Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of July 23, 2018

Date: 24 Jul 2018 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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

CPUC Reaffirms Commitment To Innovation And Clean Energy Transformation With Approval Of Edison’s Preferred Resources Pilot by CPUC

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



Solar news: LG plans a solar module factory in Alabama, new distributed generation in Florida doubles year over year by Energy Sage



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

Mass. Is Leader In Solar Power Progress: Environmental Study by News Desk

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



More jobs in Nevada’s advanced energy industry than in mining, nearly two times those in education by PV Magazine

Solar for Your Home: Worth Reconsidering in Nevada? By Ktvn, 2News


New Hampshire 

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


New York

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


Puerto Rico

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

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,

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.

Report: Distributed Energy Resources Mean Electric Grid is More Important Than Ever by T&D World

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

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