Europe has a very successful feed-in tariff program for renewable energy. Under this type of program priority of interconnection to the grid is given to energy produced from renewable sources, premium rates are paid to generate a reasonable profit for investors of a renewable energy project and standardized 20-year term contracts. Germany is the leading country in this type of payment program and has dramatically increased its renewable energy production so much that it had met its 2010 renewable energy goal by 2007. Germany is now the world’s largest market for photovoltaic and wind energy.
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute had a conference on this type of payment program as a likely candidate to increase the renewable energy production in the United States. The presentations and audio of the conference are available here, including a comprehensive paper detailing the European system and the various legislative proposals by the states as well as a Federal tariff proposal, available here.