On Wednesday, Jan. 27 more than 250 people attended the Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative's monthly educational event, Innovation After Hours. The topic, Igniting Renewable Energy Growth with Feed-In Tariffs, drew people from diverse industries, business sectors and local entrepreneurs.
A feed-in tariff system promotes the production of renewable energy (RE) by offering fair market price for RE (wind, geo-thermal, solar, etc.). The local power grid management reimburses the RE producer with no limit on the amount of energy that can be fed to the grid. Other important elements of feed-in tariffs include long-term contracts between the utility company and RE provider, it gives technology-specific incentives, and adapts to technological advancements — both which foster a climate of innovation.
There are thirty-seven countries that have feed-in tariff policies. In the United States there are a few cities and counties that have the policies, such Gainesville, Florida, but it has not become a national initiative.
Germany implemented a feed-in tariff in 2006. Since then they've seen more than 50,000 renewable energy jobs created and 60 percent of all new jobs relate to the feed-in tariff policy.