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A More Ambitious Feed-In Tariff Could Incent Renewable Energy Success

The BCSEA welcomes the provincial government’s proposed Feed-In Tariff (FIT) for renewable electricity, and accepts the need for it to be a limited version of FITs adopted elsewhere in the world, since BC is close to producing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

If a fully-fledged FIT created the same level of uptake for renewables in BC that it is creating elsewhere, it may generate more power than BC needs, causing the surplus to be sold for export at a lower price than was paid for it, even to a possible high tariff green California power market. In an earlier published article, we called this “The BC Paradox”.

However, we also believe that BC should reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, and this would tend to increase electricity demand. We therefore recommend an approach to the FIT that is expanded beyond the current proposed regulation, so as to stimulate BC’s renewable energy industry at what we believe to be a critical time in its development.

The BCSEA Policy Committee has prepared our submission of 10 recommendations regarding the proposed FIT in response to the BC government’s FIT Consultation Paper.

Please review this paper, and the recommendations and resources in our paper and provide your input to the government by September 30, 2010.

  1. We recommend 20-year not 5-year contracts, to lower the FIT price needed to provide the return on investment needed to attract investors.
  2. We recommend that the annual cost be recovered through utility rates, not taxes.
  3. We recommend increasing the proposed FIT premium budget from $25 million to at least $50 million.
  4. We recommend that the project intake process reflect technology differentiation, rather than ‘first come, first served’, and that the project intake be designed to cover a phased ten year period.
  5. We recommend that community-owned projects be offered a FIT bonus.
  6. We recommend that the proposed 5 MW limit be raised for geothermal, ocean and bioenergy, so as not to exclude technologies which benefit from larger scale.
  7. We recommend that the FIT process embrace openness and transparency.
  8. We recommend that solar PV energy be included with a solar tariff for Super-Efficient Buildings and Solar Electric Vehicles.
  9. We recommend that a Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Heat be included as a supplement for cogeneration from biomass and biogas for district heat, and as a stand-alone for geothermal district heat, solar thermal heat, and super-efficient heat pumps.
  10. We recommend some specifications on the use of biomass energy.