The much maligned Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, PURPA for short, is back in the news. Not that it ever went away. PURPA has been the foundation stone upon which renewable electricity generation has been built in the United States.

The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even monopolies — to buy their electricity from qualified distributed and renewable facilities that can provide power at prices that roughly match the utilities’ “avoided cost” for electricity.

Contrary to the literature’s traditional view that renewable portfolio standards and feed-in tariffs are mutually exclusive policy alternatives, closely integrating both policies produces a better, more efficient allocation of investor and regulatory risk.

Climate hawks are hopeful that the U.S. will finally take action on carbon emissions in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and the President’s acceptance speech comment that “We want our children to live in an America that. . . isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” Unfortunately, they’re trotting out the same tired old policy prescriptions that have failed in the past. I think I have a better idea. . . FITs

The cavalry has finally arrived in the seemingly endless debate about what states can and can’t do in designing workable … Read more