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Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s global warming task force is weighing comments on a proposal that the Public Service Commission launch a policy for Advanced Renewable Tariffs in the state.
The move is part of the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force Workgroup that has sought public input on means for reducing the state’s carbon emissions. The recommendation is one of many being considered.
RENEW Wisconsin and Clean Wisconsin, the state’s principal advocates for renewable energy, have endorsed the proposal.
The Governor’s task force suggests that an Advanced Renewable Tariff Policy should include several core principals.
- Tariffs should be set according to specific production costs of a particular generation technology.
- Tariffs should include a rate of return comparable to the utilities’ allowed rate of return.
- Tariffs should be fixed over a period of time that allows for full recovery of capital costs.
- Renewable energy credits acquired through these tariffs can be rate-based or sold through a utility’s voluntary renewable energy program.
- When the fixed term of the tariff ends (capital costs of the project have been recovered), the energy from these systems can be acquired through the utility’s parallel generation tariff or through a negotiated purchased power agreement.
The task force recommends that the state implement the renewable tariff policy by 2009.
Significantly, the task force suggests that a utility may apply generation developed by this policy against its obligation under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
The task force acknowledges that state law is not clear whether the Public Service Commission has the authority to adopt Advanced Renewable Tariffs. If not, new legislation may be necessary.
In comments submitted to Governor Doyle’s task force, RENEW Wisconsin and Clean Wisconsin said that “this policy is necessary because a renewable energy standard by itself is inadequate for driving new distributed renewable installations.”
“What has made Germany the undisputed world leader in installed PV, biogas, and wind generating capacity?” asked RENEW Wisconsin’s Michael Vickerman and Clean Wisconsin’s Peter Taglia. “The answer is: Advanced Renewable Tariffs.”
Some Wisconsin utilities now offer modest feed-in tariffs for solar PV. Solar PV tariffs for WE Energies of $0.225/kWh and Madison Gas & Electric of $0.25/kWh has been approved by the Public Service Commission. A Solar PV tariff for River Falls utility of $0.30/kWh is pending PSC approval.