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Democratic Energy Media Roundup – week of October 12, 2015

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Oct 14, 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-october-12-2015/

This week in Democratic Energy:

Iowa is creating their state energy plan that focuses on renewables and efficiency.

Minnesota solar advocates fight Xcel Energy on stalled community solar projects.

Distributed generation technology is getting much easier to purchase.

Featured Stories:

Wind and solar keep getting cheaper and cheaper by Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

So as renewables bid in low to supply power to the grid, they come to supply more of it — meaning that fossil fuel plants operate less. “You start to go from a world where renewables are expensive, to a world where renewables are actually cheap. And that’s very meaningful,” Henbest says.

Still, some renewables remain quite expensive. Marine and tidal power both cost over $400 per megawatt hour, and offshore wind — a technology with much hope attached to it for major expansion — came in at $174, suggesting it still has a ways to go.

Renewable energy future postcard by Joanna Schroeder, AGWired

Stalled Xcel solar garden program in Minnesota may end up in court by David Shaffer, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 3 “The Future” by John Farrell, Renewable Energy World

Democratic Energy Around the Nation:

Arizona

3 Arizona regulators reject allegations of bias in APS Net Metering decisions by Will Stone, KJZZ

Battle lines drawn in Arizona solar rate design cases by Tracey Ledbetter & James Orr, JD Supra Business Advisor

California

California’s landmark renewable energy law to be signed on Wednesday by Paul Rogers and Louis Hansen, Contra Costa Times

Poor deserve piece of solar energy pie, too by Strela Cervas, The Sacramento Bee

The biggest threat residential solar has ever faced by Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

Hawai’i 

NextEra, HECO withdraw application for utility solar project on Oahu by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Illinois

Chicago program aims for 1 million ‘smart’ thermostats by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Locals turn to solar power by Stephanie Esters, The Southern Illinoisan

 

Massachusetts

Belmont’s Municipal Light Board signs off on new solar policy by Bram Berkowitz, Wicked Local Belmont

We have the makings for a better energy mix by Joel Wool, The MetroWest Daily News

Massachusetts non-profits get easier access to solar power by Jack Newsham, The Boston Globe

Minnesota

Minnesota developers want faster pace for community solar by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Stalled Xcel solar garden program in Minnesota may end up in court by David Shaffer, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Mississippi

After comments, regulators must decide rooftop solar rules by Jeff Amy, Myrtle Beach Online

New York

New York wants to create competitive electricity markets. But who should run them? by David Roberts, Vox

North Carolina

NC lets sun set on solar tax credit by Ned Barnett, Charlotte News Observer

Rhode Island

Solar farms good for R.I. by Meghan Kallman, Providence Journal

Texas

Denton announces renewable energy plan by Eleanor Dearman, Texas Tribune

Seventy percent is a high rate in a state where renewable energy fuels roughly 10 percent of electric generation on the grid. Denton’s plan follows in the footsteps of other cities across the state that are relying less on traditional electricity sources like coal and gas power plants. For example, Austin and San Antonio are working to expand their use of solar power, and Georgetown is planning to cut out non-renewable energy sources altogether.

Utah

Hearing sheds light on benefits, costs to rooftop solar by Amy Joi o’Donoghue, Deseret News

Solar advocates decried the fee as a sun tax, successfully getting the commission to reject the assessment — for now — and instead order a study to quantify the benefits and costs of such a fee.

It may seem like a lot of fighting over a monthly charge that is less than the cost of a fast-food hamburger combo meal, but clean energy advocates insist the fee could dim the lights on a solar industry that is just now starting to take off.

Solar power rates once again up for debate in hearing with state regulators by Kimberly Nelson, Good4Utah

Fight over value – and cost – of solar ignites again in Utah by Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune

Nationwide Democratic Energy News:

Wind and solar keep getting cheaper and cheaper by Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

So as renewables bid in low to supply power to the grid, they come to supply more of it — meaning that fossil fuel plants operate less. “You start to go from a world where renewables are expensive, to a world where renewables are actually cheap. And that’s very meaningful,” Henbest says.

Still, some renewables remain quite expensive. Marine and tidal power both cost over $400 per megawatt hour, and offshore wind — a technology with much hope attached to it for major expansion — came in at $174, suggesting it still has a ways to go.

Solar and wind just passed another big turning point by Tom Randall, Bloomberg Business

For the first time, widespread adoption of renewables is effectively lowering the capacity factor for fossil fuels. That’s because once a solar or wind project is built, the marginal cost of the electricity it produces is pretty much zero—free electricity—while coal and gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced. If you’re a power company with a choice, you choose the free stuff every time.

It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. As more renewables are installed, coal and natural gas plants are used less. As coal and gas are used less, the cost of using them to generate electricity goes up. As the cost of coal and gas power rises, more renewables will be installed.

Corporate giants making big shifts in clean energy – what’s going on? by Rob Day, GreenTech Media

It feels like a golden time in solar right now by Karl-Erik Stromsta, ReCharge