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Democratic Energy Media Roundup – week of September 21st, 2015

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Sep 24, 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-september-21st-2015/

This week in Democratic Energy:

Midwest Energy News’ Bentham Paulos’ new analysis of mid-western cities charts different implementations of distributed generation resources.

Wisconsin ‘health hazard’ ruling could shock wind industry

Texans see long-term benefit in distributed generation.

Featured Stories:

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 1 “A prelude to the future” by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Midwest cities pushing for control of their future by Bentham Paulos, Midwest Energy News

In the world of clean energy, these are the best of times and these are the worst of times.

Renewable energy technologies, long the domain of off-the-grid cabins, early adopters, and tinkerers, have become cost-effective and potent, and their use is growing rapidly worldwide. Energy demand is leveling off in the United States and Europe, as more efficient vehicles, appliances, and buildings allow for a high standard of living with less energy waste. The computer revolution has brought us new energy technologies with embedded intelligence that can be controlled with software programs to respond to changing prices. Solid state electronics have made lighting wildly more efficient, long-lasting, and affordable. These changes hold out the hope of real progress on global warming, the fundamental illness of our modern industrial civilization.

North Carolina mosque aiming to be among first in country to go solar by Sami Glover, TreeHugger

A third American city is now running entirely on renewable energy by Scott Keyes, Think Progress

 

Texas mulls the market power of distributed energy resources by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media

That’s a truly novel opportunity for small-scale energy resources in the state, according to Chad Blevins, senior consultant with Austin, Texas-based law firm The Butler Firm and chairman of ERCOT’s Emerging Technologies Working Group. But it comes with a lot more responsibility to measure and report that data in real time, to make sure it’s doing what it’s being paid for, he noted.

DERs break many boundaries in how today’s grid markets are structured. For example, the Texas market maintains strict separation between generators, “wires” utilities, and the retail energy providers that do business with customers. But DERs cross over all three of these realms, which requires some fudging of the rules made for power plants.

Democratic Energy Around the Nation:

Arizona

Arizona rooftop solar regulations highlight distributed generation debate by Jason Allen, National Law Review

Complaint seeks recusal of 3 Arizona Corporation Commission members in upcoming APS case by Eric Jay Toll, Phoenix Business Journal

Three Arizona regulators under fire for alleged bias against solar by Will Stone, KJZZ

Florida

Florida courts now set to weigh two competing solar ballots by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

California

Attack on rooftop solar by Erica Etelson, KQED Public Radio

California calls for 50% renewable electricity by 2030 by Derek Markham, CleanTechnica

SB350, which was sponsored by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leòn and which was previously passed by the state Senate, was approved by the California Assembly by a vote of 51-24, and will now go before Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law. The passage of this bill follows the success of Hawaii’s recent move to adopt a 100% renewables standard by 2045, and was praised by clean energy advocates, environmentalists, and renewable energy industry groups.

California, which already has a strong RPS policy in place that requires utilities to source 33% of their electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 2020, leads the nation in installed solar capacity (11 GW) and has beneficial net-metering policies, and this push to get to a 50% RPS is intended in part to boost renewables and cut carbon emissions in the Golden State. The new legislation sets interim targets for meeting that goal for the years 2024 and 2027, and includes a stipulation for doubling the energy efficiency goals for buildings by 2030. The original bill also called for a 50% reduction in petroleum use in vehicles, but the bill was amended to strip out that provision.

Rooftop solar companies sound alarm by Morgan Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune

Renewable energy to power Sacramento state buildings by Jon Ortiz, Sacramento Bee

Colorado

A third American city is now running entirely on renewable energy by Scott Keyes, Think Progress

Indiana

Lawrenceberg Municipal Utilities seeking new rate program by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3FM

Ohio

An Ohio power company wants to reverse the deregulation it once fought for by Adam Wernick, Public Radio International

Michigan

Solar customers in Michigan’s U.P. feel ‘carpet ripped out’ from under them by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

Montana

Montana PSC may change rule to benefit small wind-power projects by Mike Dennison, KPAX 8

North Carolina

North Carolina mosque aiming to be among first in country to go solar by Sami Glover, TreeHugger

Texas

Texas mulls the market power of distributed energy resources by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media

That’s a truly novel opportunity for small-scale energy resources in the state, according to Chad Blevins, senior consultant with Austin, Texas-based law firm The Butler Firm and chairman of ERCOT’s Emerging Technologies Working Group. But it comes with a lot more responsibility to measure and report that data in real time, to make sure it’s doing what it’s being paid for, he noted.

DERs break many boundaries in how today’s grid markets are structured. For example, the Texas market maintains strict separation between generators, “wires” utilities, and the retail energy providers that do business with customers. But DERs cross over all three of these realms, which requires some fudging of the rules made for power plants.

Wisconsin

Xcel Energy’s proposed rate increase draws criticism from customers by Jessica Bringe, WEAU

Wisconsin ‘health hazard’ ruling could shock wind industry by Jeremy P. Jacobs, Midwest Energy News

After the action in Falmouth, the state agency convened a panel of independent scientists and doctors. They found no evidence that wind turbines pose a tangible health risk to those living near them.

Plus, there have been several peer-reviewed scientific studies since then that have reached similar conclusions, including one by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another by Canada’s health ministry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recognize “wind turbine syndrome” as an illness. The term was created by a pediatrician, Nina Pierpont, around 2006. Pierpont’s husband is an anti-wind activist.

Health Canada’s 2014 study, for example, found no evidence to suggest a link between exposure to turbine noise and any self-reported illnesses, including dizziness, migraines and chronic conditions.

National Democratic Energy News:

Myths and facts about Net Metering for solar energy by Denise Robbins, Media Matters

Top 5 cities that incentivize solar by Vikram Aggarwal, Mother Earth News

The overlooked dirty energy money behind solar Net Metering battles, and why it matters by Denise Robbins, Media Matters

Utility company interests, backed by even more rich and powerful political actors, are on a collision course with housing innovation by John McManus, Building

Rooftop solar seemed to be one of those juggernaut macro trends in new home building and development. It would get cheaper over time, pay for itself more quickly, and serve as one of those literally shining examples of technology that actually works to the mutual benefit of consumers, builders, and the planet.

Rooftop solar, from an aesthetic standpoint, was never going to win a lot of fans. What’s more, initial costs to install sent those considering it into feverish calculations of monthly calculations of the pay-back point. Still, the math generally worked out to the good, and early adopters even had Uncle Sam and the utility companies kicking in to get the fledgling solar business off the ground.

Solar-power sharing programs may be poised to take off by Cassandra Sweet, Wall Street Journal

Why storing solar energy and using it at night is closer than you think by Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

Five more myths about solar power…and the real facts by Sven Lindstroem, SeeNews Renewables