Conservative Hoover Institution to Recommend Evaluating Feed-in Tariffs in US

By Paul Gipe


In a striking illustration that support for feed-in tariffs comes from both the right and the left, both Republicans and Democrats, the Hoover Institution will recommend that the US “evaluate” the renewable energy policy.

The recommendation, one of many, is contained in a new book titled “Conversations about Energy: How the Experts See America’s Energy Choices,” scheduled for release in November.

The 168-page book is the result of a two-day conference on energy policy organized by George P. Schultz, Secretary of State during the Reagan Administration.

The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is the premier conservative think tank in the US. Its influence on conservative and libertarian thought is felt worldwide. The institute, located on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, includes several high-profile members of previous administrations, such as Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration.

Margaret Thatcher is an honorary fellow.

The Institute’s recommendation follows a conference discussion on the national security benefits of distributed generation, led by James Woolsey, director of the CIA during the Clinton administration.

Woolsey, a former visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, has become an outspoken proponent of distributed generation and electric vehicles. He currently serves on the Institute’s Schultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy and has held senior posts in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

While the specific recommendation is tepid by international standards; the fact that it was made by a conservative think tank should come as no surprise.

Modern feed-in tariffs were first introduced in Germany in 1991 by the conservative government of Helmut Kohl at the request of a fellow member of the CDU’s conservative Bavarian sister party, the CSU.

Feed-in tariffs were later adopted by Germany’s social democrats, the SPD, and the Green Party.

Today all parties support Germany’s feed-in tariff program, including the current conservative government, led again by the CDU-CSU, in coalition with the libertarian party, the FDP.

The slim book is not yet available but will ship November 12, 2010. The Institute summarizes the purpose of the conference and the book thusly:

“Over the past forty years, our energy policies have left us in a place that is dangerous to our economy, our national security, and our climate. But we still have a chance to get it right. In Conversations About Energy, members of the Hoover Energy Task Force offer ideas and recommendations that might improve the performance of the United States in responding to the energy challenge.”

Conversations about Energy: How the Experts See America’s Energy Choices Edited by Jeremy Carl, James E. Goodby, 2010, softcover, $14.95, 168 pages, ISBN: 978-0-8179-1305-2.