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Democratic Energy Media Roundup – week of December 21, 2015

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Dec 28, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/democratic-energy-media-roundup-week-of-december-21-2015/

This week in Democratic Energy:

US distributed solar capacity continues to grow.

Maryland proposes growing state levels of renewable energy.

Distributed generation crosses party lines in rural Nebraska.

Featured Stories

The North Carolina town that’s scared of solar panels, revisited by David Roberts, Vox

ILSR’s distributed solar capacity quarterly update by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Rural Nebraska lawmaker sees wind energy as an urgent lifeline by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Midwest Energy News: So you’re interested in wind energy primarily as an economic development tool, to bring in people?

Nebraska State Senator Al Davis: Yes, western Nebraska is depopulating so quickly, and services are very hard to bring together. [Some] students drive 50 miles one way to to go to school. Wind energy could bring jobs and some stability to some of these areas of Nebraska.

Are you interested in solar energy as well?

Definitely. Amazingly enough, you wouldn’t think of western Nebraska as good solar territory. But because we have sunny days and dry air, there’s more potential there than you might think. I think solar really has a future.

Are you pursuing solar at all in the legislature?

Yes. When wind was developed in the state, everything with the turbine was classified as personal property, which depreciates very quickly. The worry was that we’d have an abundance (of tax revenue) the first few years, then it would be depreciated and there would be nothing left.

 

Md. lawmakers to propose boosting state levels of renewable energy use by Josh Hicks, Washington Post

“This is not a choice between addressing climate change and improving the economy,” said Davis, who chairs the House Economic Matters Committee. “I believe they are the same thing. These policies are working to reduce pollution and create jobs.”

The legislation would require Maryland to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar by 2020, accelerating existing standards that call for 20 percent by 2022. Meeting the 25-percent target would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 2.7 million metric tons per year, Pugh and Davis said, the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road annually.

Democratic Energy News Around the Nation

California

With rooftop solar booming, California utilities want to charge more by Lauren Summer, KQED

California members of Congress urge regulators to protect rooftop solar program by Ivan Penn, The Los Angeles Times

Going solar saves money for Latino small businesses and homeowners by Carlos Solorzano, CleanTechnica

California regulators propose to keep retail rate net metering for solar – with a few changes by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

Hawaii

Hawaii continues to make progress on its renewable energy goal, report says by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business Journal

Iowa

Why no news is good news for Iowa net-metering supporters by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Maine

Solar power advocates rally while task force ponders Maine policy by Tux Turkel, Central Maine

Maine report on distributed solar by Todd Grist, JD Supra Business Advisor

Maryland

Md. lawmakers to propose boosting state levels of renewable energy use by Josh Hicks, Washington Post

“This is not a choice between addressing climate change and improving the economy,” said Davis, who chairs the House Economic Matters Committee. “I believe they are the same thing. These policies are working to reduce pollution and create jobs.”

The legislation would require Maryland to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar by 2020, accelerating existing standards that call for 20 percent by 2022. Meeting the 25-percent target would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 2.7 million metric tons per year, Pugh and Davis said, the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road annually.

Massachusetts

City council considers solar panels on high school roof by WHAV

Net metering limits could dim prospects of solar projects in several Berkshire communities by Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle

Michigan

Odd Michigan lawmaker coalition fights solar rate cut by Gary Heinlein, The Detroit News

But the “green tea” coalition of environmental Democrats and tea party-oriented Republicans say they oppose the utilities’ proposal because they want to promote more power choices for customers and the expansion of alternative energy sources.
“We ought to be incentivizing diversity and competition in our energy market … but the posture of the big utilities is to oppose all competition and diversity,” said tea party-oriented Republican Rep. Gary Glenn of Midland, who is aligned with renewable power advocate Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.

Minnesota

In deal with co-op, Minnesota town to offset two-thirds of its power with solar by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Mississippi

Mississippi regulators strive for compromise with new net metering rule by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Missouri

Independence community solar farm propose by Brian Burnes, Kansas City Star

Nebraska

LES using solar to get step up on shifting regulatory environment by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

Rural Nebraska lawmaker sees wind energy as an urgent lifeline by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Midwest Energy News: So you’re interested in wind energy primarily as an economic development tool, to bring in people?

Nebraska State Senator Al Davis: Yes, western Nebraska is depopulating so quickly, and services are very hard to bring together. [Some] students drive 50 miles one way to to go to school. Wind energy could bring jobs and some stability to some of these areas of Nebraska.

Are you interested in solar energy as well?

Definitely. Amazingly enough, you wouldn’t think of western Nebraska as good solar territory. But because we have sunny days and dry air, there’s more potential there than you might think. I think solar really has a future.

Are you pursuing solar at all in the legislature?

Yes. When wind was developed in the state, everything with the turbine was classified as personal property, which depreciates very quickly. The worry was that we’d have an abundance (of tax revenue) the first few years, then it would be depreciated and there would be nothing left.

Nevada

NV Energy should be fair with net-metering rates by Patricia Carrell, Las Vegas Review Journal

After doing all we could to make our home more energy efficient with things such as low-E windows and additional attic insulation, we installed rooftop solar at considerable expense. We did this to try to take control of our soaring NV Energy bills and also to be environmentally responsible. If there is any part of this country where rooftop solar energy makes economic and environmental sense, it is Nevada, with its plentiful sunshine.

Now, just a year later, NV Energy has proposals before the Public Utilities Commission that would have the effect of undoing all the good in which we have personally invested. While the national focus is on increasing the use of clean energy, NV Energy appears to want to take Nevada backward.

New Hampshire

State must lift the cap on rooftop solar by Representatives Bob Backus & Susan Glick, The Concord Monitor

So, the good news is we have a solution to in-state electricity needs that is clean, affordable and growing quickly. The bad news is that New Hampshire currently has an arbitrary cap on rooftop solar. It’s a cap on a critical policy called net metering that gives solar customers full credit for the excess energy they put back on the grid. Utilities sell this clean power to homes and businesses nearby, which is even more critical during times of peak demand, such as cold spells. Legislators will discuss net metering during the upcoming session, and it’s critical to New Hampshire’s energy future that they lift the cap.

North Carolina

Santee Cooper treats ratepayers unfairly by Michael Kohl, Greenville Online

Ohio

Merchant generators lead opposition to FirstEnergy Ohio settlement by Ted Caddell, RTO Insider

FirstEnergy settlement delayed as PUCO agrees with opponents, sets new hearings by John Funk, Cleveland Business

FirstEnergy rate settlement proposal sets stage to boost fixed costs by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

South Carolina

As IOUs push solar, Santee Cooper rate plan draws ire of South Carolina greens by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Texas

Homeowners can rent their roofs for solar energy by Marilyn Moritz, KSAT-TV

Nationwide Democratic Energy News

The North Carolina town that’s scared of solar panels, revisited by David Roberts, Vox

We need social ownership and democratic control of energy by Tabby Spence, The New Internationalist

The way forward is with ‘social ownership and democratic control of energy’, Sean Sweeney, founder of the Global Labor Institute…The lack of democracy and the hold of powerful countries and interests over the international processes means that the local and national scales are the actual planes at which we can operate to bring about large-scale changes.

Congress passes tax credits for solar and wind: ‘sausage-making at its most intense’ by Stephen Lacey, GreenTech Media