The 80-page comprehensive report, "The Application of Feed-in Tariffs and Other Incentives to Promote Renewable Energy in Colorado," was produced by Brent in his role as a legal intern this past summer at the PUC. The study, which was co-authored by Kelly Crandall, a law student at the University of Colorado, was conducted as part of the PUC's contribution to a U.S. Department of Energy/National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners/PUC partnership to support state efforts to increase the deployment of solar energy technologies.
According to the report, "Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are a financial incentive designed to encourage the installation and use of renewable energy generation systems."
The report concludes:
"FITs have increased in popularity dramatically worldwide in recent years for several reasons. They contribute to capacity additions and may lead to net job creation. Countries with FITs have, in many instances, reached or exceeded national renewable energy generation goals. Proponents also claim that they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Brent and his co-author are to be highly commended for putting together this exceptional report. Their efforts will clearly help inform the PUC as it considers what policy paths to pursue as the state moves forward on achieving its aggressive renewable energy portfolio standard.
However, careless FIT design can lead to boom-and-bust cycles as occurred in Spain in 2008, leading to fraud, ratepayer outrage, and a PV market glut that leads to depressed prices. Moreover, fast capacity additions can challenge grid reliability when large amounts of intermittent renewable energy resources are interconnected. Careful design, however, can contribute to achieving a multitude of goals.
Depending on the priorities of policymakers, the available renewable energy resources, and the structure of an electricity market, U.S. jurisdictions may be able to develop uniquely-tailored FITs which they can use to make renewable energy resources more competitive with conventional electricity generation and to fulfill goals related to increasing the penetration of RE on the electric grid."
Colorado, as I have said before, is at the center of renewable energy development and policy making. What Brent and Kelly have put together is a great indication of why Colorado is becoming known as the center of the new energy economy.