Tag Archives: net metering

FERC Makes the Right Decision, Dismisses Misguided Net Metering Petition

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today rejected a controversial petition to end state and local jurisdiction over net metering programs. The petition was brought by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) and drew significant bipartisan pushback from around the country. Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, on this decisionContinue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Plot Brewing To Blanket US In Solar Panels + Pollinator-Friendly Plants

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

It started as a trickle and now the floodgates are open. Solar arrays that once sat on barren ground are now festooned with plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Even the US Energy Department is getting into the act. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four newly minted solar power plants that have built-in benefits for pollinators, too. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Power, plants: Seed mixes and ag innovation for PV solar, Solar Builder article by Rob DavisDirector of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts farmers and other landowners will lease 2-3 million acres of land for ground-mounted solar arrays by 2030, a 10-fold increase from 2020. This rapid bloom in leasing land to produce solar energy isn’t just a lifeline for farmers looking to stabilize on-farm income, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create habitat at scale to help species critical to agriculture and ecosystem health. Climate change and loss of habitat pose significant threats to honey bees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies and a wide variety of pollinators. A recent global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. 

MULTI-GIGAWATT PARTNERSHIP

Engie and Hannon Armstrong Form Multi-Gigawatt US Renewables Partnership, Greentech Media The portfolio will stretch across five states and encompass both wind and solar projects. Most of the power the Engie-Hannon portfolio produces will be sold to companies looking to increase their renewable electricity, such as T-Mobile and Amazon. 

TRI-STATE NEWS 

  • A power switch in Colorado, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
    At the stroke of midnight, Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association officially became independent of Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The electrical cooperative in west-central Colorado is at least $26 million poorer. That was the cost of getting out of its all-requirements for wholesale supplies from Tri-State 20 years early. But Delta-Montrose expects to be richer in coming years as local resources, particularly photovoltaic solar, get developed with the assistance of the new wholesale provider Guzman Energy.
  • Tri-State: Moving a cooperative power provider from coal to clean energy, by Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative. This article summarizes the key developments over the last few years that led Tri-State to begin a transition away from its reliance on coal, and was first published as a contribution to Energy-Democracy.net

BANK OF AMERICA  

Duke Energy, Bank of America partner on Triad solar farm, Winston Salem Journal
Monday’s joint announcement marks a step toward achieving Bank of America’s goal of “being carbon neutral and utilizing 100% renewable electricity,” bank executive Andrew Plepler said in a written statement. 

MORE ON WHO’S BEHIND ANTI-NET-METERING FERC PETITION

AUSTRALIA

Public Citizen Unmasks Suspect Ratepayer Group Aiming To Disrupt U.S. Solar Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) might be a phony consumer group that seeks to end over 40 states’ successful rooftop solar programs, Public Citizen found Monday. In a motion filed with the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC), Public Citizen provided documentation that contradicts NERA’s claim that it represents low-income households.

The documents showed that 15 entities have donated between $5,000 and $20,000 annually to the organization, making up nearly its entire funding. Such funding is more representative of an industry trade association than a consumer group defending the interests of households. Public Citizen’s filing asks FERC to dismiss NERA’s petition to end the ability of more than 40 states to administer net metering programs, because of NERA’s lack of transparency and misrepresentation. Continue reading here. 

About Public Citizen
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country. We don’t participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. We take no government or corporate money, which enables us to remain fiercely independent and call out bad actors – no matter who they are or how much power and money they have.

NATIONWIDE SUPPORT FOR NET METERING

  • SEIA: Petition to End Net Metering Would be Unlawful Federal Power Grab, News Release
    Jurisdiction over net metering rests with the states and local regulatory bodies and granting a petition to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulate retail programs would represent an unlawful federal power grab, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in response to the petition today. The petition runs counter to the nation’s interests regarding jobs, economic growth and social justice. The petition has drawn significant pushback from a wide variety of parties, including conservative groups, state regulatory agencies, a bipartisan group of state elected officials, and trade associations representing a cross-section of the electricity sector.
  • AG Kaul Joins 16 Attorneys General in Opposing End to Clean Energy Program, EIN Presswire MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general, the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject a petition seeking to end state net metering programs. Approval of the petition could deprive states of a vital clean energy program, financially harm millions of customers, and place thousands of jobs at risk. The states’ protest, filed with FERC today, argues that a petition by the “New England Ratepayers Association” (NERA) is unlawful and would improperly overturn nearly 20 years of precedent recognizing state authority to implement net metering programs, including the authority to set rates, terms, and conditions. 
  • Curtailing solar net metering could damage low-income, ethnic minority communities, by José Rojo Martín, PV-Tech. Human rights activists have thrown their weight behind a campaign to preserve solar net metering, warning that recent attempts to curtail it would damage low-income and ethnic minority communities.
  • 450 organizations sign letter asking FERC to reject federal net-metering petition, Solar Power World. More than 450 environmental and energy-justice, faith and labor groups from more than 30 states urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the New England Ratepayers Association’s petition seeking federal jurisdiction over state solar policies.
  • Utilities remain mute on FERC net metering petition, leave filing to face overwhelming opposition, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. A petition in front of federal regulators to effectively overturn net metering policies nationwide faced overwhelming bipartisan opposition on Monday from state regulators, members of Congress, public power groups and others. 

Alliant coal plant could cost Wisconsin customers $257M by 2030, report says

By Catherine Morehouse, Utilty Dive

Two Wisconsin coal plants cost Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin customers $16 million in 2019 alone, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Alliant on Friday announced it plans to retire one of those facilities — the 380 MW last remaining unit of its Edgewater plant — by 2022. However, the 1,023 MW Columbia coal plant has no set retirement date, and if it continues to operate the utility’s share of the plant could cost customers $257 million through 2030, according to Sierra Club. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Related: Alliant Energy looks to add 675 MW of PV and quadruple Wisconsin’s solar capacity, PV Magazine

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The (energy) efficient road to small business recovery, Utility Dive
The following is a contributed article by Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Di Stasio, President of the Large Public Power Council.

MORE ON SECRET GROUP’S FERC PETITION

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive
A group of Democratic senators and representatives on Tuesday wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging the regulatory body to shut down a net metering proposal that experts say would effectively overturn the policy nationally. In the letter, Congress Members questioned FERC’s authority to make such a rule and also asked the commission to ask the petitioner, New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), to disclose its members. 

Upcoming Advanced Energy Economy Webinar


Net Energy Metering and State Authority: What’s at Stake for Advanced Energy in FERC Petition, June 3 at 2 p.m.


This webinar will explain how FERC ruling the wrong way could impact existing and emerging state and municipal and cooperative utility approaches to supporting distributed energy resources in retail markets. 

Panelists

  • Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission
  • Hannah Muller, Director of Public Policy, Clearway Energy
  • John McCaffrey, Senior Regulatory Counsel, American Public Power Association
  • Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

PEAK COALITION REPORT

Dirty Energy, Big Money, by the PEAK Coalition
Subtitle: 
How Private Companies Make Billions from Polluting Fossil Fuel Peaker Power Plants in New York City’s Environmental Justice Communities – and How to Create a Cleaner, More Just Alternative

The high costs of these peaker plants—both in public health impacts and on New Yorkers’ electric utility bills—are largely hidden to the public. It is not well known, but the owners of these plants receive exorbitant payments from utilities and other energy service providers just for the plants to exist. 

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS STUDY

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About, by Joseph Daniel, senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at UCS

 As we found in our new UCS report, Used but How Useful, How Electric Utilities Exploit Loopholes, Forcing Customers to Bail Out Uneconomic Coal-Fired Power Plants, utilities across 15 states right in the heart of the U.S. exploited power market loopholes, costing customers $350 million in 2018.

Previously Posted

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

New report: Top six wind power trends of 2019

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing great uncertainty throughout our economy, American wind power rests on a strong foundation as we seek to overcome these challenging times. And AWEA’s just-released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 shows just how strong that foundation is. Wind energy is powering more U.S. families and businesses than ever before while providing well-paying jobs, investments in rural America, and a cleaner environment. Let’s dig into some of the report’s top trends. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Wind Energy In Nebraska, Nebraska Fact Sheet, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential.
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 2,132 MW of installed wind power and ranks 14th in the nation for installed capacity, with a total capital investment of $3.8 billion. In 2019, wind power generated 19.9 percent of Nebraska’s electricity, ranking 7th in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. Harnessing more of Nebraska’s wind potential could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers.

Wind Projects as of 4Q 2019:
Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW » State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
Number of wind turbines: 1,045 » State rank for number of wind turbines: 16th
Wind projects online: 26 (Projects larger than 10 MW: 19)

Wind capacity under construction: 1,011 MW
Wind capacity in advanced development: 200 MW

Wind and solar farm leases create extra income for farmers and other landowners and provide valuable tax revenues for our local communities.

Previously Posted

NEBRASKA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Wind, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Nebraska is 5th among the 36 states that utilize wind as a source of power.

SMALL WIND RESOURCES

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Small wind installations are among the clean and renewable energy projects that qualify for the Federal Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Small Wind Installers: Most businesses listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory install small wind systems.

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Net Metering

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

More information on utility net metering policies can be found at the following websites:

ALL INCENTIVES FOR RENEWABLES & EFFICIENCY
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GUIDES FOR SMALL WIND & SOLAR PROJECTS

Supportive energy policy shines spotlight on rural Nebraska

Written by Lu Nelson, Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs,
Contributing Opinion, The Grand Island Independent

Through net metering, homeowners are able to save on energy rates while utilities gain access to local, renewable energy that they can use to meet the needs of other customers. Meanwhile, the installation of generating systems like solar panels brings jobs to communities where consumers are looking to invest in projects. In Nebraska, the solar industry already supports more than 1,300 jobs, and there is plenty of room for the industry to grow as panels continue to get cheaper and more efficient.

Legislative Bill 509 in the Nebraska Legislature would raise the existing cap on the size of projects that qualify for net metering. Allowing consumers to send more of their excess renewable energy to the grid helps lower costs, creates new economic opportunities, and promotes energy independence. Read more here.

LB 509: Redefine the terms net metering and qualified facility and change powers and duties of a local distribution utility

Upcoming Legislative Hearing
Nebraska Legislative Bill 678: Create the Volkswagen Settlement Cash Fund and provide duties for the Department of Environmental Quality
Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas
LB 678 Appropriations Committee Hearing: March 20. 2019 at 1:30 pm in Room 1003
Appropriations Committee
Senator John Stinner, Chairperson jstinner@leg.ne.gov
Senator Kate Bolz kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Senator Robert Clements rclements@leg.ne.gov
Senator Myron Dorn mdorn@leg.ne.gov
Senator Steve Erdman serdman@leg.ne.gov
Senator Robert Hilkemann rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov
Senator Mike McDonnell mmcdonnell@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tony Vargas tvargas@leg.ne.gov
Senator Anna Wishart awishart@leg.ne.gov

Testifier Guide (PDF)
Written Position Letter
If you are not testifying in person and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Upcoming Event: Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association to host the conference on March 25, 2019 at 10 am at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue in York. On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 am.

The free conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska. If you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person.

View Agenda.
To register, visit: www.evnebraska.com.

Hastings couple making switch to solar power

Photo Credit: Hastings Tribune

Photo Credit: Hastings Tribune

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — Tim Smith will never look at a cloudy day the same way again after installing 30 solar panels on the roof of his workshop in north Hastings.

Tim and Pam Smith became the first Hastings Utilities customers to take advantage of LB 436, which allows participants to connect co-generation installations.

When the law was passed in 2009, its intent was to encourage private investment in renewable energy, stimulate economic growth and enhance diversification of energy resources in the state.

 Read more here.

NRG Energy sees shining future for solar

david-crane

David Crane

Recently Bill Loveless, writer for USA Today, interviewed David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, the largest independent producer of electricity in our nation. NRG is aiming to “eventually becoming a strong rival” to Solar City, currently the industry leader in rooftop installations. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I’m very bullish on the idea that within three to five years people will be able to go off the grid,” Crane said . . . He said he has “no time for the debate” over whether state policies promoting rooftop solar punish non-solar customers by leaving them with a greater share of a utility’s operating costs. One of those policies, known as “net metering,” requires utilities to compensate homeowners for solar power they generate but don’t use.

“What will happen is that when people can go all the way off the grid, the debate over whether net metering is fair to people who don’t have solar panels will become moot because people will have gone completely beyond the reach of the system,” he said.

Read the entire article here.