Article by: H.J. CUMMINS , Star Tribune
January 15, 2008
A legislator's plan to encourage small, local energy projects in Minnesota borrows from Germany's experience.
A Northfield legislator wants Minnesota to take a more European approach to renewable energy.
Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, is expected to announce Thursday that he'll sponsor a bill to encourage local ownership of small energy projects. The measure would be a counterpoint to other tax incentives, including a federal production tax credit, that typically benefit large, corporate investors.
The proposed model, known as "feed-in tariffs," has worked in countries such as Germany, increasing both renewable-energy capacity and the role of small owners. Other states looking at feed-in tariffs include Michigan and California, although no state yet has such a program.
The proposal raises two issues likely to surface along with other renewable energy bills expected in the 2008 legislative session: What are the relative roles of government and the free market, and if clean energy costs more, who should pay that cost?....