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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of July 25, 2016

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jul 25, 2016 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-july-25-2016/
Energy Democracy Media Roundup

This week in Energy Democracy news:

Hawaii’s energy regulators reject the proposed merger with electric monopoly, NextEra Energy; community solar continues to spread throughout Colorado, and Minnesota decides to use the value of solar determination for community solar projects.

Featured Stories

Clean Coalition’s community microgrids – Episode 29 of Local Energy Rules podcast by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Community solar makes Colorado part of the clean energy revolution by Jonathan Postal, Denver Business Journal

Utilities ignore millennials at their peril by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

More than half of millennials are likely to sign up for solar panels in the next five years, compared to 18 percent of baby boomers, according to new data from Accenture.

Microgrids & regulation with Chris Villarreal – Episode 30 of Local Energy Rules podcast by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Hawaii commission says no to major electric utility merger by Cathy Bussewitz, Seattle Times

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals.

The regulatory body announced Friday that it voted 2-0 to reject the merger. One commissioner, recently appointed by Gov. David Ige, abstained.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Energy Democracy News in the States

Arizona

Protect the right to go solar against bad utility rate hike proposals by Kris Mayes, Verde News

 

California

Renewable energy programs helping distressed areas of California with quality jobs, study says by Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

Between 2002 and 2015, a major expansion of the renewable energy industry created 25,500 blue-collar job-years — some 53 million hours of construction work, according to the study by the Don Vial Center on the Green Economy at UC Berkeley.

Massive solar farms drive California to record in solar generation by Mark Anderson, Sacramento Bee

Solar electric power production in California hit eight gigawatts earlier this week, a new record high — and double the electrical production in California just two years ago.

 

Colorado

Community solar makes Colorado part of the clean energy revolution by Jonathan Postal, Denver Business Journal

 

Florida

First of two solar referendums this year: This one offers tax break by Susan Salisbury, My Palm Beach Post

 

Hawaii

Hawaii commission says no to major electric utility merger by Cathy Bussewitz, Seattle Times

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals.

The regulatory body announced Friday that it voted 2-0 to reject the merger. One commissioner, recently appointed by Gov. David Ige, abstained.

Breaking: NextEra’s $4.3 billion HECO acquisition rejected by Hawaii’s PUC in 2-0 vote by Eric Wesoff, GreenTech Media

NextEra opponents take victory lap, ponder Hawaii’s energy future by Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat

Regardless of whether another potential buyer of Hawaiian Electric emerges, the coalition wants to make sure that development of a smart grid and distributed energy generation remain priorities for the utility.

A smart grid is a digital electrical network that measures energy use and efficiency. Distributed energy refers to storing power closer to service areas (with the help of a smart grid) rather than having to transmit it over long distances.

 

Illinois

Solar Bloomington-Normal installs first panels by Derek Beigh, Pantagraph

 

Iowa

Iowa regulators open door to more net metering by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Iowa Utilities Board updates net-metering policy to promote renewable energy by Jessica Limardo, Daily Energy Insider

The order was established in an effort to encourage customers to use renewable energy. The order says that the net metering cap will be increased from 500 kilowatts to 1 megawatt, and may cover up to 100 percent of a customer’s load. All customer classes will also now be able to net meter, but customer generation will only offset energy charges, not customer or demand charges.

 

Maine

Maine PUC could decide fate of solar in Maine by Andy O’Brien, Maine Free Press

Report: As solar explodes nationwide, Maine lags by James McCarthy, MaineBiz

 

Massachusetts

Haverhill eyes new solar projects by Peter Francis, Eagle Tribune

Palmer and Holyoke honored for 100% renewable energy commitment by Mary Sezzere, MassLive

The percentage of the carbon-neutral power mix provided by HG&E, Holyoke’s municipal utility, is now nearly 85 percent, Smith said. Simultaneously, the city has reduced municipal energy consumption by 21 percent over five years. He said the city’s long-term plan is to achieve 100 percent carbon-neutral power generation.

The town of Palmer has also committed to a 100 percent renewable energy goal on the municipal side, said Linda Leduc, the town’s director of planning and economic development. Palmer instituted a large-scale solar zoning ordinance and has since permitted 25 megawatts in 10 projects.

 

Minnesota

‘Value of solar’ gains another foothold in Minnesota by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota became the first state in the nation Thursday to adopt a “value of solar” approach for determining how community solar customers will be paid for the power the projects produce. The state’s Public Utilities Commission agreed to use the value of solar methodology – currently voluntary for utilities – as part of a ruling on changes proposed to the state’s community solar garden program.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota first state in US to adopt ‘value of solar’ approach for community solar by Danielle Ola, PV-Tech

 

Missouri

Missouri to be second state with residential PACE later this summer by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

Nevada

3 new petitions approved for Nov. 8 ballot in Nevada by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

Nevada clears net metering, retail choice measures for November ballot by Peter Maloney, UtilityDive

Utility proposals harm consumers and the environment by Andy Delattre, Las Vegas Review Journal

Utilities recognize that people overwhelmingly support clean energy and want fair credit for the value that rooftop solar provides the grid and the community. So they spin their anti-solar policies as pro-clean energy and pro-consumer. They’ve even gone so far as to create fake solar front groups to counteract the uniform opposition to their proposals from solar companies and rooftop solar owners.

 

New Mexico

SFPS makes progress toward energy independence by Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican

 

New York

DER providers push for most cost data as New York utilities issue distribution plans under REV by Robert Walton, UtilityDive

New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding seeks to modernize power systems and business models, converting regulated utilities into distribution system platform providers and removing barriers to third party capital deployment. So far utilities have begun proposing demonstration projects and the Public Service Commission has approved reforms utility revenue models, opening new avenues for profit generation while preserving the traditional cost-of-service model as an option.

 

Oklahoma

PSO drops distributed generation case by Paul Monies, News OK

 

Utah

Residential solar boom in Utah raises concerns over incentives by Peter Maloney, UtilityDive

 

Texas

El Paso Electric agrees to kill solar fee for customers by Naveena Sadasivam, Texas Observer

 

Wisconsin

FOX 11 investigates wasted renewable energy costs by Mark Leland, FOX-11 Online

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News

Utilities in a prosumer world by Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, The Energy Times

Energy storage would get U.S. tax credits in bipartisan bill by Chris Martin, Bloomberg Politics

How the grid was won: Three scenarios for the distributed grid in 2030 by Shayle Kahn, GreenTech Media

Red state, green state by Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media

Recent policy fights have pitted right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. These organizations may hold the upper hand for now, but the growth of renewable energy could shift the balance of power.

Democratizing DERs: What role should utilities play in spreading clean energy to all? by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

Creative financing solutions, like solar leasing models, have helped cut upfront costs for rooftop solar and opened the market to a wider audience. Those models are increasingly applied to home batteries and other DERs, but the financing relies on consumer credit scores, and providers have an incentive to target wealthier consumers.

As distributed resources of all types become more commonplace, a key question facing the sector is how to ensure that all customers have access to them and their benefits.

Energy storage to boost US solar jobs by Energy Matters

Utilities ignore millennials at their peril by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

RIP FITs: As US feed-in tariffs fade, adopting elements could spur solar growth by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

At convention, some Republicans seek a path forward on clean energy by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

5 surprising states where commercial energy storage works today by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

Report: Solar under attack the hardest where it has flourished the most by Bret Fanshaw, Environment America

Coalition advocates for solar amid utility ratemaking plans by Solar Industry Magazine