Press release: FIT Coalition Launches Campaign to Enact Largest Comprehensive Feed-In Tariff in North America

Campaign to pass ambitious Feed-In Tariff in California to boost economy and reach clean energy goals.

Craig Lewis

Campaign to pass ambitious Feed-In Tariff in California to boost economy and reach clean energy goals

San Francisco – The FIT Coalition announces its intention to have enacted the largestcomprehensive FeedIn Tariff (FIT) in North America.  The campaign will focus on the bipartisan passage of FIT legislation in California that delivers on the state’s renewable energy goals while boosting the economy in a way that creates tens of thousands of jobs and stimulates billions of dollars in increased tax revenue for California.

The passage of the Renewable Energy and Economic Stimulus Act (REESA) in the California state legislature is the FIT Coalition’s number #1 campaign goal.  The legislation calls for enacting a FIT for renewable energy projects up to 20-megawatts (MW) in size and delivering an incremental 2% of California’s delivered energy from renewables every year through 2020.  A FIT is a standard, must-take, long-term contract eligible to any party that generates renewable energy under the guidelines of the program and sells that energy to a utility for a predetermined, fixed price.  FITs remove barriers and level the playing field by eliminating inefficient solicitation and/or auction processes; in addition to providing pricing transparency and interconnection certainty for renewable energy generators.

The REESA FIT unleashes the Wholesale Distributed Generation (WDG) market segment, which is comprised of 20 MW-and-under renewable energy projects that are interconnected to the distribution grid, with all energy production sold to a utility at wholesale rates.  WDG is the only market segment that is immediately scalable within California, creating near-term jobs and tax revenue; and WDG is the only market segment that can deliver enough renewable energy within the next 10 years to reach California’s mandate for 33% renewables by 2020.  The REESA is designed to fulfill the 33% Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) evenly over the ten-year period between 2011 and 2020.  The scale of this annual requirement is massive:  For example, if the 33% RPS were fulfilled entirely with solar energy, then roughly 4 GW of solar would need to be deployed every year.    4 GW is about 20 times more solar than California has ever deployed in a single year and far more than the combined potential of all renewable energy programs currently operational, approved, and/or contemplated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  In other words, California has never come close to meeting the annual renewable levels that are required to meet California’s RPS requirements.

The FIT Coalition campaign is taking a multifaceted approach for passing the REESA into law.  The FIT Coalition is building bipartisan support for the REESA by providing detailed analyses of its economic benefits.  Results from a ratepayer impact analysis already show that the REESA will save ratepayers billions of dollars while fulfilling the entire 33% RPS mandate by 2020.  Preliminary results from an additional study show that the REESA will create tens of thousands of California jobs quickly while stimulating billions in new tax revenue.  The FIT Coalition is also bringing together policymakers and industry stakeholders through a series of educational and industry alignment summits.  Finally, the FIT Coalition will continue to work closely with all parties, including utilities and regulators, to assure that the REESA helps meet California’s RPS goals while saving money for ratepayers.

Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the FIT Coalition, explains, “The passage of the REESA would be the most significant step California could take in transitioning to a clean energy economy in a cost-effective and timely manner.  It has been proven repeatedly around the world that no other policy mechanism comes close to a well-designed Wholesale DG FIT for producing steady growth in renewable energy deployments while stimulating maximum economic benefits interms of job creation and increased tax revenue.  WDG FITs also maximize value for ratepayers, because generation that is interconnected to the distribution grid is close to loads, minimizing line losses and investments in transmission infrastructure, which is always paid for by ratepayers.  Distribution upgrades, on the other hand, are paid for by developers, not ratepayers, and this fact contributes to the bargain that ratepayers receive from WDG renewables.  If adopted, the REESA will be the perfect complement to the 33% RPS and attract tens of billions of dollars of private investment into California.”

Jeff Brothers, CEO of Sol Orchard, a leading solar project developer in California adds, “While California has failed badly on its 20%-by-2010 RPS mandate, 33% by 2020 can actually be achieved on time and with savings to ratepayers by enacting the REESA FIT.  Most RPS programs, like California’s 20% RPS, set targets for renewables without complementary policies that result in actual projects getting deployed.  The REESA legislation, with its comprehensiveFIT, will create the necessary incentive to spark massive investment in the renewable energy industry here in California.  I am confident that with the FIT Coalition leading the charge, the REESA will be passed into law this fall.”

Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate of Sierra Club California, further validates the importance of the REESA FIT: “Sierra Club California and the FIT Coalition are actively collaborating on educating stakeholders and policymakers about the tremendous benefits of comprehensiveFITs.  The REESA FIT in particular will deliver unparalleled environmental and economic benefits to California, since it will allow California’s 33% RPS mandate to be achieved on schedule while delivering massive economic benefits to the state in the form of significant boosts to job growth and increased tax revenues.  I expect that the REESA FIT will be the biggest single factor inachieving a thriving renewable energy industry in California.”

The FIT Coalition is a leading force in replicating FeedIn 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 in the United States. 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.