This week in Energy Democracy news:
All over the U.S. utilities are facing increased energy competition thanks to cheaper renewable alternatives including solar and storage options. Consequently, Utility companies in the midwest are struggling to get new gas plants approved. More on this in John Farrell’s new Solar+Storage Report. In South Carolina, legislators and regulators scramble to find a way forward as residents hit the net metering cap. In New England, states are re-examining subsidies to clean energy and net metering all together.
A Solar Power & Energy Storage Revolution Is Upon Us by Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica
Being A “B Corp” Also Benefits Green Mountain Power’s Bottom Line by John Farrell, CleanTechnica
An Open Letter To California Energy Commissioners On The Rooftop Solar Mandate by John Farrell, CleanTechnica
After Fighting The Dakota Access Pipeline, Standing Rock Activists Want To Green The Rez by Michael Sainato, Huffington Post
The goal of Green the Rez is to implement a regulatory mandate for statewide renewable energy portfolio standards of 50 percent by 2030 for North and South Dakota, which the reservations cross. Campaign leaders also want to move all tribal buildings to renewable energy sources and then transition homes on the reservation to green power as well. The campaign is also working toward pushing North Dakota and South Dakota to enact solar access laws, which would make it easier to install solar panels on homes, and net metering laws, which would allow residents to sell excess solar energy that goes back into the electric grid.
Clean energy is catching up to natural gas by David Roberts, Vox
Around 2015, though, just five years into gas’s rise to power, complications for this narrative began to appear. First, wind and solar costs fell so far, so fast that they are now undercutting the cost of new gas in a growing number of regions. And then batteries — which can “firm up” variable renewables, diminishing the need for natural gas’s flexibility — also started getting cheap faster than anyone expected. It happened so fast that, in certain limited circumstances, solar+storage or wind+storage is already cheaper than new natural gas plants and able to play all the same roles (and more).
Midwest plant proposals face new hurdle — cheap alternatives by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News
Opposition to new fossil power plants from environmental and consumer groups isn’t new. What is changing, however, is the economics of alternatives. Wind and solar costs, aided by federal tax incentives, continue to fall since the IPL plant was approved four years ago; also, there’s a surplus of generating capacity on the grid, and electricity demand continues to erode or at least remain flat.
In Northeast, net metering in flux as states look to reform solar policy by Jan Ellen Spiegel, Energy News
As states in the Northeast reconsider net metering, a patchwork of new solar policies is emerging along with mixed predictions about their potential impact on solar development.
Home Energy Storage System Installations Hit Record High In US by Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica
US home energy storage systems installations hit a record high in the first quarter of 2018. 36 megawatt-hours of grid-connected home energy storage systems were installed during this period, which was the same amount for the first three quarters of the year. Nearly three quarters of the Q1 installations were in California and Hawaii.
Fossil Fuel Industries Outspend Clean Energy Advocates On Climate Lobbying By 10 To 1 by Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post
Energy Democracy News Across the States:
McCarthy Starts Construction On Alabama Solar Farm, Hiring 120 Workers by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Mag
APS spends big to keep clean-energy measure off ballot – but what was paid for isn’t clear by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Republic
Arizona Ballot Initiative Requires 50% Renewable Energy by 2030 by Kurt Lowder, CleanTechnica
Arizona regulators open first US transactive energy docket by Gavin Bade, Utility Dive
Utilities’ eyes on state’s solar-power surge; dispute arises on generators’ credit by Dan Holtmeyer, Arkansas Online
Distributed solar saved California over $650 million from 2013-2015 by John Weaver, PV Magazine
Rooftop solar could save utilities $100 to $120 per installed kilowatt by Megan Geuss, Ars Technica
California Succeeds in Cutting Emissions to 1990 Levels by Nick Cahill, Courthouse News Service
California regulators approve 2nd SoCal Ed pilot to test DER over gas by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Energy Storage Projects to Replace Three Natural Gas Power Plants in California by David C Wagman, Spectrum
Riverside County Supervisors give some residents reason to go solar. IID should cooperate by The Desert Sun Editorial Board, Desert Sun
US Government Backs Decentralized Energy Grid With $1 Million Grant by Wolfie Zhao, Coin Desk
Hawaii Governor’s Race: Clear Differences On Energy Policy by Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat
Energy Innovation – Breaking PV News by Khon 2 News
Hawaii opens microgrid tariff proceeding to spur customer adoption by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Massachusetts lawmakers in final sprint to pass bills by Steve LeBlanc and Bob Salsberg, Associated Press
Hundreds protest energy legislation on Beacon Hill by Richie Davis, Greenfield Recorder
Massachusetts House approves study of mobile storage as grid resilience tool by Lulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive
Climate activist groups blast Mass. House energy bill for ‘paltry’ renewable standard by Mary C. Serreze, Mass Live
House counters Senate energy bill with 4 proposals by Katie Lannan, State House News Service
Pacheco: ‘No excuse’ for House not to act on energy bill by Katie Lannan, State House News Service
Advocates call Michigan utility’s net metering replacement ‘outrageous’ by Andy Balaskovitz, Energy News Network
DTE seeks to increase fixed charges on solar customers in rate case by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine
El-Sayed wants tougher environmental policies, more money for enforcement by Kathryn Condon, Michigan Radio
Solar for Your Home: Worth Reconsidering in Nevada? By Ktvn, 2News
New Hampshire Governor’s Veto Helps Majority of Ratepayers by Grant Kidwell, Kevin Kim, American Legislative Exchange Council
In recognition of NH’s energy committees by Henry Herndon, New Hampshire Business Review
Soak up the sun: Solar farms poised to proliferate in New York state by Meaghan M. McDermott and Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
NYC’s Biggest Solar Project Comes To Life: A ‘Pinnacle For Solar’ In New York by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Mag
Another Voice: Solar energy helps turn abandoned building into community asset by Rahwa Ghirmatzion, The Buffalo News
New York Continues Its Goal To Reduce GHG Emissions With New EV Charging Stations by Carolyn Fortuna, Cleantechnica
Joint venture sells off 75MW New York community solar portfolio by John Parnell, PV Tech
New York Expands Community Solar Opportunities For Low-Income Households by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Mag
Oregon electric utility regulation under a microscope by Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal
Pennsylvania draft plan calls for 11 GW in-state solar by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Gov demands new Puerto Rico power utility CEO $750,000 salary reduced by Eva Lloréns Vélez, Caribbean Business
This Hurricane Season, Puerto Ricans Are Imagining a Sustainable Future by Celia Bottger, The Nation
South Carolina Solar Companies Seek Compromise Deal as Net Metering Caps Hit by Julia Pyper, Green Tech Media
Duke region hits South Carolina net metering cap by Lulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive
SC customers face higher solar costs following Legislature’s support for big energy by Sammy Fretwell, The State
Vermont utility says program saved $500K during heat wave by David Brooks, Concord Monitor
Rep. Welch looks to expand subsidies for electric vehicles as ‘green’ claims fade Michael Bielawski, True North Reports
Public utility commission to study why Vermont drivers are slow to go electric by Elizabeth Gribkoff, VTDigger.org
Landfill solar array: Sun’s out, power’s on by Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer
Washington state sets high bar for electric vehicles by Daniel J. Graeber, UPI
Solar Plan Collides With Farm Tradition in Pacific Northwest by Kirk Johnson, NYTimes
Renewable energy criticized in Wyoming governor’s race by Mead Gruver, AP
Nationwide Energy Democracy News:
No Longer a Novelty, Clean Energy Technologies Boom All Across the US by Julia Pyper, Clean Tech Media
A new report and interactive map released this week by Environment America takes stock of U.S. clean energy progress to date. It finds that leadership is no longer concentrated in select parts of the country, but that it is distributed across states with varying economic and democratic makeups.
In a rush to modernize the grid, utilities are finding new ways to innovate by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
“For the first time in probably forever, utilities have to start taking risks in developing new business models, and they have to be prepared to fail,” Navigant Principal Research Analyst Stuart Ravens told Utility Dive. “And then to move on and learn from those failures.
How Utilities Can Align 20-Year Resource Plans With Distributed Solar, EVs and More by GTM Creative Strategies, Green Tech Media
Electric infrastructure – US could create green jobs and clean up the climate with EVs, electric high-speed rail by Meteor Blades, Red Green and Blue
This week the National Renewable Energy Lab issued a report on the factors that will affect the country’s electricity demand through 2050,” writes Dan Gearino. “Most of the major categories of electricity consumption are projected to have modest but steady growth. Then there is transportation, the ultimate wild card. The report shows that EVs would become 11 percent of the vehicle fleet under a base scenario, and range all the way to 84 percent of the fleet under a high-adoption scenario.
National 3iAward Winners Announced by IREC at Intersolar North America by Solar Novus Today
New investor-backed campaign targets a trillion dollars for US renewables by Herman Trabish, Utility Dive
Globally, $5.9 trillion has gone into the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors since 2007, according to Ethical Markets’ Green Transition Scoreboard. Additional global investment in renewables alone could reach $11.5 trillion through 2050, according to the 2018 Bloomberg New Energy Finance Outlook. The 2017 global investment was $333.5 billion. U.S. investment in 2017 was $57 billion.
A Snapshot of the US Market for Smart Solar Inverters by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media
Financing commercial energy storage: Wall Street’s not biting, yet by Philippe Hartley, Solar Power World
Dems need ‘big tent’ energy policies that appeal to American heartland by Paul Bledsoe, The Hill
A white paper released this week from New Democracy, a group of 40 centrist Democratic governors, members of Congress and state officials, argues that Democrats in purple and red regions must embrace all forms of clean energy, including shale gas and nuclear, and emphasize that they alone can deliver U.S. energy abundance and climate protection together, to win back majorities.
Every State in New England is Reconsidering Their Subsidies to Solar Power by Jason Hopkins, The Daily Caller
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!