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 Post subject: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090407 23:19 
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I'm in the process of applying for a fellowship and I'm required, before the final round of interviews, to write a short essay on an issue I have seen mentioned in the news recently. I only was given 24 hours for the task, so answers wouldn't change what I wrote, but I think it'd be interesting to hear thoughts on it all the same. I chose to write about feed-in tarrifs. For those of you who don't know: http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/filea ... fs_WFC.pdf

My city is currently getting some serious attention for being a testing site for the feasibility of a statewide program like this in Florida.

I thought this might be a nice change of pace from flash games and pubes.

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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090407 23:42 
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I was disappointed; I thought the link was to a pdf of the short essay that you wrote.

The pamphlet you linked sounds terribly biased (unsurprising) and a little sketchy, honestly. The most annoying thing about it for me was that I was around halfway through the thing before it actually told me what a Feed-In Tariff was... and I was left with a kind of an uncomfortable feeling. I'm not quite sure how to put it, so this is going to be a stream of consciousness, for the most part.


So basically, company A says "I want to make a risky investment" and goes to company B with a contract saying that company B absolutely must buy from company A, backing their risky investment over a fixed period. I mean, yeah, it's energy -- not something stupid with no market, like tails for computer mice -- but it's still a bit strange to see that.

If I think about it a little more, it kind of feels like the housing problem. Company A wants to buy something really expensive, so they make contracts with companies B, C, and D. Company A then goes ahead and buys the expensive thing without actually having the money on hand? And then consumers are encouraged to do the same thing -- spend money on their own upgrades and bet on future income that reduces their repayment period by decades?

I mean, yeah, energy is essential and will never "go out of style", but then, housing was teh same way too... wasn't it?

I guess that's what bothers me.


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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 04:05 
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It was the easiest thing I could find in an electronic copy that would save me having to type out the whole thing. Maybe the pamphlet just failed utterly to explain the idea if you haven't already heard of it. It was a very short essay (by college standards, anyway), but here are some gathered excerpts which might make more sense.

A feed-in tariff policy would allow investors to produce their own energy from solar panels, which electricity companies would then be required to purchase through a long-term contract at an increased rate that would allow the investors to more than offset the cost. The beauty of this plan is that it would allow investment on any scale – from large agencies (such as the University of Florida where such a plan is in consideration) to private institutions (consider churches, where the utility use is a matter of hours a week, but solar panels could be raising money daily) to individual homeowners who have solar panels installed on their rooftops.
There is no denying that the initial cost of solar installation would be a burden on the investor, and in our present economic state both business- and homeowners might be reluctant to make the investment lest the payout be less than sufficient or the plan prove unfeasible. However, research has shown that a feed-in tariff plan is not only stable but also exceptionally effective. The Environmental Defense Fund cites Germany as an example, where ta large-scale feed-in tariff plan is already established, resulting in a reduction of the kilowatt per hour cost of renewable energy by 25%, not to mention a seven-fold increase in renewable energy production. The cost to the energy companies is spread out to all consumers, resulting in a net annual increase of roughly 18 euro ($25) in utility costs, which is easily compensated by the money earned by the solar panels. In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated in 2006 that even a poor implementation of a national feed-in tariff in the United States could create a minimum of 350,000 new jobs; the Apollo Alliance, two years earlier, put the number of potential new jobs in the millions. With minimal governmental expenditures, this would be a feasible plan for our government even under the current fiscal strain.

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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 04:46 
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Monkee wrote:
A feed-in tariff policy would allow investors to produce their own energy from solar panels, which electricity companies would then be required to purchase through a long-term contract at an increased rate that would allow the investors to more than offset the cost.


This is the part that disturbs me and makes me think of the housing problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 05:36 
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Any chance of us getting the "Simple English Wiki" version of that explanation? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 06:00 
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I want to buy a car and it would take me forever to pay for it if I took out a loan.

However, I go to you and a bunch of other people and make you sign contracts that say you each will pay me AAA dollars a month for B years. In addition to that, you all agree that you will only ride in my car. At the end of B years, I have actually turned a profit, because AAA*B was greater than the actual cost of the car.


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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 14:35 
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On a side note, I want to emphasize the renewable energy thing. That's an important bit of this, it's not just about LOL I MAEK MONIES NAO.

I want cleaner energy. I pay X dollars to have solar panels installed on my home, place of work, church, whatever. A meter is also installed, which measures the amount of energy generated by the solar panels. I then enter into a W-year contract with the regional utilities in which they purchase all the energy generated by my solar panels for a set fee of Y dollars/watt. This energy is then sold back to the consumers as a part of the regular electrical utilities (reducing the amount needed from things like coal) for Z dollars/watt (at an increase of A dollars/watt from their original prices to offset the cost of purchasing the energy). Example:

In Gainesville, FL, the Gainesville Regional Utilities now pay $0.32 per kilowatt hour for energy generated from solar panels, which is then sold at $0.12 per kilowatt hour back to the consumer; the contract is based on the property and lasts for twenty years. Prices of solar panel installation is dropping, and GRU estimates that for Gainesville citizens the net annual reduction of their utilities bills for those on the feed-in tariff plan will be 3-5%.

Then again, who knows? Maybe electricity will go out of style.

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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090408 23:07 
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Well, if enough people do it, wouldn't you end up with an unsellable surplus? On top of that, the company's taking a 20-cent hit per kilowatt-hour -- I don't see how that's remotely sustainable...


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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090409 00:52 
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I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not following any of this. But here's what you need to do to get me on board with this renewable energy stuff: give me solar cells (or some other device) I can attach to my house to power my own lifestyle. Don't even mention anything about money. A free, renewable, self-sustaining energy resource is what I'd like to have. :nod:

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 Post subject: Re: Feed-in Tarrifs
PostPosted: 090409 22:03 
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Quote:
Well, if enough people do it, wouldn't you end up with an unsellable surplus? On top of that, the company's taking a 20-cent hit per kilowatt-hour -- I don't see how that's remotely sustainable...


The twenty cents is distributed across all consumers (which is, for example, the 18 euro/year increase of utilities costs in Germany). And if so many people get on board that we're sustained entirely by solar power, well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Quote:
I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not following any of this. But here's what you need to do to get me on board with this renewable energy stuff: give me solar cells (or some other device) I can attach to my house to power my own lifestyle.


Unfortunately, the amount of energy a house uses is simply far too much for solar panels to be able to produce enough to sustain it. The feed-in tariff is to increase the use of renewable energy and to prove it to be a viable alternative to coal and the like.


Quote:
Don't even mention anything about money. A free, renewable, self-sustaining energy resource is what I'd like to have. :nod:


Then build 'em yourself, physics boy ^^

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