Overheard at Opportunity Green: LA Having “Serious Conversation” About Feed-in Tariff

Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Energy and the Environment Romel Pascual said during a panel discussion at Opportunity Green 2009 that Los Angeles has begun a “serious conversation” about a feed-in tariff for the city. Feed-in tariffs, or FiTs, provide cash rebates for renewable energy fed into the grid — above the normal cost of electricity.

FiTs are popular in Europe; German has had a program for several years. But there are few places in the US with an FiT, Gainsville County, Florida, being one. If LA, the country’s second largest city, with the largest municipal electric utility, created an FiT, it would have a profound effect on the small-scale solar power market.

Pascual echoed acting Director of Los Angeles Water and Power Director S. David Freeman, who also mentioned an LA FiT at an Opp Green keynote speech this morning. The idea has come up in public meetings held to discuss LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ambitious environmental goals. Said Pascual, “it’s on the drawing board.”

Freeman also mentioned LA possibly building large scale solar plants in the Owens River Valley, which was first reported in Triple Pundit last summer.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.