Dear Governor Cuomo,
Like you, we want to revitalize the economy of New York State (NYS). We want to encourage businesses that will create JOBS. We also want to protect NYS from the ongoing challenges of rising fuel costs and changing climate.
Feed-in tariffs (FITs) have proven again and again to be the most efficient way to promote rapid development of renewable energy, job growth, and business investment in jurisdictions ranging from cities to countries. As explained in our brief, clearly written, illustrated brochure at http://bit.ly/nyfeedin, FITS are neither taxes nor direct subsidies. They are long-term (usually 20-year) contracts in which a utility such as the New York Power Authority (NYPA) promises to pay a fixed rate for electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass or biogas. The rate differs for each type of renewable energy; it is based on the cost of production plus a reasonable (5-10%) profit. The stability of FITs permits electricity producers at all scales, from homeowners with a few solar panels to large wind farms, to easily obtain financing to initiate their projects--and thus to get the economy moving.
As an example of economic stimulation, Ontario Province, our neighbor, generated more than 20,000 new jobs and brought in more than $20 billion in new investments since starting its feed-in tariff program in 2009. In the process, it generated so much renewable energy that it's on track to eliminate its last coal-fired generation plant in 2014.
FITs are supported entirely by small charges to electric ratepayers. Ontario's successful program is costing ratepayers approximately the price of one Tim Horton's donut per month (http://www.wind-works.org/FeedLaws/Canada/OntarioFITsCreatingSolarJobs.html).
The Niagara Group of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, the United Steel Workers, the United Auto Workers and many others feel that a pilot FIT project in Western New York (WNY) would rapidly demonstrate the desirability of instituting FITs throughout New York State.
We think you agree, because on April 19 you announced your NY-SUN Initiative, which includes a pilot FIT for solar development on Long Island.
We are proposing a similar, but broader (including wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass and biogas, as well as solar) FIT pilot project in WNY. We hope that, by January 2013, you will direct NYPA to issue FIT contracts for electricity from renewable sources within NYISO Zone A, which includes all or parts of 11 New York counties, all in WNY. We suspect that, within a year or two, the advantages of such a broad FIT program will have become obvious to all stakeholders, and you will then wish to extend the program to all of NYS.