Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of March 19, 2018

Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of March 19, 2018

Date: 20 Mar 2018 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This week in Energy Democracy news:

A big milestone in California as it relates to renewable energy and peak demand percentage; a new, conservative clean energy organization in Indiana; isolated Maine communities considering microgrid technologies; and how a Politico Magazine writer is coming to understand the green economy and its contours.

 

Featured Stories:

Community Solar & Value Of Solar Under Review in Minnesota by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

California Sets Two New Solar Records by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Mild temperatures and sunny skies helped California set two new solar records in recent days.

On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar, hitting a record 49.95 percent at 12:58 p.m. That’s up from the previous peak of 47.2 percent set on May 14, 2017.

“The record is a result of a cool, sunny day,” Anne Gonzales, senior public information officer at CAISO, wrote in an email.

“Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts,” she said. “Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.”

A day later, on March 5, CAISO set another solar record, this time hitting a new peak for solar production of 10,411 megawatts at 10:18 a.m. The previous record was 9,913 megawatts set on June 17, 2017.

Colorado State Senator Steve Fenberg On Local Power Versus Corporate Power (Episode 39) by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

ICAE support clean, renewable energy by Batesville Herald Tribune

Indiana conservatives are launching a new organization that will focus on advocating for an “all of the above” energy policy that includes support for clean and renewable energy like wind and solar. The Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy (ICAE) is comprised of conservative leaders across the state who are prepared to help Indiana lead on new and clean energy development to reach a next level economy, create jobs and improve the quality of life for all Hoosiers.

The 2018 Community Power State Scorecard by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

As Storms Batter Electric Grid, More Mainers Consider Cutting The Cable by A.J. Higgins, Maine Public Radio

Another week and another nor’easter is bearing down on Maine, prompting thousands of families to restock essential supplies, get out the snow shovels and monitor the forecast.

In an era of climate change, weather forecasts often call for more intense storms. Those can translate to high winds — and if the winds are accompanied by freezing rain, the combination can equate to prolonged power outages.

New advances in solar electric panels and price drops for off-the-grid energy systems are prompting more Mainers to consider cutting the cord to the local power company in favor of a more independent lifestyle.

Utility Proposes Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot, But Will Anyone Opt In For No Benefit? by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

South Carolina solar advocates worry Dominion-Scana deal will stall industry by Jim Pierobon, Energy News Network

Solar advocates expect it’ll only get worse if a proposed merger involving one of the state’s largest energy companies goes through.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy wants to buy South Carolina’s Scana Corp. for $14.6 billion. Scana is the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), which serves 700,000 electric customers in the state.

Dominion’s political clout has long loomed in Virginia, where the company has generally opposed net metering and other policies that encourage customer-owned, distributed generation such as rooftop solar. The company is also a backer of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and its commitment to natural gas could crowd out the need for new solar.

My Life In the Elusive Green Economy by Michael Grunwald, Politico Magazine

Chris Nelder, electricity manager for the Rocky Mountain Institute, says they’re just too expensive for private firms to install when drivers mostly charge at home. The obvious solution would be for utilities that already sell power to install them, but most state regulators have refused to let utilities charge their ratepayers for the hefty installation costs.

“It’s frustrating, because there’s literally nothing internal combustion vehicles do better than plug-ins,” Nelder told me. “They just have more refueling infrastructure.”

 

Energy Democracy News Across the States:

Arkansas

Author of Utility Rate Change Says Ending ‘Net Metering’ Not Legislation’s Intent by Rampezzan, WMOT

 

Arizona

Solar customers don’t have to pay some taxes, state Supreme Court rules by Ryan Randazzo, Arizona Republic

 

California

California Sets Two New Solar Records by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Mild temperatures and sunny skies helped California set two new solar records in recent days.

On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar, hitting a record 49.95 percent at 12:58 p.m. That’s up from the previous peak of 47.2 percent set on May 14, 2017.

“The record is a result of a cool, sunny day,” Anne Gonzales, senior public information officer at CAISO, wrote in an email.

“Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts,” she said. “Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.”

A day later, on March 5, CAISO set another solar record, this time hitting a new peak for solar production of 10,411 megawatts at 10:18 a.m. The previous record was 9,913 megawatts set on June 17, 2017.

Los Angeles 100% renewable – every hour of the day – by 2030, zero net cost by Jon Weaver, PV Magazine

Letters: Electric vehicles are the future for California by The Press Democrat Editorial Letter

Rebuilding with Community Microgrids in Wake of California Fires: Sonoma County by Lisa Cohn, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Colorado

Where do all CO’s governor hopefuls stand on 100% renewable energy by 2040? by Corey Hutchins, The Colorado Independent

 

Connecticut

First Congregational Church in Guilford goes solar by Chlouie Alvarado, New Haven Register

Airports and environmentalists push for community solar projects by Emilie Munson, CT Post

 

Delaware

Delaware Electric launches electric charger pilot program by Delaware Business Now

Delaware Electric Cooperative is launching an electric vehicle charger pilot program.

The cooperative is looking for members with electric vehicles to participate in this program. Qualified members will receive a freeChargePoint Home electric car charger, valued at $700.

The charger is the smallest and most advanced charging station on the market.

 

District of Columbia

WinnCos. Completes Largest DC Community Solar Project by IvyLee Rosario, Multi-Housing News

 

Idaho

Idaho Power’s request to change solar power practice faces local opposition by Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal

Despite being in place for 35 years, Idaho Power is looking to change this practice, and solar advocates and some locals are not happy.

Multiple Southeast Idaho residents provided testimony on Monday to state utility regulators opposing Idaho Power’s attempt to change the practice. Testimony was received by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in front of a standing-room only crowd at Pocatello City Hall. The commission delayed Idaho Power’s request in October to allow time for public comment.

 

Illinois

Judge: Municipal, co-op customers ineligible for Illinois solar incentives by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

 

Indiana

ICAE support clean, renewable energy by Batesville Herald Tribune

Indiana conservatives are launching a new organization that will focus on advocating for an “all of the above” energy policy that includes support for clean and renewable energy like wind and solar. The Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy (ICAE) is comprised of conservative leaders across the state who are prepared to help Indiana lead on new and clean energy development to reach a next level economy, create jobs and improve the quality of life for all Hoosiers.

Point of View: Future-looking energy plan needed by Richard Hill, Goshen News

 

Iowa

Iowa lawmakers advance bill to limit energy efficiency funding and possibly open door to fees on solar customers by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

 

Kentucky

Kentucky net metering proposals would explore subsidy issue by Bill Yingling, Daily Energy Insider

A major question is whether, under the state’s current net metering law, the vast majority of ratepayers are subsidizing the cost of maintaining the regional grid for the relatively few customers with solar energy systems who are connected to it.

Lawmakers have proposed a variety of amendments to the bill to address the question, including a net metering fee to ensure that solar system owners are paying a fair share of the utility’s fixed costs for the regional system of poles and wires.

Kentucky House Passes Divisive Net Metering Bill by Ryan Van Velzer, WFPL

 

Maine

As Storms Batter Electric Grid, More Mainers Consider Cutting The Cable by A.J. Higgins, Maine Public Radio

Another week and another nor’easter is bearing down on Maine, prompting thousands of families to restock essential supplies, get out the snow shovels and monitor the forecast.

In an era of climate change, weather forecasts often call for more intense storms. Those can translate to high winds — and if the winds are accompanied by freezing rain, the combination can equate to prolonged power outages.

New advances in solar electric panels and price drops for off-the-grid energy systems are prompting more Mainers to consider cutting the cord to the local power company in favor of a more independent lifestyle.

Yarmouth solarize proposal will see daylight again by Jocelyn Van Saun, The Forecaster

Maine House passes solar policy fix by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

 

Maryland

Shore Power project aims to save tax dollars, environment by Timothy B. Wheeler, Maryland Reporter

Higher education can have real world greening impacts. Case in point: The Shore Power Project, launched several years ago at Washington College, has helped local governments on Maryland’s Eastern Shore find ways to reduce energy costs while also shrinking their carbon footprint.

Proposals to purify, expand Maryland’s renewable energy supply fail by Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun

 

Massachusetts

Getting to green: At BCC summit, plotting the path to 100% renewable energy by Patricia LeBeouf, Berkshire Eagle

How to Start a Solar Company When Everyone Thinks You’re Wrong by Julian Spector, Greentech Media

Solar project would power Richmond school, save town up to $285K by Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle

Environmentalists push for Massachusetts to move to 100 percent renewable energy by Elisha Machado, WWLP

Environmentalists are pushing for Massachusetts to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. They said the move will reduce air pollution, create jobs and improve public health.

The United States is one of the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide; these emissions are caused by using fuels like natural gas, oil and coal.

Environmentalists are urging lawmakers to take action to reduce the state’s impact on the environment by passing a bill that would move Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

MA Governor Embraces ‘Clean Peak’ Policy to Encourage Renewables Paired With Storage by Julian Spector, Greentech Media

 

Michigan

Don’t block solar’s future in Michigan by Amy Heart, Solar Power World Online

Opposition arises to Michigan plans to kill net metering by Mark Burger, PV Magazine

 

Minnesota

Minnesota is in the midst of a massive and historic energy transformation by Gregg Mast and Lisa Jacobson, MinnPost

Rochester aims for 100% renewable energy by Michael Miller, Rochester Post Bulletin

Globally renowned as a terminus of health, Rochester’s focus on medical wellness clashes with its consumption of fossil fuels for energy, which pollutes the environment and endangers public health. Luckily, Rochester took a leap toward the growing renewable energy trend that values our health and environment.

On October 12, 2015, Mayor Ardell Brede catapulted Rochester into action when he signed a proclamation that commits the city to 100-percent renewable energy by 2031. Local stakeholders took notice. “Elected officials, city, and utility staff have … given the goal serious consideration,” said Rick Morris, an organizing representative for the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization.

Community solar garden program helps power IPS Solar growth by Neal St. Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

New Hampshire

NH Energy Week to tout cleaner solutions by Michael Cousineau, New Hampshire Union Leader

NH Senate votes to expand net metering to larger users by Bob Sanders, New Hampshire Business Review

 

New Jersey

Plugging away at climate change with electric vehicles, chargers by Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

Electric vehicles are getting a push from energy companies by Brett Johnson, ROI New Jersey

Sweeney stands in way of Murphy’s clean-energy agenda by Jocelyn Sawyer, Burlington County Times

Mapping out requirements for tomorrow’s energy infrastructure by Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

 

New York

Rochester encouraging electric vehicles by Rochester Business Journal

State Clean Energy Authority at Stake in New York ZEC Case by Miles Farmer, National Resource Defense Council

New York’s Biggest Community Solar Project Comes Online by Betsy Sullivan, Solar Industry Magazine

 

Pennsylvania

This faith-based organization puts ‘the soul back in solar’ energy in North Philly by Grace Shallow, Generocity

New Philadelphia May Pass a Zoning Law to Control Wind Turbine Construction in the City by Tim Ruddell, WKSU

 

Puerto Rico

Green Energy Colonialism? Local Experts Left Out of Puerto Rico’s Post-Hurricane Energy Planning by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

 

Rhode Island

Solar-friendly bills send developers scrambling for big, open spaces by Alex Kuffner, Providence Journal

 

South Carolina

South Carolina solar advocates worry Dominion-Scana deal will stall industry by Jim Pierobon, Energy News Network

Solar advocates expect it’ll only get worse if a proposed merger involving one of the state’s largest energy companies goes through.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy wants to buy South Carolina’s Scana Corp. for $14.6 billion. Scana is the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), which serves 700,000 electric customers in the state.

Dominion’s political clout has long loomed in Virginia, where the company has generally opposed net metering and other policies that encourage customer-owned, distributed generation such as rooftop solar. The company is also a backer of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and its commitment to natural gas could crowd out the need for new solar.

 

Tennessee

Next phase for Chattanooga’s smart grid: an airport microgrid by Jim Pierobon, Energy News Network

 

Utah

Commentary: The 2018 Utah legislative session brought us a win for clean energy and climate by Josh Craft and Kevin Emerson, Salt Lake Tribune

 

Vermont

Thomas Dairy solar project gets initial town approval by Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald

Solar-Powered Brewery Donates Extra Power to Senior Center by Associated Press

 

Washington

Getting There: The electric-vehicle buzz is real by Nicholas Deshais, Spokane Spokesman Tribune

 

West Virginia

Law could foster renewable energy development in Central Appalachia by Joey James and Evan Hansen, West Virginia Gazette Mail

 

Wisconsin

Group: Electric vehicle revolution hampered by lack of charging stations in Madison by Steven Elbow, The Cap Times

A public interest group released a report Thursday warning that municipalities need to prepare for the coming electric vehicle revolution or risk losing out on the benefits of cleaner transportation.

“Electric vehicles are popular and they’re coming,” said Peter Skopec, director of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG). “So if state and local officials want to plug into this opportunity they have to implement policies to make the transition as smooth and as fast as possible.”

Students, community members gather in support of 100 percent clean energy on UW-Madison campus by Kendl Kobbervig, Madison Daily Cardinal

Solar roof coming to Jobs Center; 16 installations and counting for Dane County buildings by Bill Novak, Wisconsin State Journal

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

US Energy Storage Market Tops the 1 GWh Milestone in 2017 by Mike Munsell, Greentech Media

My Life In the Elusive Green Economy by Michael Grunwald, Politico Magazine

Chris Nelder, electricity manager for the Rocky Mountain Institute, says they’re just too expensive for private firms to install when drivers mostly charge at home. The obvious solution would be for utilities that already sell power to install them, but most state regulators have refused to let utilities charge their ratepayers for the hefty installation costs.

“It’s frustrating, because there’s literally nothing internal combustion vehicles do better than plug-ins,” Nelder told me. “They just have more refueling infrastructure.”

Utility-Scale Dominance: “Solar in the Southeast” Annual Report blog series (part 4 of 5) by Bryan Jacob, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Utilities are paying their customers to buy electric vehicles by Michael J. Coren, Quartz

Why the Northeast could soon rival California on energy storage by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

Tesla and Uber Weigh In on Policies to Boost EV Adoption by Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media

Community energy storage: What is it? where is it? how does it work? by Joseph Petta and Erica McConnell, Utility Dive

Utility renewable pledges go above and beyond state laws — but why? by Andy Balaskovitz, Energy News Network

The voluntary pledges allow utilities to set the terms and timeline for their investments in renewable energy. They often draw positive headlines, and ultimately they don’t conflict with the companies’ bottom lines as the cost of renewables continues to fall.

Critics, though, say that most utility pledges lack urgency and allow them to continue burning fossil fuels for decades. They also have potential to obscure the need for extending state renewable energy standards.

Are renewable portfolio standards on the way out? Three ballot initiatives say otherwise by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

A trio of proposed renewable energy ballot initiatives has caught the eye of the energy sector. Confined to two Western and one Midwestern states, these ballots are backed by climate activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, through his super PAC NextGen America.

The initiatives aim to increase existing mandates for renewable energy; in some cases, this requires amending the state’s constitution. For now, the initiatives must gather the requisite number of signatures, before appearing on the ballots. But their introduction has sparked discussion over whether or not RPSs are still necessary to drive the renewable energy market forward in states now that costs for wind and solar have dropped.

The push for RPS initiatives comes during the highly anticipated 2018 election, two years after President Donald Trump stunned the United States by winning the nation’s highest public office. His public disdain for renewable energy and support for fossil fuels is at odds with the growing popularity and investment in wind and solar as well as increasing public awareness of climate change impacts.

Competition Gives Everyone Better, Cheaper Energy Choices by Anne Hoskins and Dan Dolan, RTO Insider

Open markets drive competition. Competition drives innovation and affordability. Case in point: Today, more and more consumers are utilizing innovative battery solutions — with many powered by rooftop solar — to provide clean energy to homes and businesses. In the coming weeks, regulators will consider proposals by utilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that seek to fully control customer-owned batteries, or seek to reach into peoples’ homes and actually own batteries. There is no reason for regulators to allow utility control or ownership of generation and storage resources that can be supplied competitively. With no natural monopoly to regulate or market failure to fix, enabling utility ownership and control will serve only to stifle innovation and impede competitive solutions. We urge regulators to consider a better future.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly greener in the US thanks to a cleaner electric grid by Fred Lambert, Electrek

Considering getting solar panels? Here are the right questions to ask. by Elisabeth Leamy, Washington Post

Charging An Electric Vehicle Is Far Cleaner Than Driving On Gasoline, Everywhere In America by Silvio Marcacci, Forbes

Driving an electric vehicle (EV) has obvious climate benefits: zero tailpipe emissions. But because EVs are charged by power grids that burn fossil fuels, they aren’t necessarily zero-carbon.  An EV’s carbon footprint depends on whether its power comes from renewables or fossil, and quantifying exactly how clean EVs are compared to gasoline-powered vehicles has been tough – until now.

New data shows that in every corner of the United States, driving an EV produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than cars powered only by gasoline, regardless of the local power mix. Today, an average EV on the road in the U.S. has the same greenhouse-gas emissions as a car getting 80 miles per gallon (MPG). That’s up from 73 MPG in 2017, and far greater than the average gas-powered car available for sale in the U.S., which hit a record 24.7 MPG in 2016.

Could FERC Order Put State Clean Energy Policies in Danger? by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

In the New South, customer demand is showing utilities the dollars and sense in solar by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Why Is Microsoft Getting Into Rooftop Solar? by Jason Deign, Greentech Media

Even more evidence that electric cars could save the planet by Jack Stewart, Wired

TVA proposes rate structures to hobble rooftop solar by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

The semi-public power authority is not even trying to hide its attempt to slow down deployment of customer-owned solar and other forms of distributed generation.

This surging stock looks like a promising bet on electric cars — and it’s not Tesla by Viktor Riklaitis, MarketWatch

Why Is Vehicle-to-Grid Taking So Long to Happen? by Jason Deign, Greentech Media

 

This post originally published at ilsr.org. Follow the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on Twitter and Facebook and sign-up for ILSR’s newsletters.

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Nick Stumo-Langer
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Nick Stumo-Langer

Nick Stumo-Langer was Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He ran ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.