Discriminatory rooftop solar charges may violate antitrust law

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

When his electric bill went up by about 65% because he has solar panels on his roof, William Ellis joined three others to file an antitrust lawsuit against their Arizona utility, Salt River Project (SRP), in federal district court. They alleged that SRP aimed “to stifle and eliminate all competition from the growing solar energy market.”

When the federal district court dismissed the case, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where they gained support last week from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Department’s Antitrust Division pursues antitrust cases for the federal government, and occasionally offers legal analysis in private antitrust cases. Read more here.

KANSAS ENERGY REPORT 

Secrecy in Kansas energy report irks clean energy, consumer stakeholders, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network. A report commissioned by the Kansas Legislature to help guide future energy policy decisions leaves the public in the dark on the rationale behind key recommendations, critics say.  “Most of the solar information has been redacted,” said Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the Kansas Climate & Energy Project. The only way she can see the entire unredacted report is to formally intervene in the matter, which she said she is now doing.

MOODY’S ANALYSIS – MISSOURI UTILITIES

Feeling the heat: Missouri utilities sit in bull’s-eye for heat stress, analysts say, by Bryce Gray, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In the next 10 to 20 years, rising temperatures are projected to stress Missouri’s power system more than any other state’s, driving up days at peak demand, increasing the frequency of rolling blackouts and making it harder for utilities to cool power plants, according to a report from a top U.S. credit rating agency. Days before the Moody’s report came out, the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, used an annual address to highlight climate change as “a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” and a catalyst for “a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

CLIMATE RISK

A CFO’s take on climate and risk management, GreenBiz article contributed by Vincent Manier, Chief Financial Officer of ENGIE Impact. While climate risk remains an often overlooked or undervalued factor in risk management programs, there is an urgent need to integrate resiliency into core business strategy if businesses want to continue to thrive — or even remain operational.

ESG

An unexpected breakout year for the social side of ESG, by Mike Hower, GreenBiz
The great thing about ESG is that it isn’t a zero-sum game. A renewed focus on the S actually might help companies do a better job of addressing environmental challenges because the two are linked. People of color or low-income socioeconomic status, for example, are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the negative effects of the climate crisis, says Union of Concerned Scientists.

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION REPORT

US installed more solar in Q1 2020 than ever before, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine
According to SEIA, the U.S. solar market will install 113 GW of solar from 2020-25, which is actually down 3.6 GW from the projections the company made in 2019, due to the ongoing pandemic.

ENERGY STORAGE

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ANNOUNCEMENT

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $21 Million for Research in EPSCoR States, EIN Presswire
The award teams are led by universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  The proposed teams include partner institutions in Louisiana and Nevada.

BIDEN-SANDERS UNITY TASK FORCE REPORT

Biden-Sanders task force calls for installing 500 million solar modules in next five years, PV Magazine. report from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force calls for the installation of 500 million solar modules in the next five years. Solar module sizes vary widely these days — but that’s hundreds of gigawatts of solar and several times the current U.S. appetite for PV.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS TRANSMISSION LINE

Whoosh! Wind Power Wins, Pipelines Implode In Fossil Fuel Week From Hell, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. “The project will benefit many Missourians who receive their electricity from community-owned, non-profit local municipal utilities,” the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) explained in a statement dated May 15, 2020. For those of you keeping score at home, that covers 350,000 Missourians served by 39 community-owned utilities. According to MPUA, the Grain Belt Express is expected to save its members $12.8 million annually while 1,500 jobs and $500 million in infrastructure investment into Missouri.

100% GREEN MICROGRIDS

Hydrogen May Be The Crucial ‘Jigsaw’ Piece For Green Microgrids, by Ken Silverstein, Senior Contributor, Forbes. “In the last decade, renewable energy sources have been transforming the microgrid landscape, consequently reducing or even eliminating the need for costly fossil fuels. This has been made possible through the use of hydrogen,” says Thomas Chrometzka, a strategist with Enapter, which makes electrolyzers — a device used to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen from water. “Introducing hydrogen to microgrids solves the problem of seasonal or long-term storage that batteries cannot provide. It is the crucial jigsaw piece for 100% green microgrids.”

COMMUNITY ORCHARD WITH SOLAR-POWERED CLASSROOM

South Sioux City Community Orchard continues to grow, KTIV
Along with fruit trees, the orchard features a home for honey bees, and in 2018 a classroom was added to allow for educational classes. To help power the classroom, solar panels were added.

IEA REPORTING

Has the International Energy Agency finally improved at forecasting solar growth?, PV Magazine Something strange has happened at the IEA — the agency has finally begun to take solar and other renewables seriously.