Energy Independence That Is!
Imagine you install solar panels on your roof that generate enough power to meet your family's energy needs each month. You wouldn't have to pay anymore electric bills!
Now imagine your solar panels not only provide enough energy to power your home, but they also generate enough surplus energy to provide electricity for other families in your community. Your solar panels could help free the rest of Western New York from dependence on fossil fuels such as gas, coal, oil and problems associated with using fossil fuels.Problems like widely fluctuating prices, smog, acid rain and the emissions of climate changing green house gases.
Furthermore, if Western New York had a feed-in tariff, your solar panels could even bring in some extra income for your family!
What's a feed-in tariff? People in some communities throughout the U.S. and overseas can feed surplus energy produced by renewable energy systems installed on their homes or businesses back into the grid. If their community has a feed-in tariff, homeowners and business can earn money for that surplus energy. The tariff is the fixed price or rate paid for that power. It also reflects the actual cost of installing the solar panels, plus a reasonable, or “socially acceptable,” profit on the investment.
Local advocates of feed-in tariffs are encouraging the public and policymakers to support the implementation of a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Demonstration Program in Western New York. One goal is to help New York State achieve energy independence by supporting the development of small-scale renewable energy projects.
In the 2002 New York State Energy Plan, the Energy Planning Board stated that “U.S. and New York will continue to experience the economic and social challenges of fossil fuel dependency” until new and sustainable sources of energy are developed. According to the Energy Planning Board, “In the winters of 1996-1997 and 2000-2001, natural gas prices spiked... and starting in 1999, heating oil and gasoline prices also increased.”2
To encourage long-term energy independence, advocates of feed-in tariff programs support this special tariff to promote renewable energy production. They promote renewable energy projects such as wind power, photovoltaic solar panels, geothermal, biomass and more.
Imagine that. With a feed-in tariff, you could save your family from paying electric bills each month, while helping Western New York be freed from energy dependency.
Learn more in the CLEAN-FIT Report by Sierra Club Niagara Group.
1Toby Couture, A Policymakers Guide to Feed-In Tariff Policy Design, 2010. U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory <http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/44849.pdf> p. 5
2New York State Energy Planning Board, 2002 NYS Energy Plan, <http://www.nysenergyplan.com/2002stateenergyplan.html> Preface. 1.1