Wed 8 Apr 2009
With a name like that… well it’s on the order of shrouding mammary wonders beneath a barbed-wire bikini. But I’d rather a clunky name for a program that works than another sexy title for a failure. And whoa if there are not some nourishing nipples poking through all that metal.
Why is the renewable energy market in Gainesville booming while it’s collapsing elsewhere in the country? The answer boils down to policy. In early February, the city became the first in the nation to adopt a “feed-in tariff”—a clunky and un-descriptive name for a bold incentive to foster renewable energy. Under this system, the local power company is required to buy renewable energy from independent producers, no matter how small, at rates slightly higher than the average cost of production. This means anyone with a cluster of solar cells on their roof can sell the power they produce at a profit. The costs of the program are passed on to ratepayers, who see a small rise in their electric bills (in Gainesville the annual increase is capped at 1 percent). While rate hikes are seldom popular, the community has rallied behind this policy, because unlike big power plant construction—the costs of which are also passed on to the public—everyone has the opportunity to profit, either by investing themselves or by tapping into the groundswell of economic activity the incentive creates.
Sounds a lot like making a (new) way for the Sunshine State live up to it’s name. I’ve got a friend whose family business is real estate development down in G-ville, and I haven’t heard a word from her about this. I don’t suppose they realize the opportunity this represents, but I’d like to think it won’t take long until they do.
Anyway, this is the kind of incentive that will begin the process of putting the rest of the many required tricks and non-tricks to renewable electricity into place. Emphasis mine in the above.