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Democratic Energy Media Roundup – week of August 17, 2015

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Aug 18, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at
Democratic Energy Media Roundup (1)

This week in Democratic Energy:

  • Net Metering caps stay in the national conversation on renewable energy.
  • Renewable leaders and utilities react to the Clean Power Plan.
  • New Texas law allows and encourages rooftop solar.

Featured Stories:

Can An Old Utility Learn New Tricks? by John Farrell, Clean Technica

Why rooftop solar may be worth three times price of grid power by David Labrador, Renew Economy

Solar lobby in Darth Vader, other villain garb to protest NV Energy by Jason Hidalgo, Reno-Gazette Journal


New Law Will Help More Texans Go Solar by Jim Malewitz and Jeremy Lin, The Texas Tribune

In many cases, Texas law limits the power of neighborhood associations to regulate or ban home solar power systems. But The Colony shut Patel’s project down by slipping through a loophole in the law. Although the neighborhood is more than a decade old, the letter pointed out that it is still controlled by its developer — Forestar Group — and considered “within the development period” that has no end in sight.

This year, the Texas Legislature came to aid of those in Patel’s predicament. Senate Bill 1626 will close the loophole that allowed developers to keep solar power out of communities that keep “developing” for decades. The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, says developers of expanding neighborhoods larger than 50 homes may not ban solar devices.

Democratic Energy Around the Nation:

New Arizona utility regulators to face first APS case on solar rates by Ryan Randazzo, The AZ Central

Arizona utility regulators are set to make their first major decision involving Arizona Public Service Co. since two regulators won election last year with the support of independent political groups widely thought to be funded by APS.

APS has asked the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission to increase the monthly charge for rooftop-solar customers. In a landmark 2013 decision, the commissioners agreed that rooftop-solar customers avoid paying some of the fixed costs associated with maintaining the power grid because they rely on the grid throughout the day to supplement power from their solar panels.

A Revolutionary Roadmap for California’s Distributed Energy Future by Jeff St. John, Green Tech Media
California decision means rooftop solar owners have choices by Amanda Miller, Clean Energy Authority
MUSD breaks ground on 15 solar power projects by Daniel Strasberger, The Desert Trail

Three influential groups announce support for Smart Solar amendment by Phil Ammann, Saint Peter Blog

Hawaii regulators hire national expert on consumer electricity usage by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News

Iowa modifies its Renewable Energy Tax Credit regime by Rich Page, JD Supra Business Advisor

Tax credits for renewables should be extended by The Sioux City Journal

Clean Power Plan leaves gaps for states and utilities to fill by Peter Hancock, Lawrence Journal Herald

Why rooftop solar may be worth three times price of grid power by David Labrador, Renew Economy

Massachusetts Governor proposes to expand net metering caps by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Solar Advocates Look For Answers On Net Metering by Brian Morris, WCAI

Hellerstein said that solar can help reduce electricity costs even for those customers on the traditional grid.
“On hot summer days, the demand for electricity tends to be highest. And this is actually the time when solar installations are producing the most electricity. So by cutting down on the demand on the grid at those times of the day, and also producing electricity closer to where it’s needed, solar can actually help to make electricity more affordable for everybody,” said Hellerstein.

Baker bid to build solar industry will minimize ratepayer impacts by Colin A. Young, Nashoba Publishing
Opinion: Stop utilities’ monopolies on solar by Rabbi Judy Weiss, The Herald News

Indeed, conservative Barry Goldwater Jr.’s organization TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) works to liberate solar from utilities. Goldwater argues: “The utilities are monopolies. They’re not used to competition.” Similarly, Pharaoh, threatened by Israel’s rapid growth, enslaved them.
American utilities stymie solar’s growth with caps, by not paying net-metering credits, and by charging high monthly fees for solar users. Utilities argue that net-metering is unfair to non-solar users, but their false argument only considers revenues lost from solar users while ignoring expenses solar users help utilities avoid.

Worcester seeking to build large-scale solar project atop landfill by Nick Kotsopoulos, The Telegram
Keep solar’s future bright by Matthew A.M. Lash, Sentinel & Enterprise

Solar panels coming to landfill along I-196 near Grand Rapids by Matt Vande Butte, Michigan Live
Michigan senate bill would erode the value of net metering for solar owners by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Wind turbine owner forces statewide review of utilities’ tacked-on fees by David Shaffer, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Report: Minnesota already on pace to exceed Clean Power Plan goals by Andy Balaskovitz, MidWest Energy News
Net metering rollbacks bad for Minnesota by Tim Gulden, Winona Daily News
A win-win investment: advancing the Clean Power Plan for a modern Minnesota economy by Mike Grover, MinnPost
Minneapolis project aims to bridge racial divide in solar power by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Part of the effort was intended to use community solar as a way to create education and job opportunities as well as give North Side church members and residents a break on their utility bills.

Community solar on the North Side, home to the city’s garbage burner and some heavy industry, gives residents a glimpse of the potential for clean energy, she said. A door-to-door campaign in Minneapolis has begun to inform neighbors of the benefits of community solar garden subscriptions, and groups have been tabling at the church and different community events.

Check out our take on Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light.

NV Energy employs anti-competitive measures to monopolize the sun by Charles Cicchetti, Las Vegas Sun

NV Energy is seeking political support to put the brakes on the rooftop solar industry. It claims this is a rich man’s game and it can build solar generation for less money. The facts are strikingly different. A careful review shows the public utility is aggressively engaged in anti-competitive efforts that if successful will let it monopolize the sun.

Solar lobby in Darth Vader, other villain garb to protest NV Energy by Jason Hidalgo, Reno-Gazette Journal
Rooftop-solar official: NV Energy proposal spells death of industry by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s solar boom could soon hit a wall by Sam Evans-Brown, WNPR

New Jersey
Bill Could Mean More Money to Small Businesses, Residents with Solar Panels by Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

New York
More details emerge about how New York regulators plan to restructure utilities by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

South Dakota
Lincoln Co. wind worries clash with clean energy hopes by John Hult, The Argus Leader

New Law Will Help More Texans Go Solar by Jim Malewitz and Jeremy Lin, The Texas Tribune

Kaysville Reinstates Credits for Solar Users by Andrea Smardon, KUER

The value of solar in Vermont by Barbara Vergetis Lundin, Fierce Energy

Are small changes eating away at Net Metering? by Ivy Main, The Energy Collective

Washington D.C.
Nation’s capital explores modernized energy distribution by Sullivan & Worcester, Lexology

General Irony Section
Shell to leave ALEC over climate change stance by Devin Henry, The Hill

Study finds future of distributed solar hinges on electricity rate design by US Department of Energy, Renewable Energy Magazine

“We find that retail rate design can have a dramatic impact on PV deployment levels,” said report author Naïm Darghouth, a researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area. “For example, rate design changes currently being considered by a number of utilities, and modeled in our study, can dramatically erode aggregate customer adoption of PV (from -14 percent to -61 percent, depending on the design).”

Some Utilities Want a Surcharge to Let the Sunshine In by Zahra Hirji, Inside Climate News
Micro Wind Turbines Still In Play As US Wind Energy Vaults To #1 Worldwide by Tina Casey, Clean Technica
Municipal utilities drive sustainability in smaller cities by
Note to utilities: Here’s why 2015 is the ‘tipping point’ for community solar by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

What locational value do DERs provide to the grid? by Josh Bode, Intelligent Utility
The growing solar PV divide and its implications by Seeking Alpha
More tribes get federal help with Renewable Energy Projects by Mark Fogarty, Indian Country
Reward solar generation instead of installation by Fedor Petrenko, Green Biz
Mapping how the United States generates its electricity by John Muyskens, Dan Keating, and Samuel Granados, The Washington Post
Study: Patchwork of state, county laws holding back wind development by ClimateWire, Midwest Energy News