Contributed by Solar United Neighbors, Solar Power World
More than 230 consumer, environmental and public interest groups urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the electric utility industry for widespread abuses. These include bribery, fake dark-money campaigns and denying customers access to renewable energy.
Some of the abuses described in the petition include:
- An Ohio utility, FirstEnergy, paid $60 million in bribes to the Ohio House speaker’s political machine. In return, the utility secured a $1 billion ratepayer-funded bailout for several of its unprofitable nuclear and coal plants.
- Florida Power and Light spent millions of dollars on political consultants who engineered a scheme to siphon votes to third-party “ghost candidates” from candidates committed to holding utilities accountable, according to reporting by the Orlando Sentinel. The ghost candidate won in all three races. One utility opponent lost by just 32 votes.
- A recent national survey found that nearly three-quarters of solar developers experience delays in interconnecting projects to the electric grid. Eighty-five percent of respondents specifically named utility noncompliance with interconnection procedures as a problem. These delays can increase the cost of distributed solar projects and cause customers to back out of long-delayed projects. Minnesota regulators fined Xcel Energy $1 million for failing to keep pace with a backlog of projects. Two years later the backlog remains a barrier to solar growth.
Photo: Federal Trade Commission building. Credit: Wikipedia
MORE U.S. NEWS
- Critical Infrastructure and Supply Chain Constraints, Issue Brief, American Public Power Association
Summary: The U.S. economy has been deeply impacted by supply chain constraints. These constraints are due to shortages of labor and multiple classes of materials, causing disruptions on a global level. For public power utilities, the ability to provide reliable and affordable power to homes, businesses, and critical facilities is foundational to both their business model and the recovery and expansion of the U.S. economy. Prioritization of critical electric infrastructure and the electric industry’s critical functions during this period of material shortages and delays is necessary to prevent further economic slowdown and ensure electric reliability.
- Lithium-ion battery industry ramps up recycling focus as geopolitical events challenge supply chain, Waste Dive
- Amazon invests in US-based solar cell production facility, PV Magazine
- DOE provides $505M to advance long-duration energy storage fed by renewables, Utility Dive
- Electric evolution increasingly seen as inevitable for waste and recycling fleets, Waste Dive
- Uber increases EV incentives to achieve its all-electric by 2030 goal, Utility Dive
- Electrify America announces new solar energy farm that can generate up to 75 MW, Electrek
- New Belgium brews beer with the help of the sun, PV Magazine
Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rises, ocean heat levels and acidification, all set new records during 2021, while some glaciers reached the point of no return, according to the latest flagship report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), published on Wednesday. The State of the Climate 2021 indicates that extreme weather – the day-to-day face of climate change – wreaked a heavy toll of human lives, triggered shocks for food and water security, and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses last year.
- It’s now cheaper to switch from coal to renewables instead of coal to gas, report shows, CNBC
- Global annual solar deployment to hit 1 TW by 2030, PV Magazine
Major players in the solar industry, such as Longi Solar, are projecting accelerating growth over the near term.
INNOVATIVE COOPERATIVE VENTURE
Democratizing clean energy: cooperative allows regular folks to profit from solar development, Wisconsin State Journal
A new venture is offering Wisconsin residents and businesses an opportunity to profit from solar energy development. A joint venture of Renew Wisconsin and a group of solar developers and installers, SolarShare Wisconsin co-op allows regular people — regardless of wealth — to invest in small-scale solar farms by pooling their money . . . Unlike large-scale solar farms, which require hundreds or thousands of acres and can generate local opposition, projects of that size can typically be built on less than 40 acres and connected directly to the local distribution grid rather than long-distance transmission lines.
Nebraskans for Solar Note: Nebraska has many very small towns and villages with fewer than 1000 residents where small-scale solar projects could provide a significant percentage of their electricity needs.