feed-in tariffs - simple incentives to further renewable energy

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Countries are working to incentivize their investment in renewable energy. To this end, feed-in tariffs were created, a system that provides guaranteed grid access and long-term contracts for renewable energy producers as well compensation over a set period of time for excess energy produced by business and private properties, typically 20 to 25 years.

Global Usage

Over 50 countries offer some type of feed-in tariff, including the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Eligible renewable energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass and waste combustion; however, the type of renewable energy compensated varies by country. For example, solar is the primary renewable resource eligible for feed-in tariffs in the US, but Spain allows for nearly all forms of renewable energy, and the UK offers incentives for solar, hydroelectric, wind, and aerobic digestion biogas. Programs utilizing feed-in tariffs are rapidly increasing around the world for electricity produced using all types of renewable energy sources.

Compensation Forms

The ultimate goal of feed-in tariffs is to provide compensation to renewable energy producers. Also, these systems encourage further investments in renewable energy technology and incentivize home and business owners to incorporate renewable energy sources into their properties.

Perhaps the most interesting benefit is that feed-in tariffs allow residential and small business property owners to receive compensation for excess energy their renewable sources produce. Net metering allows properties to utilize electricity from the grid when necessary, and offers credits based on excess electricity produced. Power purchase agreements offer cash back to the producer based on the excess energy generated.

Compensation in the form of credits is typically set above retail price for electricity with net metering, encouraging more properties to adopt renewable energy sources. As the number of participants increase, the feed-in tariff rate slowly lowers to the retail rate. Power purchase agreements with monetary rewards are often slightly lower than retail, except in cases of solar power. Because solar energy is often produced during peak electricity use times, reimbursement is slightly higher than retail.

 

These programs, varying slightly by country, have been heralded by renewable energy supporters as one of the simplest means of increasing the use of renewable energy on a property-by-property basis, while helping to fund new research and technology. Relatively simplistic, and very effective, feed-in tariffs are paving the way for a world-wide move away from traditional, fossil fuel-based energy production. 

Green Urban Planning

Today, green urban planning is more important than ever. We provide facts about seven cities that are focused on utilizing various approaches to sustainable development. You can find out about many sources of renewable energy here.

City planning committees around the globe are becoming more focused on the importance of using sources of renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels and other finite resources. Our goal is to teach our readers about eight of the greenest cities in the world. As you peruse this site, you will gain insight into the worlds of renewable energy, urban planning, green building and sustainable mass transit. For instance, you will learn about an example of a bus system, located in Curitiba, Brazil, that serves as a standard of efficiency for other metropolises throughout the world...

 

Sustainability Trends

Ideas for a Greener Home

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies
  • Favor cloth over paper products
  • Chlorine-free baby diapers/ wipes
  • Choose natural lawn care - stop using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers
  • Use biodegradable detergent and oxygen bleach
  • For clean, safe drinking water without all of the waste - use a water filter and a reusable bottle
  • Install low-flow toilets

 

Energy Saving Ideas

  • Use CFL or LED light bulbs
  • Use Energy Star labeled equipment
  • Turn off all home and office equipment when not in use
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn down the thermostat - lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs significantly
  • Avoid "phantom loads" (electrical equipment that still uses energy even after turned off) by using a power strip
  • Reduce your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees
  • Install double-pane windows