PACT stands for Policy Action on Climate Toolkit and this TreeHugger was the perfect member of audience at last week's press conference in the UK Parliament where she learned this fact. Perfect? Well yes, because I have not been the best student of environmental politics, policy making and the implications surrounding renewable energy feed-in tariffs and the point of this PACT, this Climate Toolkit, is to make it easier for people get to grips with this complex subject.
The World Future Council's founder Jakob von Uexkull, the UK MP Alan Simpson and the author of the PACT content Peter Roderick, together, launched this interactive online resource which is designed to help parlimentarians worldwide "to draft new climate laws based on the best policies already in existence, beginning with feed-in tariffs to promote the spread of renewable energies."As the PACT website tells us, "The World Future Council is continuing its work to identify best policies - particularly those already proving their effectiveness in combating climate change and moving the world to sustainable energy sources." One of the 'best policies' the WFC have identified is the very successful Feed-In tariff law that has been implemented in Germany, mostly due to the persistence and hard work of the German MP Hermann Scheer.
The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) law "obliges energy companies to buy renewable energy from producers, and sets the price which these companies pay per unit of electricity." That's a producer of any size, which means anyone of us may have domestic solar panels and/or wind turbines and sell our surplus energy back to the grid for a decent and more importantly fixed price. It is thought that this system of FIT laws is the fastest way to increase and accelerate the deployment of renewables in the electricity sector.
Apart from increasing the uptake of renewables the benefits of FIT laws can also be seen in the enormous growth of this industry which can generate massive employment. Germany has 20 times more wind energy installed than the UK and their renewables sector has grown to the tune of $1 trillion in five years. This exponential growth not only benefits the country in monetary terms, but also in national security terms as they become less and less reliant on importing fossil fuels from politically unstable regions of the world.
Alan Simpson MP revealed that the UK was the second to bottom country in Europe in terms of it's take up of renewable energies, only Malta comes below the UK. Currently only 4% of the UK's energy is supplied by renewables, but they have a target to meet of 20% by 2020. With the currently limited progress this target is going to be impossible to meet without some seriously innovative policies. Simpson, along with the World Future Council, is urging parlimentarians to take advantage of the new PACT resource and use it to draft their own government bill which will engage political will on this subject.
To learn more about Feed-In Tariffs you can read the recently published book by Miguel Mendonca, a writer and researcher for the World Future Council.