Alliance for Democracy

Support Renewable energy production in Oregon/Feed-In-Tariffs‏

Posted in Alliance for Democracy, Democratize the Grid, Feed-in tariffs by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on December 19, 2010

The Alliance for Democracy began an effort a couple of years ago to Democratize the Grid.  Our major effort has been to get a program of Feed-In-Tariffs in place to locally produce renewable energy on our rooftops where we live, instead of in large distance capital intensive wind farms. Such a program produces a number of benefits including locally produced renewable energy  where we live and good paying job creation.

The following is a summary of those efforts and a plea for your assistance to move the program forward.  (Please forward this message)

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy - Portland Chapter, 503.232.5495

Alliance for Democracy's 

Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy

Dear Alliance for Democracy supporters and friends,
As we approach the shortest day of the year, the sun is still shining bright on Oregon’s new Solar Pilot Program. We write you at this annual time of celebration and gift giving to celebrate the successes of the past and to ask for your help in carrying our work forward into 2011.
Since December 2008 Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy (OREP), a project of the Alliance for Democracy, has worked to promote and develop public policy to stimulate widely-distributed, local generation of renewable energy by homeowners, small businesses, farmers, non-profits and public buildings, and to foster a stable and flourishing solar industry with living wage jobs.
In 2009, OREP helped shape legislation to create a comprehensive feed-in-tariff in Oregon. The feed-in-tariff is a highly successful policy model that was instrumental in developing a thriving solar energy industry in Germany and has since been imitated in over 60 countries around the globe. 
Why is the FIT policy model so successful and appropriate for Oregon?
  • FIT 	incentives are power-production incentives, paid over time for 	actual production of electricity. FIT incentives are the most cost 	effective way to incent renewable energy production. 
  • The 	FIT model takes solar incentives out of competition with education 	and social services for scarce tax dollars, and puts them 	appropriately into the energy production sector, funded by a small, 	across-the-board, electricity rate increase.
  • Feed-in-tariffs 	help democratize the grid, creating distributed power production 	where it is used, creating jobs and wealth in local communities.
  • Feed-in 	tariffs enable average Oregonians to benefit from producing 	renewable energy and actively contribute to our state’s transition 	from a fossil fuel economy. 
In 2009, OREP helped shape the effort to pass our nation’s first solar energy statute that dedicated capacity to small-scale solar systems. Throughout 2010, OREP was at the table for rule-making for the FIT pilot program by Oregon’s Public Utilities Commission. OREP, a new player in these negotiations, advocated for small and medium solar installations in local communities, literally changing the conversation about the future of solar in Oregon and leading to:
  • renewable 	energy payments based on the actual cost of generation
  • an 	allocation of 50% of the 25MW in the pilot for small systems under 	10kW, and 30% for medium systems between 10kW and 100kW
  • cost 	efficient tiered incentive payments for different system sizes to 	reflect economies of scale enjoyed by larger systems
  • payments 	differentiated by geographically based solar insolation zones so as 	to equally encourage energy production in the most populous parts of 	the state as well as the sunniest regions
OREP has achieved a great deal indeed in just two years! We celebrate these achievements and give thanks to all who have helped and supported OREP’s efforts with their time, skills, knowledge, treasure, and encouragement. A great encouragement indeed has been a first grant that OREP was honored to receive in October 2010 from the Bullitt Foundation in recognition of our efforts so far and in support of the work to come.
Although Oregon’s Solar Pilot Program (which launched on July 1, 2010) has been well-received, the program contains a number of flaws and will need considerable improvement to achieve its true economic and environmental potential. In the coming year OREP will work to:

  • improve 	the current Solar Pilot Program by bringing more precision 	to price-setting to achieve a fair balance between 	the needs of consumer-generators and electricity ratepayers, 	and by eliminating
    • barriers 		in federal energy law that impede the implementation of robust 		state-level FIT 
    • the 		current disincentive to maximize solar production at each 		installation, and 
    • the 		current perverse incentive to over-consume that can conflict with 		efforts to promote energy efficiency
  • ensure 	equal access to the solar pilot program by all Oregonians capable of 	producing clean energy from the sun by
    • increasing 		the availability of low-interest financing for solar installations 
    • streamlining 		the permitting process 
    • removing 		zoning barriers
    • identifying 		other barriers to participation by conducting case studies of 		successful and unsuccessful applicants to Oregon's solar pilot 		project 
  • advocate 	for a state-wide survey of Oregon's rooftop solar capacity to 	demonstrate the potential economic benefits of locally produced 	solar energy 
  • build 	community awareness and support among varied Oregon 	constituencies for a robust FIT program 
To continue these efforts, OREP will need additional financial resources. If you, your organization, or your friends are in a position to help, please make a tax-deductible donation by going to:
If you’d like to follow the progress of Oregon’s Feed-In Tariff effort or if you have comments and suggestions for improving the program, please contact us or sign up for OREP’s email list at
Thank you for your support.
Best wishes for a healthy, productive and sunny year in 2011!
OREP Steering Committee members: David e. Delk, Mark Pengilly, Teddy Keizer, Judy Barnes, Kathleen Newman, Ray Neff, Nancy Price, and Jenny Holmes.

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