Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of January 22, 2018

Energy Democracy Media Roundup — Week of January 22, 2018

Date: 25 Jan 2018 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This week in Energy Democracy News:

California regulators rule that utility must use distributed renewables and energy storage to replace natural gas plants; in Colorado Xcel Energy receives intensely cheap bid for renewable energy to replace dirty energy capacity; and PACE financing allows Springfield, Mo. residents to make efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.

 

Featured Stories

PG&E Must Solicit Energy Storage and DERs to Replace 3 Existing Gas Plants by Julian Spector, Greentech Media

The California Public Utilities Commission ruled Thursday to authorize PG&E to procure energy storage or preferred resources (such as demand response or distributed solar) to ensure local reliability in areas previously served by the gas plants. The new resources can be individual or aggregated, and must be available by 2019 “if feasible and at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.”

This appears to be the first time a utility will procure energy storage to replace existing gas plants for local capacity needs. In Oxnard, a procurement process has begun to select storage instead of the proposed Puente gas plant. California deployed more than 100 megawatts of storage to shore up capacity after the loss of a major gas storage facility in the southern part of the state.

Minnesota Has The Best Community Solar Program — Here’s Why by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future by David Roberts, Vox

Minnesota Utility Takes Baby Steps Toward Broadening Community Solar Access by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

PACE advances clean energy economy to benefit Springfield homeowners by Caleb Arthur, Springfield News-Leader

Missouri is seeing a surge in clean energy initiatives, making our state a national leader in this field. One reason for this encouraging trend is the advent of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) over the past year. PACE creates jobs and boosts local businesses while helping homeowners save money.

PACE helps homeowners access upfront financing to make efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, and pay for it over the useful life of the products up to 20 years through a voluntary, additional line item on their property taxes. Cities and counties provide residents access to PACE financing by joining the statewide Missouri Clean Energy District. The approval process, rates and advanced consumer safeguards seen with this innovative type of financing bring energy upgrades within reach for most homeowners.

Iowa town’s municipal utility effort is financially feasible, consultant finds by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

A northeastern Iowa community could lower its electric bills by creating a municipal-owned utility, according to a feasibility study presented to its city council Tuesday.

Supporters of an effort to create a city-owned electric utility in Decorah, Iowa, got a boost this week from a consultant’s report that concludes the move is financially feasible.

Dumb & Dumber: Looking Beyond The Department Of Energy’s Flawed “Baseload” Study by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Zero Is The Hero: Zero Net Energy Buildings Reach New Communities, Promising Savings & Renewable Energy by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

 

Energy Democracy News Across the States

Alabama

In Alabama, You Could Pay the Utility $9,000 for Having Solar on Your Roof by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Among the 43 states plus Washington, D.C. that GTM Research tracks individually, it ranks 42. It has just 1 megawatt of residential systems installed. According to GTM Research solar analyst Austin Perea, it’s hardly “a blip on the radar.”

“In the realm of what’s happening in residential solar, I’d say what’s happening in Alabama may be the least important thing,” said Perea.

 

California

PG&E Must Solicit Energy Storage and DERs to Replace 3 Existing Gas Plants by Julian Spector, Greentech Media

The California Public Utilities Commission ruled Thursday to authorize PG&E to procure energy storage or preferred resources (such as demand response or distributed solar) to ensure local reliability in areas previously served by the gas plants. The new resources can be individual or aggregated, and must be available by 2019 “if feasible and at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.”

This appears to be the first time a utility will procure energy storage to replace existing gas plants for local capacity needs. In Oxnard, a procurement process has begun to select storage instead of the proposed Puente gas plant. California deployed more than 100 megawatts of storage to shore up capacity after the loss of a major gas storage facility in the southern part of the state.

PG&E Launches Country’s Largest Utility-Sponsored EV Charging Program by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

 

Colorado

In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future by David Roberts, Vox

Longmont businesses may benefit from electric vehicle charging stations by Sam Lounsberry, Longmont Times Call

 

Connecticut

Darien considering solar panels for three town buildings by Kevin Webb, Darien Times

Eversource agrees to reduce rate increase by Matthew Zabierek, My Record Journal

 

Hawaii

Hawaii solar installations see largest gain in 5 years, driven by rooftop solar by HJ Mai, Pacific Business Journal

 

Illinois

With plans for Sonic and solar power, mayor says 2018 looks to be ‘very bright’ for Benton by Isaac Smith, The Southern Illinoisian

Pickneyville recently made such an investment, and Kondritz applauded the effort, but said he wants more.

“We want to go a step farther,” he said. “Every city property that we own, we want to power this by solar.” He said this will help save taxpayers money in the long term.

Kondritz doesn’t want to stop there, though.

“We actually want to be very instrumental in solar powering the residential parts of the city of Benton,” he said.

 

Iowa

Johnson County embarking on Solarize program by Mitchell Schmidt, The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Iowa town’s municipal utility effort is financially feasible, consultant finds by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

A northeastern Iowa community could lower its electric bills by creating a municipal-owned utility, according to a feasibility study presented to its city council Tuesday.

Supporters of an effort to create a city-owned electric utility in Decorah, Iowa, got a boost this week from a consultant’s report that concludes the move is financially feasible.

 

Kansas

Kansans Invited to Comment on Proposed Utility Merger by KNSS Radio

 

Maine

Lawmakers have one more chance to fix nonsensical solar rules by Bangor Daily News Editorial Board

 

Maryland

City electric vehicle plan lays road map for more local charging stations by Samantha Hogan, Frederick News Post

 

Massachusetts

Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative Safeguards State Renewable Energy Incentive by Cape Cod Today Staff

Massachusetts stirs controversy with solar demand charge, TOU pricing cut by S&P Global Analysts, Platts

A recent Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ rate case order changes the way solar net metering works and eliminates optional residential time-of-use rates, stirring controversy between clean energy advocates and utility Eversource.

“There is a lot of room to talk about what net-energy metering should look like, but a demand charge is an unfair way to charge customers,” Mark LeBel, staff attorney at non-profit clean energy advocacy organization Acadia Center, said in a Tuesday phone call. Acadia Center is an intervenor in the rate case and opposed the changes.

State money helps Massachusetts towns improve energy efficiency by Gerry Tuoti, SouthCoast Today

Outer Cape Energize encourages use of solar panels by Mary Ann Bragg, Cape Code Times

Critics say Eversource’s new fee casts a shadow on solar power by Jon Chesto, Boston Globe

Northampton officials show support for local goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by Lucas Ropek, MassLive

 

Michigan

In Michigan, solar growth meets uncertainty with end of net metering by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

Ann Arbor’s electric-car charging stations seeing highest usage ever by Ryan Stanton, MLive

Nearly six years ago, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority installed the first 18 electric car charging stations for public use at six parking locations downtown.

Since then, five more have been added, and the 23 chargers have delivered enough juice to displace more than 1 million miles of gasoline-fueled travel, said Dave Konkle, the DDA’s energy consultant.

Konkle considers that a milestone worth noting ahead of this week’s Sustainable Ann Arbor forum on electric vehicles.

Solar Growth Could Stall as Michigan Looks to Change Net Metering Policies by Mona Shand, Michigan Public News Service

What’s the future of electric vehicles? By Arielle Hines, Petoskey News

Wolverine Power now more than 50 percent carbon-free by Karen Hopper, Cadillac News

Forum: Building a strong, equitable electric vehicle market in Michigan by Jim Macinnes, Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Minnesota

How Minnesota plans to cut state government energy use by 30 percent by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

The Democratic governor signed an executive order late last year directing state agencies to reduce fleet fossil fuel consumption, building energy use per square foot, and total greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent within the next decade. It follows a 2011 order that helped trim energy use at the State Capitol by 24 percent.

Minnesota is the only state in the Midwest (and one of just six nationally) with a perfect rating from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on state government-led initiatives. “The state government leads by example by setting energy requirements for public buildings, benchmarking energy use, and encouraging the use of energy savings performance contracts,” ACEEE’s most recent scorecard says.

Minnesota Senate building going solar this spring by Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio

 

Missouri

PACE advances clean energy economy to benefit Springfield homeowners by Caleb Arthur, Springfield News-Leader

Missouri is seeing a surge in clean energy initiatives, making our state a national leader in this field. One reason for this encouraging trend is the advent of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) over the past year. PACE creates jobs and boosts local businesses while helping homeowners save money.

PACE helps homeowners access upfront financing to make efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, and pay for it over the useful life of the products up to 20 years through a voluntary, additional line item on their property taxes. Cities and counties provide residents access to PACE financing by joining the statewide Missouri Clean Energy District. The approval process, rates and advanced consumer safeguards seen with this innovative type of financing bring energy upgrades within reach for most homeowners.

Clean energy could get boost from new utility commissioner in Missouri by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

Nevada

Green Solar Technologies – Nevada Brings Net-Metering To Solar Homes by Broadway World

 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire, Northeast states mull building Quebec-to-D.C., EV charging network by Liisa Rajala, New Hampshire Business Review

 

New Jersey

New Jersey passes bill to increase solar mandate by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

 

New Mexico

New Mexico offers solar customers more transparency by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

 

Ohio

Ohio utility AEP never notified public about rate-case hearings by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

After nearly a year and a half of deliberations with Ohio utility regulators, environmental groups, and customer advocates, American Electric Power appears to have agreement from most parties on the terms of its latest rate case.

There’s just one problem: The company forgot to invite the public.

The utility began working with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on a new rate case in September 2016. The case will set rates and rider fees through 2024 for the company’s nearly 1.5 million customers in the state.

When the time came for public hearings, the company was supposed to publish formal notices in local newspapers to let the public know about the meetings. It never did that.

Bowling Greenest city in Ohio by Paul Garbarino, Bowling Green Falcon Media

GOP voters support green energy, oppose coal, nuclear bailouts, statewide poll finds by John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Conservative Ohio voters, whether Independent or Republican, are tired of utilities asking for special charges for coal and nuclear power plants, support mandatory energy-efficiency programs, favor home solar systems and are willing to pay higher monthly bills for renewable energy.

These are findings in a poll commissioned by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum reveal grassroot attitudes are at odds with the speeches and actions of GOP legislative leaders during the past several years.

Regulators urged to reverse ‘net metering’ decision by Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

In Ohio, no signs of cooling or compromise in net-metering fight by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

Ohio conservatives could shift solar debate in a positive direction by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

 

Pennsylvania

Philly’s Electric Vehicle Task Force report: 5 key recommendations by Melissa Romero, Curbed – Philadelphia

 

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Energy Commission Lays Out Rules for a Future Microgrid Landscape by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

 

Texas

Commentary: How Austin is proving its dedication to clean energy by Luke Metzger, Austin Statesman

 

Utah

New electric vehicle charging stations installed to help create ‘clean air corridor’ by Ashley Imlay, Deseret News

 

Virginia

Solar Power Building Momentum in Virginia by James A. Bacon, Bacon’s Rebellion

 

Wisconsin

Gaming the system: Competition spurs energy savings in Wisconsin by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Sauk County Board gives final approval to much-debated solar deal by Tim Damos, Capital Newspapers – Madison

 

Wyoming

Commissioners join shared solar project by Allie Gross, Jackson Hole News & Guide

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News

In Trump era, local governments must lead charge for clean energy by John Heilman and Denise Simmons, The Hill

Some new, notable solar laws in the United States and abroad by Kyle Pennell, Solar Power World Online

Electric Resilience to Get FERC-level Attention. But Not the Way the Trump Administration Hoped by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

The commission rejected the energy secretary’s assertion that retirement of coal and nuclear plants threatens electric resilience. Instead FERC plans to look at broader challenges that may influence the reliable flow of energy in competitive wholesale markets, among them severe weather, physical and cyber attacks, accidents and fuel supply disruptions

FERC opened a new proceeding (Docket No. AD18-7-000) and ordered regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) to provide information about bulk power resilience within 60 days. After that, others will have 30 days to respond to the RTO/ISOs filings.

Rejection of subsidies for coal and nuclear power is a win for fact-based policymaking by Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, The Conversation

DOE pivots on NOPR, will ‘respect’ and ‘honor’ FERC order by Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

Predictions 2018: Energy storage growth shows no sign of slowing down by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

The 3 Best Electric-Vehicle Stories of 2017 by John Rosevear, Travis Hoium, and Daniel Miller, Motley Fool

Utah, Illinois rank among state-level solar stars, says IREC report by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

Energy Democracy: People Power for a Cleaner Planet [OPINION] by Denise Fairchild, Color Lines

Electricity from all forms of renewables will be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020 by Akshat Rathi, Quartz Magazine

The Case Against More Natural Gas Pipelines by Frederick Hewett, WBUR

Report: Connecticut, Minnesota follow California as top C-PACE states by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

While it’s no surprise to anyone that California is leading the country in funding commercial solar through a property-assessed clean energy program (C-PACE), the fact that Connecticut and Minnesota are Nos. 2 and 3 on the list may.

In a report released by PACENation, California still leads the nation in C-PACE financing over the past seven years, hitting nearly $200 million mark. Connecticut follows behind with $100 million in C-PACE financing, while Minnesota is third at $41 million. The District of Columbia and Texas round out the Top 5.

Commercial PACE is a program that allows businesses to install renewable energy, make energy efficiency upgrades or some combination of the two with no upfront costs. The costs are then collected by the community through property taxes assessed on the upgraded business.

IREC honors clean energy states by Kathie Zipp, Solar Power World Online

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Kelsey Henquinet
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Kelsey Henquinet was ILSR's Communications Assistant. She assisted the Communications Manager and managed ILSR’s social media networks.