The UARB says any decision to implement feed-in tariffs will have to come from government, not the board. Feed-in tariffs would guarantee pre-set, above-market rates for alternative power producers who want to feed surplus power into the NSP grid at will. It is strongly advocated—surprise, surprise!—by companies like Neal Livingston's Black River Wind, which have not been able to compete with large commercial wind producers in NSP's bidding process, but stand to profit from guaranteed access to the grid at above-market prices.
In his latest Herald column, the normally estimable Ralph Surette drinks the feed-in tariff Kool-Aid. Moneyquote:
Check out how they’re doing it in Ontario and other out-front jurisdictions, where "feed-in" laws or "standard offer contracts" are in effect — in which the utility is required to take power produced by entrepreneurs at a fixed rate, no haggling. Wherever it’s been tried, there’s been an explosion of energy entrepreneurship and new jobs. The [Nova Scotia Power] system of calling tenders one project at a time didn’t work elsewhere, and it hasn’t worked here.
Ralph makes a few good points in the column, but these two paragraphs contain more foolishness than enough.
Ontario passed a bill authorizing the Minister of Energy to permit the use of feed-in tariffs just six weeks ago, and the regulations haven't been written yet. So it hasn't produced "an explosion" of anything yet, except perhaps hyped expectations among the uncompetitive producers who have been pushing for such a law here. As for other jurisdictions, in North America, Ontario is it: the first state, province, or country to pass a feed-in tariff law. As for tendered contracts not working, that will come as news to generations of good governance experts. Elsewhere in the same column, Ralph rightly criticizes NSP's attempt to win Utility and Review Board approval for an untendered biomass project.