Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of May 28, 2018

Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of May 28, 2018

Date: 29 May 2018 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This week in Energy Democracy news:

A landmark ruling in California mandates that every new home has to be built with solar panels, which is expected to lower the cost of homeownership; a 2017 Year-End update features the size of each state’s solar market and the corresponding share of distributed solar which is represented by a pie chart; an Edison Electric Institute survey demonstrates Maryland residents support for the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; Michigan lawmakers will conduct a hearing, which will bring community solar for residents, nonprofit organizations, and other constituents; State regulators in Minnesota are introducing an incentive payment to address a new rate for community solar projects; Pittsburgh continues to be a leader of energy innovation with about 20 distributed energy and the implementation of nanogrid and microgrid projects; “Rush to Gas” may cost people billions; and a report on the US Power System.

Featured:

California’s Landmark Solar Homes Mandate Lowers Cost of Home Ownership by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

The State(s) Of Distributed Solar — 2017 Update by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

EEI survey shows support for electric vehicle infrastructure expansion in Maryland by Kevin Randolph, Daily Energy Insider

A majority of Maryland residents support the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the state, according to an Edison Electric Institute (EEI) survey released on Monday that comes as the Maryland Public Service Commission prepares to hold hearings this week on the issue.

According to the survey results, 76 percent of Maryland residents support advancing an EV charging network in the state, 61 percent believe an EV charging network would have a positive impact on Maryland’s economy, and 81 percent believe an EV charging network would have a beneficial impact on the environment.

Michigan lawmakers consider first statewide community solar program by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World Online

The Michigan House Energy Committee will conduct a hearing today on House Bill 5861, which will bring community solar for residents, nonprofit organizations and other constituents looking to lower utility bills and access clean energy options. The Community Renewable Energy Gardens bill is among five separate bills in the bipartisan Energy Freedom Package, which taken together would significantly advance Michigan’s clean energy economy.

Minnesota may ease transition to new community solar rates by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The adder “is, I think, really essential,” said John Farrell, director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “To continue to deliver on that promise — that community solar enhances access to solar — we have to set a price that is appropriate.”

The original compensation method offered enough money to reach at least some residential customers, he said, but the value of solar  approach provides a developer too little money to attract that market segment.

Pittsburgh Steps Up City-Scale Microgrid Initiative by Andrew Burger, Microgrid Knowledge

Pittsburgh, which hopes to eventually develop a grid of microgrids, continues to evolve as a center of energy innovation with about 20 distributed energy, nanogrid and microgrid projects now emerging in the Pennsylvania city.

The ‘Rush To Gas’ Will Strand Billions As Renewables Get Cheaper, Study Says by Jeff McMahon, Forbes

Power producers are rushing to build natural gas plants and pipelines to replace retiring coal, but in less than 10 years much of that infrastructure will be more expensive to operate than the cost to build new renewables, according to an analysis released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

That would leave investors and ratepayers saddled with billions in stranded assets.

Report: The Economics of Clean Energy Portfolios by Rocky Mountain Institute

Energy Democracy News Across the States:

Arizona

Could mandatory new home solar soon happen in Arizona? by Kathy Cline, KTAR

 

California

California utilities race to charge your electric car, bus, forklift by Adrian Martinez, Utility Dive

California residential solar power headed toward $1/W and 2.5¢/kWh by John Weaver, pv magazine

California utilities, solar developers advocate dialogue on new solar mandate by Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Everything You Need to Know About California’s New Solar Roof Mandate by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Companies are using California homes as batteries to power the grid by Michael J. Coren, Quartz

The new solar mandate: A leap forward or a step back? by Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union Tribune

 

Illinois

Galesburg solar projects clear Knox County panel by Rebecca Susmarski, Galesburg Register-Mail

Environmental Group Sees More Ill. Renewables, Bailout Bids by Amanda Durish Cook, RTO Insider

Solar and wind can safely replace coal in Southern Illinois by Mark Burger, pv magazine

 

Kentucky

Solar Plans for a Mined Kentucky Mountaintop Could Hinge on More Coal Mining by James Bruggers, InsideClimate News

 

Maine

Cumberland council OKs solar farm, mulls garage move by Alex Lear, The Forecaster

 

Maryland

EEI survey shows support for electric vehicle infrastructure expansion in Maryland by Kevin Randolph, Daily Energy Insider

A majority of Maryland residents support the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the state, according to an Edison Electric Institute (EEI) survey released on Monday that comes as the Maryland Public Service Commission prepares to hold hearings this week on the issue.

According to the survey results, 76 percent of Maryland residents support advancing an EV charging network in the state, 61 percent believe an EV charging network would have a positive impact on Maryland’s economy, and 81 percent believe an EV charging network would have a beneficial impact on the environment.

 

Massachusetts

Solar workers, advocates lobby Beacon Hill by Andy Metzger, Salem News

State board to mull Stoneham’s aggregate energy plan by Patrick Blais, The Stoneham Independent

The Importance Of Solar Policy Changes In Massachusetts by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Magazine

 

Michigan

House energy committee holds hearing on solar energy bill package by Jay Greene, Crain’s Detroit Business News

Consumers Energy plan could encourage electric vehicle adoption by Tracy Samilton, Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers consider first statewide community solar program by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World Online

The Michigan House Energy Committee will conduct a hearing today on House Bill 5861, which will bring community solar for residents, nonprofit organizations and other constituents looking to lower utility bills and access clean energy options. The Community Renewable Energy Gardens bill is among five separate bills in the bipartisan Energy Freedom Package, which taken together would significantly advance Michigan’s clean energy economy.

 

Minnesota

Solar power could be huge in Greater Minnesota — if they can find the people to build it by Frank Bures, MinnPost

Minnesota they rose 48.2 percent to a total of 4,256, according to the Solar Jobs Census. That’s far more solar jobs than in any of our neighboring states, including Wisconsin, where they increased just 3.9 percent (to 2,921 jobs), Iowa (up 44.6 percent to 815 jobs), South Dakota (up 1.5 percent to 485 jobs) and North Dakota (down 16.7 percent to 145 jobs).

Given these benefits, and the state support, the solar explosion in Minnesota is not surprising. But, as in any new market, there have been growing pains. Many installers complain that they can’t get enough labor for the demand. They cite a State Board of Electricity rule that solar construction is considered electrical work and must be staffed at a ratio of one licensed electrician to two unlicensed ones. With increasing demand on the number of Journeyman and Master (i.e “licensed”) electricians, they say this is effectively a bottleneck on growth and employment.

Community solar a possibility for Farmington by Jody Peters, Coon Rapids Hometown Source

Energy storage has much to offer, and now is our chance to tap it by Ellen Anderson & Alli Gold Roberts, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Electric buses arriving soon in Duluth by Brady Slater, Duluth News Tribune

The Duluth Transit Authority’s Jim Caywood spent last week in Greenville, S.C., where he was the first person locally to set eyes on the electric buses coming to Duluth this summer.

“The first bus will be here about the second week of June,” said Caywood, the DTA’s director of maintenance. “It’s just about done.”

The order of a half-dozen fully electric buses will roll out one at a time over the course of the summer.

Minnesota may ease transition to new community solar rates by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The adder “is, I think, really essential,” said John Farrell, director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “To continue to deliver on that promise — that community solar enhances access to solar — we have to set a price that is appropriate.”

The original compensation method offered enough money to reach at least some residential customers, he said, but the value of solar  approach provides a developer too little money to attract that market segment.

Minnesota’s renewable energy revolution by Paul Huttner, MPR News

 

Missouri

Columbia continues to exceed renewable energy goals, city says by Madison McVan, Columbia Missourian

Almost 16 percent of energy sources used in Columbia in 2017 were renewable, a report presented to the City Council on Monday shows.

This exceeded the city’s goal of having 5 percent of all energy come from renewable sources in 2017, and puts Columbia Water and Light on track to meet the goal of using 15 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018.

These renewable energy goals were first approved by voters in 2004 and were updated by the council in 2014 to raise the standards. Columbia Water and Light has consistently beat the goals, according to the city.

 

New Hampshire

Concord Seeks Business Support Before Passing Renewable Energy Goal by Annie Ropeik, New Hampshire Public Radio

Concord City Council delays action on renewable energy goal by Caitlyn Andrews, Concord Monitor

 

New Jersey

NEW DRIVE TO FINANCE CLEAN-ENERGY PROJECTS WITH NO UPFRONT COSTS by Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

 

New York

Cuomo: Romulus trash-to-energy plant poses environmental threat by Jeff Platsky, Press Connects

New financing options light up solar projects by Claude Solnik, Long Island Business News

 

Pennsylvania

Johnstown’s comeback could get an energy boost from the sun by Amy Sisk, NPR StateImpact: Pennsylvania

Community solar is long overdue in Pa. Lawmakers in Harrisburg can fix that by Pari Kasotia & R. Brent Alderfer, PennLive

Pittsburgh Steps Up City-Scale Microgrid Initiative by Andrew Burger, Microgrid Knowledge

Pittsburgh, which hopes to eventually develop a grid of microgrids, continues to evolve as a center of energy innovation with about 20 distributed energy, nanogrid and microgrid projects now emerging in the Pennsylvania city.

New Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum Seeks Diversified Energy Portfolio by Michael Bates, Solar Industry Magazine

 

Puerto Rico

NRDC Helping to Seed Resilient Energy in Puerto Rico by Luis Martinez, National Resource Defense Council

Puerto Rico’s Latest Challenge: Utility Curtailment of Wind and Solar Farms by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

 

Ohio

Ohio lawmakers fine-tune renewable energy mandates by Jim Provance, Toledo Blade

 

Rhode Island

DEM awards 3 R.I. farms grants for energy efficiency by Haley Hunt, Providence Business News

Three farms in Foster, Little Compton, and Smithfield will aim to decrease costs and upgrade business operations with a combined $54,000 in energy grants, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday.

The projects, which are funded through the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program, seek to save both energy and money by encouraging farmers across the state to “green” their operations.

 

Utah

USU, Rocky Mountain Power celebrate partnership on electric vehicles by Kevin Opsahl, The Herald Journal News

“We’re not just an island of ourselves,” Mark McLellan, USU’s vice president for research and dean of the school of Graduate Studies, said in remarks during an event on Monday. “We really are connected in bringing people together.”

That was certainly true when USU officials and executives from Rocky Mountain Power cut the ribbon for three new electric vehicle chargers at the USU Electric Vehicle and Roadway Research Facility & Test Track. The EVR facility houses another USU initiative, Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center, also known as SELECT, which brings industry and academia together to study electric vehicles.

Rocky Mountain power offering customers a discount on new electric vehicles by Leia Larsen, Provo Herald Extra

 

Vermont

GMP offers Tesla PowerWalls to Vermonters by Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer

 

Wisconsin

MadiSUN Solar Energy Program renewed by Matt Cash, WKOW

 

Wyoming

It’s always sunny in Wyoming: Panel discussion explores solar growth in state by Jeff Victor, Laramie Boomerang

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

TVA rate change draws concern new fixed fee will hurt poor by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • The Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors on Thursday approved a new fixed charge that has drawn the ire of customer activists who say it will add substantially to the energy bills of those who can least afford to pay.
  • TVA approved the establishment of a wholesale fixed rate equal to 6% of the wholesale rate, which works out to about $0.005/kWh. At the same time, TVA reduced the variable portion of the wholesale rate by the same amount, making the change revenue neutral.

Survey finds racial, income gaps in awareness about smart meters by Kevin Stark, Energy News Network

East Coast states unite to advance EV charging infrastructure in Northeast United States by Robin Whitlock, Renewable Energy Magazine

The project is expected to increase the use of electric cars throughout the region and is the result of a multi-state effort supported by Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. It also incorporates input from automobile manufacturers, utilities, EV charging companies and others.

The multi-state effort was facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). The regional strategy offers a vision for electric vehicle charging infrastructure investment and provides a compilation of recommendations to ensure public and private funding decisions are strategically integrated.

Just How Much Business Can Batteries Take From Gas Peakers? by Julian Spector, Greentech Media

Solar and wind power will drive the value of energy storage, remaking the power grid by John Weaver, pv magazine

A much heralded report shows solar and wind will lower wholesale prices, but it also shows a coming evolution in the pricing profile of the grid. These shifts in timing, shape, regularity and length will drive energy storage demand.

Oh, POLITICO, Please Don’t Publish Garbage — Reality Check For Electric Vehicle Hit Job by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

Solar and wind are coming. And the power sector isn’t ready. by David Roberts, Vox

The US electricity system is at an extremely sensitive and uncertain juncture. More and more indicators point toward a future in which wind and solar power play a large role. But that future is not locked in. It still depends in large part on policies and economics that, while moving in the right direction, aren’t there yet.

And so the people who manage US electricity markets and infrastructure, who must make decisions with 20-, 30-, even 50-year consequences, are stuck making high-stakes bets in a haze of uncertainty.

Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Harder to Find, More Expensive in High-Poverty Neighborhoods by Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media

The ‘Rush To Gas’ Will Strand Billions As Renewables Get Cheaper, Study Says by Jeff McMahon, Forbes

Power producers are rushing to build natural gas plants and pipelines to replace retiring coal, but in less than 10 years much of that infrastructure will be more expensive to operate than the cost to build new renewables, according to an analysis released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

That would leave investors and ratepayers saddled with billions in stranded assets.

Report: The Economics of Clean Energy Portfolios by Rocky Mountain Institute

Storage Will Be Energy’s Next Big Thing by David Fickling, Bloomberg

City Policies That Can Grow Electric Vehicle Adoption by Carolyn Fortuna, CleanTechnica

According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analysis titled, “National Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Analysis,” cities in 2030 will need 4,900 Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations, while interstate corridors will only need 400 DCFC stations.

One of the goals of the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is to “dramatically increase electric vehicle adoption in every appropriate category (e.g. light duty vehicles, buses, trucks).” GPI has identified five principles for what constitutes an EV-ready city:

  • Policy: Acknowledge EV benefits and support development of charging infrastructure
  • Regulation: Implement development standards and regulations that enable EV use
  • Administration: Create transparent and predictable EV permitting processes
  • Programs: Develop public programs to overcome market barriers
  • Leadership: Demonstrate EV viability in public fleets and facilities

Solar power: the Northeast vs. utility scale by John Weaver, pv magazine

Last week, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) published its second annual State of Distributed Solar and found a considerable difference between the scale of solar power in the Northeastern United States, versus most of the rest of the country.

The group found that of states with more than 100 MW of solar deployed, 32, mostly northeastern ones, including Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Connecticut – had a majority of their solar power come from projects less than 1 MW (~five to eight acres) in size. This is in contrast to large solar markets in the rest of the nation, including the large solar markets of California, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Nevada, which saw more large-scale development.

EV charging could significantly reduce storage needs, DOE lab finds by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

13 projects from the leading edge of the utility transformation by Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

Does 112% growth in 2017 mean community solar has finally solved its complexity problem? by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Solar Is Third Greatest Renewable Energy Source—What Does This Mean for Cities? by Rachel Kaufman, Next City

Microgrids for Social Justice, Cities, Schools and Even Furniture by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Community energy projects bring power to the people by Sylvia Pfeifer, Financial Times

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Marie Donahue on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update. Also check out over 50 episodes of the Local Energy Rules podcast!

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Sidi Traore
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Sidi Traore

Sidi Traore is the Communications Assistant for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He is a senior from American University majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, which consists of Communications, Law, Economics, and Government with a minor in Accounting. Sidi aspires to be a lawyer in the future and hopes to practice in the areas of human rights, international, and/or immigration. Sidi truly cares about making an impact and substantial difference in individuals' lives, especially those who are vulnerable and do not have the access to the resources to ameliorate their legal needs.