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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of April 17, 2017

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Apr 18, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/energy-democracy-media-roundup-week-of-april-17-2017/

This week in Energy Democracy news:

Farmers are getting in on the solar energy craze, Alabama lags the rest of the states in the Southeast on solar, and Minnesota moves forward in their role as a clean energy leader in the country.

Featured Stories:

San Diego sets vision, vets options for 100% renewables by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Want solar panels, but can’t afford them? Cook County’s working to set up co-ops by Cheryl V. Jackson, Chicago Tribune

In Maryland, community solar pioneers offer blueprint by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms by Scott Thill, GreenBiz

Out of America’s top 10 farm states, North Carolina (surprisingly) and California (unsurprisingly) have managed to install America’s largest solar capacity, with 2,866 megawatts and 10,577 megawatts, respectively. They are certainly not alone.

“Iowa and North Carolina have been particularly compelling stories,” said Karlee Weinmann, a researcher at the Institute For Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). “They have had a focused effort on solar, in terms of feeding their states’ clean energy economies, as well as responding to farmers and others in the agricultural industry who express interest in renewable generation.”

Reviewing two years of a novel city-utility partnership by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Why Alabama still lags the rest of the Southeast on solar by Lyndsey Galpin, Southeast Energy News

Every state except Tennessee and Alabama has some sort of net metering or distributed generation policy, and recent changes in solar policies in South Carolina have allowed for more solar generation. Solar jobs are growing in the Southeast, too: Georgia now has 4,000, Kentucky has just over 1,000, and Mississippi has nearly 900.

But Alabama – despite having nearly 200 sunny days per year – still hasn’t taken advantage of its solar potential. Alabama has no renewable energy standards and no net metering or other distributed generation policies; its laws on third-party ownership of solar are vague; and its largest utility company, Alabama Power, imposes high fees and taxes on residential solar.

Sustainable: Energy partnership targets public housing by Frank Jossi, Finance & Commerce

Solar expert John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance was an early advocate pushing Minneapolis to consider municipalizing its energy system. A member of the partnership’s Energy Vision Advisory Committee, he believes the next two years will be “determinative” in whether the partnership is working.

The partnership is “a powerful example of localizing energy decision making,” Farrell said. “Even if the outcomes aren’t yet what we like, the fact we get to have the conversation at city hall and we’re engaged in our community is a very powerful thing.”

Q&A: Minnesota’s lieutenant governor champions clean energy by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

 

Energy Democracy News in the States:

Alabama

Why Alabama still lags the rest of the Southeast on solar by Lyndsey Galpin, Southeast Energy News

Every state except Tennessee and Alabama has some sort of net metering or distributed generation policy, and recent changes in solar policies in South Carolina have allowed for more solar generation. Solar jobs are growing in the Southeast, too: Georgia now has 4,000, Kentucky has just over 1,000, and Mississippi has nearly 900.

But Alabama – despite having nearly 200 sunny days per year – still hasn’t taken advantage of its solar potential. Alabama has no renewable energy standards and no net metering or other distributed generation policies; its laws on third-party ownership of solar are vague; and its largest utility company, Alabama Power, imposes high fees and taxes on residential solar.

 

California

Renewables shatter records as coal production drops to 1978 levels by Joe Romm, ThinkProgress

California is getting so much power from solar that wholesale electricity prices are turning negative by Cassie Werber, Quartz Magazine

 

Colorado

Mull Xcel’s partnership offer carefully, Boulder by John Farrell, Boulder Daily Camera

I’m no stranger to the struggle with Xcel for cleaner energy. At the invitation of local advocates, I came to Boulder in 2011 to explore the economic potential of accelerating clean, local energy development. I found it so inspiring that upon my return to Minneapolis, I worked with many others to form Minneapolis Energy Options, a 2013 campaign that, by putting municipalization on the table, drove the adoption of the first city-utility clean energy partnership in the country. The Minneapolis partnership is the model for the proposed one in Boulder, I expect, and as a first-mover in the political fight behind the one in Minneapolis, and as a member of the 15-citizen advisory committee, I have a few words of advice.

First, be skeptical.

 

Hawaii

Honolulu ranks top in the nation for solar energy installations by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business Journal

 

Illinois

Want solar panels, but can’t afford them? Cook County’s working to set up co-ops by Cheryl V. Jackson, Chicago Tribune

900 Chicago government buildings to switch to renewable energy by CBS Chicago News Staff

Chicago vehicle charging infrastructure boosted by VW settlement by Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune

A surge in electric vehicle charging is coming to Chicago thanks to the record settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Chicago ranks third (behind New York City and Washington, D.C.) in an 11-city pool that will split $1.2 billion of VW money over the next 10 years. The funds will be used to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure and educate the public on the benefits of electric vehicles.

Warming up to solar energy in Chicago, Cook County by Howard A. Learner, Chicago Sun Times

 

Indiana

Indiana House committee advances bill to roll back solar net metering by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Indiana House passes bill to cut solar panel incentives by Associated Press, Northwest Indiana Times

Legislature approves bill curtailing solar panel incentives by The Associated Press

Net metering bill moves to governor’s desk for final approval by Nick Janzen, WFYI-FM

 

Iowa

Latest Alliant DG pilot would diminish, not expand, solar in Iowa, advocates say by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

For this family, solar makes environmental – and financial – sense by Jane Satucci, The Tribune Star

 

Maryland

Maryland passes first-of-a-kind tax credit for residential and commercial storage by Julian Spector, GreenTech Media

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts expected to add 400 MW in community solar by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

 

Minnesota

Sustainable: Energy partnership targets public housing by Frank Jossi, Finance & Commerce

Solar expert John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance was an early advocate pushing Minneapolis to consider municipalizing its energy system. A member of the partnership’s Energy Vision Advisory Committee, he believes the next two years will be “determinative” in whether the partnership is working.

The partnership is “a powerful example of localizing energy decision making,” Farrell said. “Even if the outcomes aren’t yet what we like, the fact we get to have the conversation at city hall and we’re engaged in our community is a very powerful thing.”

Solar catches on as juice for brewers by Neal St. Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Q&A: Minnesota’s lieutenant governor champions clean energy by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

 

Missouri

As solar jobs rise in Missouri, clean energy advocates press for better state policies by Eli Chen, KRCU-FM

The Solar Foundation reported that Missouri added more than 500 jobs in the industry in 2016, a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Most of the jobs are based in the St. Louis area, followed by Jackson, Texas and Greene counties. Clean energy advocates attribute this growth to plummeting costs of solar to consumers and rising public awareness.

“People are seeing solar on their schools, their churches and on their neighbors’ homes,” said Erin Noble, staff director at St. Louis-based company Straight Up Solar. “It’s been a really interesting few years in the solar industry and growth is going to continue to skyrocket.”

Missouri solar industry hopes to stop fixed fee bill in Senate by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Missouri advocates think they may stop anti-solar bill in state Senate by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

Montana

Bullock vetoes federal mandate bill, net metering bill by Bobby Caina Calvan, The Missoulian

 

Nevada

Bring back my solar job, lawmakers by Connie Berry, Las Vegas Sun

 

New Mexico 

Albuquerque city buildings getting $25M in solar panels by ABC 25 – Crossroads Today

 

Ohio

Ohio House passes bill to repeal renewable energy mandate by Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

Automakers worried federal tax credits may end for plug-ins by Dan Gearino, The Columbus Dispatch

 

Oregon

Portland, Multnomah County commit to all renewables by 2050 by Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal

Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 by Anmar Frangoul, CNBC

 

Wisconsin

Vernon County solar farm to supply energy to hundreds of homes by Jennifer McBride, Lacrosse Tribune

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

The top 5 states for utility grid modernization and business model reform by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

Report: Public electric car chargers are being crushed by demand charges by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenTech Media

A future where electric-car owners can charge up in minutes using public fast-charging stations at malls and grocery stores around the U.S. is in jeopardy, due to the high demand charges slapped onto bills by utilities.

That’s according to a new report published Thursday by the nonprofit research group the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The report examined the charging and billing data from 230 public fast-charging stations operated by EVgo, the largest public electric-car charging company in the U.S.

The Trump era of climate policy will bring a few huge surprises. Let’s try to predict them by Brad Plumer, Vox

A beginner’s guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy by David Roberts, Vox

Here are the top 20 U.S. cities for solar power by Nicole Galluci, Mashable

Solar Energy Association calls for modernizing the electrical grid by Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica

New bill could kill PACE financing if approved, industry warns by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenTech Media

Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms by Scott Thill, GreenBiz

Out of America’s top 10 farm states, North Carolina (surprisingly) and California (unsurprisingly) have managed to install America’s largest solar capacity, with 2,866 megawatts and 10,577 megawatts, respectively. They are certainly not alone.

“Iowa and North Carolina have been particularly compelling stories,” said Karlee Weinmann, a researcher at the Institute For Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). “They have had a focused effort on solar, in terms of feeding their states’ clean energy economies, as well as responding to farmers and others in the agricultural industry who express interest in renewable generation.”

Midwest states seek to cut time, costs for solar connections by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

How utilities can harness electric vehicles as flexible loads by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

 

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.