Renewable Energy Conference

Plans are progressing well for the Renewable Energy conference I have mentioned earlier. I have been working with John Farrell of the Institute For Local Self-Reliance to advance the conversation on Renewable Energy Payments (REP). This is the policy I promoted in the last session that is sometimes called “Feed in Tariff” to promote energy and economic development right here in Minnesota.

The Germans used this policy in the ‘80s to the present and have become one of the leading renewable energy producers in the world. They have done this even though their energy resource for wind and solar is not as good as what we have right here in Minnesota. Over the 15 year period developing their renewable energy market they created 150,000 new jobs and have become along with the Danes the experts on Solar and Wind energy. You may have read or heard Thomas Friedman explain that in the late 70s the US was poised to be the leader in renewable energy only to see it abandoned in the 1980s.

On July 21, 2008, the Florida office of Environmental Defense Fund filed testimony calling for the state’s Public Service Commission to consider Renewable Energy Payments as a means to implement Florida’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Kellyn Eberhardt, of the Environmental Defense Fund argues that Renewable Energy Payments are “a simple, elegant and effective economic mechanism for the mass adoption of renewable energy technologies in the shortest possible timeframe.”

The move by EDF is the first in direct support of feed-in tariff policy by a major national environmental group in the United States.

Previously, national environmental groups in Canada, such as the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute, have endorsed the policy. Several regional environmental groups in the Unites States, such as RENEW Wisconsin, and Sierra Club California, have also called for the policy.

Renewable Energy Payments, wrote EDF’s Eberhardt, “encourage a stable investment by electricity ratepayers today toward a more sustainable and cheaper energy production in the future.”

Renewable Energy Payments make it possible for individuals and small groups to become energy producers and contribute to a safer more reliable energy system. Energy is produced closer to where it is used and needed. There is less need for huge power lines to carry power over great distances. At the conference you will hear from policy leaders in Germany, Florida, California, and Massachusettes as well as policy makers in Minnesota. We hope to answer your questions and provide you with a clear picture of the potential for local renewable energy development.

The conference is set for January 9th at St. Olaf College. Although registration is not open yet you will be able to register soon, here are some of the details:

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