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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of June 27, 2016

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 28, 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-june-27-2016/
Democratic Energy Media Roundup (1)

This week in Energy Democracy news:

Regulators in Minnesota say that a nearly 10% rate hike is unjustifiable, a new Vermont energy-siting bill has been signed into law, and advocates at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair say that utility monopoly future could be dimmed.

Featured Stories

Energy-siting bill signed into law by Times-Argus

Pursuing grid modernization in a monopoly model by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Advocates say solar power may dim the future of utility monopolies by Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

9.8% rate hike for Xcel isn’t justified, regulators say by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Commerce Department is requesting that the proposed $195 million increase for 2016 be reduced to $44 million. “The Commerce Department analysis finds that Xcel’s rate increase proposal overstates the company’s costs and understates its revenue while seeking higher profits than is justified in the current market,” the department said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

Don’t take the bait: Exelon’s ambitions go beyond DC’s power – Episode 28 of Local Energy Rules Podcast by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Energy Democracy News in the States

Arizona

Net metering talks break down in Arizona by Robert Walton, UtilityDive

 

California

California local renewables are getting robbed, but CAISO can help by Craig Lewis, UtilityDive

Local renewables like rooftop solar generate energy for use on the distribution grid. The market distortion resulting from local generation being assessed transmission fees means that local renewables are being robbed of approximately $0.03/kWh of value, which is equivalent to more than 30% of the average wholesale cost of energy in California.

San Diego about to hit net metering cap by Rob Nicolewski, San Diego Union Tribune

What it really means to require solar panels on all new buildings by Julian Spector, GreenTech Media

The mandate doesn’t just stimulate additional solar installations. It instigates them when they’re easiest and cheapest: while the building is under construction. This saves the future occupant all the hassle of identifying an installer, negotiating prices, drawing up designs, arranging financing and overseeing the install. Those duties fall to the developers, who are professionally suited to handling such things. Then the expense of solar gets bundled in with the overall building purchase, so the owner can pay it off, over time, at the more favorable interest rates of the mortgage.

 

Colorado

Solar, business advocates overfill hearing rooms to comment on a potential Xcel rate change by Danika Worthington, Denver Post

Renewable energy advocates say a fixed charge will undercut the financial value of rooftop solar. Additionally, they point to a two-year process that concluded in August, when the PUC determined that the current system for solar users was fair and that additional charges weren’t needed.

Muni talks could move Xcel’s thinking by Ken Regelson, Boulder Daily Camera

 

Maine

Panelists: State needs law boosting solar energy by Madeline St. Amour, Central Maine

 

Michigan

Net metering changes could drive people off grid, Michigan researchers say by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

The declining price of solar and the area’s relatively high electric rates mean roughly 65 percent of single-family owner-occupied households in the U.P. could meet grid parity – when the cost of generating your own electricity is less than or equal to buying it from the grid – and afford the systems by 2020, according to the research.

 

Minnesota

Mankato signs up for solar power by Mark Fiscenich, Mankato Free Press

9.8% rate hike for Xcel isn’t justified, regulators say by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Commerce Department is requesting that the proposed $195 million increase for 2016 be reduced to $44 million. “The Commerce Department analysis finds that Xcel’s rate increase proposal overstates the company’s costs and understates its revenue while seeking higher profits than is justified in the current market,” the department said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

New rules for solar plants? by Chris Rogers, Winona Post

Alma, C-FC schools getting solar panels thanks to Dairyland Power by David Brommerich, Winona Daily News

 

Montana

Regulators suspend required rate for new solar projects by Susan Dunlap, Missoulian

 

Nevada

The end of renewable portfolio standards in Nevada? by Heidi Kyser, KNPR

Millions flowing into fight over Nevadan net metering ballot proposal by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

Solar coalition submits double the number of signatures needed to get referendum on ballot by Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review Journal

Solar net question awaits state supreme court ruling by Geoff Dornan, Record-Courier

 

New York

Communities bypass utilities to save money, push green power by Mary Esch, News & Observer

New York is the seventh state to allow community choice aggregation, which lets cities, towns and villages form energy-buying groups that automatically enroll all residents and small businesses.

Instead of buying electricity individually from a utility, consumers pay a fixed price for energy under a contract negotiated by the local buying group. Contract terms may require all or most of the energy to come from wind, solar, hydroelectric and other renewable sources. A contract may also specify reimbursing consumers for reducing energy use.

 

North Carolina

Carolinas industry group seeks to change up the utility business model by Peter Maloney, UtilityDive

The report says the way power is regulated, distributed and paid for is outmoded, using policies and practices created in the 20th Century as they struggled to keep up with demand. Now as new technologies and green energy proliferate, utilities need to shift to a more modern model, the report said.

 

Ohio

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down charges aimed at protecting Dayton utility’s profits by Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

Oberlin, Ohio ratepayers to receive $2.2M in rebates for sale of RECs by Cheryl Kaften, Energy Manager Today

 

Oregon

Oregon a ‘shining example’ to the world on clean energy by Andrea Durbin and Jeff Allen, OregonLive

 

Rhode Island

Parts of R.I.’s virtual net metering bill salvaged by Tim Faulkner, Eco Rhode Island News

Renewable energy gets a boost in Assembly session by Alex Kuffner, Providence Journal

 

Texas

Solar power plants are the future of Texas power. Every time. by Mike Jacobs, Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Vermont

Energy-siting bill signed into law by Times-Argus

 

Wisconsin

Madison announces programs to help residents invest in solar energy by Channel 3000, WISC-TV

Bulk buying solar power in Racine by Michael Burke, Racine Journal Times

Advocates say solar power may dim the future of utility monopolies by Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News

What is regulatory innovation? by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

Three steps to a solar-powered economy by Nick Hylla, Midwest Energy News

Energy transitions are usually slow. Here’s why the clean energy transition might be faster by David Roberts, Vox

Beyond rate reforms: Bundling strategies could resolve net metering battles by Herman K. Trabish, UtilityDive

A new bipartisan effort to introduce a 30% Tax Credit (just like Solar Power) for energy storage by John Fitzgerald Weaver, Electrek

Cooperative utilities win fight for more local renewables by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media