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Tariffs Aid Alt-Energy Use


  Renewable energy expert Craig Morris told the Louisiana Public Service Commission last week that the state should continue to encourage alternative energy sources via feed-in tariffs. A feed-in tariff creates financial incentives for renewable energy production, regardless of scale. It allows electric utilities to purchase electricity produced by wind, solar and other renewable sources at government rates that are higher than the market average. In theory, the tariffs eliminate some of the disadvantages of renewable energy sources. Morris says that such a policy could benefit Louisiana — if the appropriate legislation were adopted. In the U.S., the municipal utility in Gainesville, Fla., saw a large increase in solar production after enacting a feed-in tariff, he says. That Gainesville policy has been described by National Renewable Energy Laboratories as being among the best for advancing renewable energy production. Elsewhere, feed-in tariffs have been adopted throughout the European Union after successes in Denmark and Germany. Morris says observers credit Germany's feed-in tariff for that nation becoming a world leader in solar and wind energy. Morris says the tariffs could bring stability to the marketplace for renewable power production. "Louisiana probably has the best solar policy in the United States right now," Morris says, adding that "the policies themselves need to be stable financially to continue to grow." A Louisiana native, Morris is a graduate of Tulane University, where he spoke this past weekend. — Jeremy Alford

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