What are Feed-in Tariffs?

By Paul Gipe

October 6, 2010

Feed-in tariffs are PURPA[1] on steroids.

A feed-in tariff

  • Allows renewable energy generators to interconnect with the grid, and
  • Specifies the amount that they are paid for their electricity,
  • And specifies how long they will be paid.

Feed-in tariffs are used extensively in Europe, with those in Germany, France, and Spain being the most well known. These countries use a sophisticated system of tariffs, sometimes called Advanced Renewable Tariffs, that pays a different price per kilowatt-hour for different technologies, projects of different size, different applications, and different resource intensities.

Ontario, Canada, Vermont, and Great Britain have at one time adopted similar programs.

[1] The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 for the first time permitted renewable energy generators to connect to the grid in the USA.