Gore Calls for Renewable Energy Tariffs

By Paul Gipe



Gore Calls for National Renewable Energy Tariffs in Congressional Testimony

In testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 Al Gore called on Congress to take action limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Among the actions suggested by the former Vice President in his oral presentation before the full committee include a national system of renewable energy tariffs.

In discussing the need for distributed generation of electricity, Gore called for a national law that permits homeowners and small businesses to sell their electricity to the grid “without any artificial caps”. Gore went further and specified that renewable generators should be paid a tariff or fixed price determined by the cost of generation as had been done in the past in the United States.

Gore’s endorsement of renewable tariffs in his congressional testimony was the first by a major America political figure.

Several Canadian political parties and several Canadian political figures have previously endorsed the concept. Ontario launched a program of renewable tariffs late last year, the first jurisdiction in North America to do so.

Renewable tariffs pay homeowners, farmers, and businesses a fixed price or tariff for each kilowatt-hour of electricity that they generate with renewable energy. The fixed price is calculated on the cost of generating electricity with each different technology. Renewable tariffs have been widely successful in Europe.

Gore’s choice of words and his specific reference to tariffs and fixed prices indicate that he was not referring to net metering, a different concept. In contrast to net metering, renewable tariffs pay for all generation produced and pays a tariff independent of the retail price of electricity.

Gore’s oral testimony on You Tube.