revenue, and attract hundreds of billions more in private investment.

Rickerson rounded out the three‐person panel by providing an overview of what is driving the growing interest in FITs. “With a strong and well‐designed FIT, the Germans have turbocharged their transition to renewable energy,” explained Rickerson. He cited statistic after statistic about how FITs scale up clean energy development and foster growth in the renewable sector. As an example, Rickerson noted, “In 2009, 86% of all solar photovoltaic generation was brought online through FITs.”

All the panelists were encouraged by the introduction of the Congressman Inslee’s bill and felt it was recognition that a FIT policy’s time has come. As Lewis remarked, “The U.S. should not wait on enacting a national Feed‐In Tariff. Unless we as a nation have a strategic desire to fall way behind China and Europe economically as the 6 trillion dollar annual energy market transitions to smart energy.”

The FIT Coalition is a leading force in replicating Feed‐In Tariffs and other global renewable energy best practices throughout the United States. The FIT Coalition’s mission is to identify and advocate for policies that will accelerate the deployment of cost‐effective renewable energy. The FIT Coalition believes the right policies will result in a timely transition to renewable energy while yielding tremendous economic benefits, including new job creation, increased tax revenue, and the establishment of an economic foundation that will drive growth for decades. The FIT Coalition is active at the national, state, and municipal levels.

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Craig Lewis

Founder and Executive Director

Craig has over 20 years of experience in the renewables, wireless, semiconductor, and banking industries. Previously VP of Government Relations at GreenVolts, he was the first to successfully navigate a solar project through California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard solicitation process. Craig was also the energy policy lead on Steve Westly’s 2006 California gubernatorial campaign, and his resume includes senior government relations, corporate development, and marketing positions at leading wireless, semiconductor, and banking companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Barclays Bank.