Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of April 25, 2016

Date: 27 Apr 2016 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This week in Energy Democracy:

The story of a Microgrid in Brooklyn, learning how ComEdison took aim at a solar power law in Chicago, and, finally, another week, another set of ballot initiatives on the solar energy debate.

Featured Stories:

Sharply higher rooftop solar potential increases potential for energy self-reliance by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

A Microgrid grows in Brooklyn by Morgen E. Peck, Scientific American

One of the biggest hurdles, according to both Grimley and Orsini, is the fact that every community has different needs and brings a different mix of assets to the equation. Brooklyn Microgrid, for example, chose a block in Park Slope because it boasts a high density of rooftop solar panels.

“Everything has to be driven by the needs of the community,” Grimley says. “And so, what this funding does is basically just bring in all these different community vendors and utilities all at the same table.”

Re-Member-ing the cooperative way: Part 2 – The Opportunities by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

How ComEd zapped a rule that aimed to boost solar power in the Windy City by Steve Daniels, Crain’s Chicago Business Journal

Arizona utilities back initiative to counter Solar City-supported ballot proposal by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive


Energy Democracy News in the States


Arizona solar ballot initiative launched by super PAC by Ryan Randazzo, AZ Central

Initiative aimed at killing new rooftop solar fees by Howard Fischer, Arizona Daily Sun

The initiative measure filed Friday by Kris Mayes would block regulated utilities like Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, UniSource Energy Services and a host of cooperatives from imposing “demand charges” on customers who generate their own power.

It also would preclude efforts to let utilities reduce the amount they credit customers who generate more energy than they use. Instead, companies would effectively “pay” customers the same charge per kilowatt hour as they would bill the customers.

Arizona voters could decide future of rooftop solar market by Will Stone, KJZZ

Arizona utilities back initiative to counter Solar City-supported ballot proposal by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive



City’s 100% green plan seeks overhaul in electricity buying by Anne C. Mulkern, E&E Publishing

This month, it will release the first outline on how it will roll out its effort. Backers include Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who said the aim is “ambitious” but “achievable.” Others say it’s impossible to accomplish in the time allotted. Supporters and critics alike acknowledge that the path forward will be arduous.

California passes bill to level residential solar playing field by Daniella Ola, PV-Tech

San Francisco will require new buildings to install solar panels by Michael J. Coren, Quartz Magazine



Solar garden backers may seek bill to improve accessibility by Aldo Svaldi, Denver Post



Microgrids coming online with help of state funding by Gregory B. Hladky, Hartford Courant



Consumers for Smart Solar spends nearly $268,000 in March by Mitch Perry, Florida Politics



How ComEd zapped a rule that aimed to boost solar power in the Windy City by Steve Daniels, Crain’s Chicago Business Journal



Cedar Rapids bus barn getting solar panels by B.A. Morelli, The Gazette

A 90 kilowatt solar array will be installed on the Cedar Rapids northwest transit bus garage, after Cedar Rapids City Council approved a contract on Tuesday. Eagle Point Energy-4, LLC, of Dubuque, will provide and own the solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the 30,216 square foot bus facility, 427 Eighth Street NW.



Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signs net metering bill by Shira Schoenberg, MassLive

The new law was the result of a compromise bill crafted during five months of negotiations between the House and the Senate. The final result is still only a short-term fix. It has drawn some concerns both from sides – the solar energy companies and the utility companies, who have been battling over this issue.

But lawmakers said the compromise bill was the only way to allow solar projects to continue being built in Massachusetts for at least another year while lawmakers and the administration continue to consider what incentives are necessary in the long term to keep the solar industry growing while not over-charging other electricity ratepayers.

Massachusetts raises cap on solar net metering by Jason W. Allen, Thomas McCann Mullooly, and Justus J. Britt, National Law Review

Harvard law School group pushes virtual power plants in Massachusetts by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge



State’s largest solar garden operational in West Michigan by Amanda Jarrett, WOOD-TV



Report faults Xcel’s handling of solar garden project by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

How Minnesota is approaching grid modernization as a vertically-integrated state by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive

PUC gets Minnesota Power solar project plan by John Myers, Duluth News Tribune



Central City solar garden receives Earth Day honor by Robert Pore, Grand Island Independent



Here’s how to restore Nevada’s place in the sun by Jeremy Susac, Las Vegas Sun

This isn’t about a cost shift; it’s about a paradigm shift. Solar is more than simply an alternative energy source; it’s a disruptive and potentially transformative technology providing significant societal benefits such as decreased dependence on foreign energy sources and an environmentally sustainable power supply that preserves the planet for future generations.

Things to know on a ballot measure to end NV Energy monopoly by Michelle Rindels, Reno Gazette Journal


New Hampshire

New Hampshire legislature doubles net metering cap to 100 MW by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive


New Mexico

New Mexico to hit solar tax credit limit this summer by The Associated Press


New York

NY utilities, solar companies propose transition away from retail net metering by Krysti Shallenberger, UtilityDive

New partnership proposes changing solar net metering compensation model by Allison Dunne, WAMC

A Microgrid grows in Brooklyn by Morgen E. Peck, Scientific American

Can N.Y. solar-electric deal recharge U.S. green-energy effort? by Bill Loveless, USA Today

“The solar industry and the utility industry can come up with solutions that work for everyone and that allow for a good transition, one that gets us to a large scale that actually helps the grid and at the same time helps the utility. It’s possible to do it.”

There’s no doubt that such a collaboration is more likely in New York, where state officials have called for sweeping reforms in the electric power sector, than in other states.

NYC mayor announces steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions by Karen Matthews, The Associated Press


North Carolina

North Carolina regulators reject solar third party ownership test case from green group by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive



FirstEnergy, AEP bailouts reward companies’ bad calls by Thomas Suddes,

Rally urges end to clean-energy standard freeze by Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

Why this impending bailout for Ohio coal plants is bad news for America by Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund



Oklahoma utility’s solar tariff plan turned down by The Associated Press



The mystery of wind energy in Texas by Kyle Downey, Law Street Media

Texas solar shoppers seeing lowest prices in the US by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

The average gross cost of a solar energy system was $3.21 per watt, significantly lower than the national average of $3.69 per watt, according to EnergySage’s second Solar Marketplace Intel Report . In the Southwest region, including Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, three-quarters of the quotes were below $3.50 per watt.

Despite the low cost of solar in the state, the nine-year payback period in Texas is still slightly higher than the national average of just over eight years, according to EnergySage.

Enchanted Rock goes solar powered, reduces energy use by 50% by Dave Byknish, KXAN

From peanuts to power by Caitlyn Jones, Denton Record-Chronicle

Solar energy war: Utilities set their sights on rooftop solar by Travis Hoium, My San Antonio


Washington D.C.

Cost of solar energy falls every time the sun rises by Audrey Hoffer, Washington Post


Nationwide Energy Democracy

IEEFA Data Bite: A deepening decline by Seth Feaster, Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis

The Santa Fe Strategy: How small cities can act on climate and inequality by Justin Talbot Zorn, Huffington Post

Rural electric cooperatives: 3 different approaches to reducing the cost of community-scale solar by Kevin Brehm and Thomas Koch Blank, Rocky Mountain Institute

In a previous blog post, we explained how rural electric cooperatives could become a multi-GW market for community-scale solar by 2020. Co-ops want solar to save money, diversify energy supply, meet renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements, and meet member needs. Yet in order for the co-op solar market to achieve its potential, co-ops need to better understand the value of community-scale solar and need to access compelling community-scale offerings.

Below we describe three rural electric cooperatives that are accessing compelling community-scale solar offerings. While each co-op has adopted a different approach, their collective experience shows that costs can be reduced through utility-supported development—when utilities proactively support aspects of the development process—and aggregation—when multiple community-scale projects are aggregated into a portfolio.

How cheap does solar power need to get before it takes over the world? by Brad Plumer, Vox

Community storage: A new way to cut grid 2.0 costs? by Mark Dyson, GreenBiz

SunEdison’s epic failure had little to do with clean energy by Katie Fehrenbacher, Fortune Magazine

But SunEdison’s downfall isn’t rooted in the failure of solar and wind. Instead the company’s tale of woe stems from overreaching ambition and core business decisions that led it to try to grow too big, too fast, and in too many directions. Companies in any industry—from drugs to mining to airlines—could, and have met, the same fate.

US Senate passes bill that supports grid-connected and hybrid microgrids by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

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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.