Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of February 15, 2016

Date: 17 Feb 2016 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This week in Democratic Energy:

Low-income residents of Colorado county get solar.

Hawaii island of Kauai hit renewable energy milestone.

The growing likelihood of consumerization of energy.


Featured Stories:

Bringing solar to low-income residents in La Plata County by Jonathan Romeo, Durango Herald

To lease or to own: simplified solar calculator by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

How does your state rate for clean energy? by PV Solar Report

Clean Power Plan: 50 ways to get more clean, local energy by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Six months ago, the Obama administration released the Clean Power Plan, requiring substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the electricity sector. The Plan sets targets from the top down, but largely leaves the details to states, providing a significant opportunity to craft rules that encourage energy development and ownership from the bottom up.


The consumerization of energy is just beginning by Bennett Cohen, GreenTech Media

What intrigued us most was that the Powerwall is clearly conceived as a consumer product. While its sleek design and hyped launch felt totally natural to those accustomed to following Apple, it served as a wakeup call to the energy industry: energy is being consumerized.

Energy Democracy News in the States:


Solar rooftops can save Californian grid & residents $1.4 billion annually by Joshua J. Hill, CleanTechnica

California solar industry job growth reaches record levels by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times



Bringing solar to low-income residents in La Plata County by Jonathan Romeo, Durango Herald



Altman tries to expand solar energy amid opposition from utilities, Consumers for Smart Solar by Isadora Rangel, TC Palm



Hawaiian Electric has 77,000 installed solar PV systems across Hawaii by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business Journal

Kauai hits renewable energy milestone by Chris Tanaka, Hawaii News Now

Hawaii bill demands NextEra prove consumer benefit for $4.3B Hawaiian Electric merger by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Many critics worry NextEra will rely heavily on utility-scale renewables to meet the state’s 100% renewable energy mandate by 2045, rather than supporting distributed generation that has become popular with residents looking for relief from the nation’s highest power prices. Recent numbers from U.S. Energy Information Administration show 89% of Hawaii’s solar is distributed generation.

Adding fuel to the debate, a recent Civil Beat poll showed more than half of Hawaii residents scattered across all demographics want the PUC to reject the deal, with two-thirds believing rates will actually rise in 10 years despite assurances to the contrary.



Solar Urbana-Champaign nearing goal of solar power installations by WAND-TV



Solar net metering challenge in Maine by Glenn Meyers, CleanTechnica



The state of solar in Melrose and beyond by Aaron Leibowitz, Wicked Local Melrose

Pols turn down the dimmer on solar by Brian Kopperl and Robert M. Knowles, Worcester Telegram

Gov. Baker unveils $15M solar, renewable energy plan by Todd Feathers, Lowell Sun

Northhampton City Council urges state legislators to eliminate solar net metering cap by Stephanie McFeeters, Northhampton Gazette

Mass. has more solar jobs than any other state except Calif. by Jon Chesto, The Boston Globe



What about donating solar power to Michigan non-profits? by David Strenski, Michigan Public Radio

Performance standards can rein in electricity costs for 2016 ratepayers by Larry Ward, Bridge Michigan

Advances in technology have dramatically changed the market for renewables. A recent report by Lazard found that renewable energy, for the first time, is now cheaper than natural gas. What’s even better is that utilities are able to lock in 20- to 30-year contracts for affordable renewable energy, a price guarantee that’s simply unheard of when it comes to natural gas. We need the legislature to intervene because utilities don’t get the same guaranteed profits on renewable energy that they do when they build big, expensive power plants. Requiring them to purchase more low-cost renewable energy will mean finally putting ratepayers first.

As lawmakers rewrite Michigan’s energy policy this year, they must seize this opportunity to bring down costs for families and businesses by setting performance standards and holding utilities accountable.

Michigan corporations seek to break down obstacles to renewable energy by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News



Minnesota’s solar workforce expected to grow by 20 percent by WCCO-TV

Minnesota vows to move ahead with clean power by Jim Spencer, Minneapolis Star Tribune



Push made to prohibit utilities from retroactively penalizing solar customers by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

Initiative proposes breaking up NV Energy monopoly by Sandra Chereb, Las Vegas Review Journal

The initiative states that any business, resident or entity “has the right to choose the provider of its electric utility service,” whether that be from a competitive retail electric market or by producing electricity for themselves or with others.

Will Nevada net metering vote cripple solar financing? by Allison Gatlin, Investor’s Business Daily

Rooftop solar employees make show of support for referendum by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

Regulators hear arguments on grandfathering solar users by The Washington Times

Rooftop solar fight not losing energy by Heidi Kyser, KNPR


New York

NYC mayor wants to boost solar capacity five-fold by Jonathan Lemire, Albany Democrat-Herald

Driven by power outages and savings, towns look to microgrid by George M. Walsh, Associated Press

(Em)powering communities through energy democracy by the New School News


North Carolina

Charlotte-Mechlenburg schools & Durham public schools would conserve millions with solar by Cynthia Shahan, CleanTechnica



County considers solar energy project by William Kincaid, The Daily Standard



How Austin Energy is looking to manage solar-plus-storage on its grid by Peter Maloney, Utility Dive



Vermont experiences solar jobs boom by Mike Polhamus, Vermont Reformer



Virginia lawmakers mull slew of clean energy, storage bills by Robert Walton, Utility Dive


Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

The Supreme Court’s decision on demand response is more complicated than you think by Varun Sivaram, GreenTech Media

What’s more, initiatives like Reforming the Energy Vision in New York or Distribution Resource Plans in California aim to create localized, distribution-level markets for energy services — including energy, capacity, ancillary services and more. These markets would enable an efficient, decentralized power system that could partially replace today’s centralized grid.

Such a system could avoid massive infrastructure build-outs to provide power more cheaply, improve reliability by spreading out the network, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by integrating cleaner sources of electricity. But these distribution-level markets may very well meet the court’s two-part test in FERC of directly affecting wholesale rates and indirectly affecting retail rates, triggering federal jurisdiction over state initiatives.

More utility microgrids and other predictions for utilities in 2016 by Microgrid Knowledge

By fighting rooftop solar, utilities are setting themselves up for worse to come by David Roberts, Vox

King-Reid amendment would protect against retroactive solar net metering changes by Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

The consumerization of energy is just beginning by Bennett Cohen, GreenTech Media

What intrigued us most was that the Powerwall is clearly conceived as a consumer product. While its sleek design and hyped launch felt totally natural to those accustomed to following Apple, it served as a wakeup call to the energy industry: energy is being consumerized.

Calculator finds efficiency can meet much of Midwest states’ Clean Power Plan targets by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Citizen wind power for a global energy transition? by Gero Reuter & Ruby Russell, Deutsche Welle

How smart cities are accelerating the energy transition by Eric Woods, Environmental Leader

GTM research: 20 US states at grid parity for residential solar by Mike Munsell, GreenTech Media

Why the “duck curve” created by solar power is a problem for utilities by David Roberts, Vox

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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.