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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of March 20, 2017

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Mar 21, 2017 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-march-20-2017/

This week in Energy Democracy news:

We get a run-down on what Xcel Energy has been doing at the Minnesota state legislature and beyond, how rural Alaska can teach the mainland about renewable energy, and why solar energy on farms is an important new cash crop for farmers.

Featured Stories:

Is New York’s “compromise” the future for net metering? by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Xcel Energy bullies its opponents with its MNopoly on power by Mike Mullen, City Pages Minneapolis

The legislation was opposed by a rare coalition: environmentalist hippies, consumer advocates, big industrial companies that spend hundreds of millions on energy… and pastors. Dozens of faith leaders signed a letter calling the bill a “blank check,” noting that rate increases to fund the plant would “disproportionately hurt low income communities.”

That coalition had strength in numbers — just not inside the Capitol, where it counts. Xcel employs nearly 50 lobbyists. A bipartisan, mostly Republican House majority passed a version of the bill within a week of Xcel’s investor call. The Senate soon fell in line.

With the deal all but done, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance threw a Hail Mary. The nonprofit, which advocates for consumer and eco-friendly economics, produced a short, pithy video, in the hopes of convincing Gov. Mark Dayton to veto the bill.

Should energy storage share the tax credits for renewable energy? by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

What rural Alaska can teach the world about renewable energy by David W. Shaw, Ensia Magazine

Solar farming brings benefits – and concerns – to the land by Scott Thill, Civil Eats

Out of America’s top 10 farm states, North Carolina (surprisingly) and California (unsurprisingly) have managed to install America’s largest solar capacity, with 2,866 megawatts and 10,577 megawatts, respectively. They are certainly not alone.

“Iowa and North Carolina have been particularly compelling stories,” explained Karlee Weinmann, a researcher at the Institute For Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). “They have had a focused effort on solar, in terms of feeding their states’ clean energy economies, as well as responding to farmers and others in the agricultural industry who express interest in renewable generation.”

Energy Democracy News in the States:

Alaska

What rural Alaska can teach the world about renewable energy by David W. Shaw, Ensia Magazine

 

California

California’s energy future: The revolution (might) be distributed by Eric Wesoff, GreenTech Media

 

Hawaii

Hawaii foodbank to save $2.1M in energy costs with new solar energy system by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business Journal

 

Indiana

Solar bill draws heat by Dave Stafford, The Indiana Lawyer

Despite the changes, homeowners, school superintendents, church leaders, alternative-energy supporters and others lined up to plead unsuccessfully with senators not to slash future incentives. They said investments in solar systems are based on assurances the state will honor incentives like net metering that help pay for the systems.

School fights to keep solar power incentive by Elizabeth Pearl, The Lebanon Reporter

 

Kentucky

Solar advocates call proposal a bad deal for KY consumers by Karyn Czar, WMKY 90.3FM

Net metering for solar a benefit to all ratepayers, growing industry by Andy McDonald, The State Journal

 

Maine

Bills to expand solar incentives in Maine ready to launch by Tux Turkel, Portland Press Herald

 

Michigan

Work begins on MSU solar energy array project by WLNS 6 News

Construction is underway on a new solar array project that is more than a cost saving effort on campus. It true that the solar array panels could save the university $10 million over 25 years and help keep tuition in check because of the added energy savings.

But people who park in the five different lots across campus will have shade in the summer and less snow cover in the winter because of the solar panels.

Renewable energy standard is working by Larry Ward, Detroit News

 

Minnesota

As energy mix becomes cleaner, Minnesotans paying less for it by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

The investments in clean energy made by utilities does not seem to have an impact on energy prices, contradicting dire predictions made by some opponents of clean energy policy in the past. “What we can say looking at data is that we’ve been making significant investments nationally, and so has Minnesota, and it has been beneficial to consumers and businesses,” Jacobson said.

The report points to another continuing trend – the decoupling of energy consumption from a growing economy. Since 2007 the national economy has grown by 12 percent while energy demand has fallen by 3.6 percent, she said.

Study proves (again) that net metering can undervalue solar by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

St. Cloud turns to renewable energy to shrink utility bills by Kristi Marohn, Minnesota Public Radio News

Xcel Energy bullies its opponents with its MNopoly on power by Mike Mullen, City Pages Minneapolis

The legislation was opposed by a rare coalition: environmentalist hippies, consumer advocates, big industrial companies that spend hundreds of millions on energy… and pastors. Dozens of faith leaders signed a letter calling the bill a “blank check,” noting that rate increases to fund the plant would “disproportionately hurt low income communities.”

That coalition had strength in numbers — just not inside the Capitol, where it counts. Xcel employs nearly 50 lobbyists. A bipartisan, mostly Republican House majority passed a version of the bill within a week of Xcel’s investor call. The Senate soon fell in line.

With the deal all but done, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance threw a Hail Mary. The nonprofit, which advocates for consumer and eco-friendly economics, produced a short, pithy video, in the hopes of convincing Gov. Mark Dayton to veto the bill.

Minnesota legislators consider annual fee on electric vehicles by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

 

Nebraska

City council explores possibility of solar power, joining Nebraska Community Energy Alliance by Austin Koeller, The Grand Island Independent

 

New Mexico

House passes measure to reinstate solar tax credit by Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report

Tax credit has helped create a robust industry in New Mexico, report says by Christopher Ortiz, Albuquerque Business Journal

 

New York

New York issues DER valuation order under REV docket to transition from net metering by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Solar groups support New York’s first step toward distributed energy rates by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media

Solar experiment lets neighbors trade energy among themselves by Diane Cardwell, The New York Times

 

Ohio

Advocates say industrial lobbyists play outsized role in blocking Ohio clean energy by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

‘Outlier’ study on Ohio renewable standards is flawed, say critics by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

Study: Lack of competition to blame for Ohio electricity cost increases by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

With Ohio’s energy and energy efficiency standards again under attack, a new policy paper from Ohio State University attributes the lion’s share of electricity cost increases since 2008 to utilities and provisions that insulate them from full competition.

None of Ohio’s transmission and distribution utilities have moved to the Market Rate Offers envisioned when lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 3 in 1999, noted lead author Noah Dormady. Instead, the utilities continue to get rates based on Electric Security Plans, or ESPs.

 

South Carolina

Report: South Carolina residential solar installations boomed last year by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

 

Virginia

Virginia ‘community solar’ plan leaves out the ‘community,’ advocates say by Jim Pierobon, Southeast Energy News

 

Wisconsin

Madison finance committee recommends resolution aiming for total renewable energy use by Abigail Becker, The Cap Times

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

It’s official: More residential solar customers buy than lease by Nicole Litvak, GreenTech Media

Preparing for emergencies with wind, solar, energy storage, and microgrids by John Shenot, Microgrid Knowledge

US solar market has record-breaking year, total market poised to triple in next 5 years by Mike Munsell, GreenTech Media

One day, two states, history making moves on distributed energy resources by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Behind the quiet state-by-state fight over electric vehicles by Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times

Today, the economic incentives that have helped electric vehicles gain a toehold in America are under attack, state by state. In some states, there is a move to repeal tax credits for battery-powered vehicles or to let them expire. And in at least nine states, including liberal-leaning ones like Illinois and conservative-leaning ones like Indiana, lawmakers have introduced bills that would levy new fees on those who own electric cars.

The state actions could put the business of electric vehicles, already rocky, on even more precarious footing. That is particularly true as gas prices stay low, and as the Trump administration appears set to give the nascent market much less of a hand.

Power plants’ methane emissions much higher than thought: study by Timothy Cama, The Hill

Cities shop for $10 billion of electric cars to defy Trump by Joe Ryan, Bloomberg Technology

Google: 4 out of 5 US homes have solar power potential by Steve Dent, Engadget

An uncertain future for electric cars in America by Stephen Lacey, GreenTech Media

Solar farming brings benefits – and concerns – to the land by Scott Thill, Civil Eats

Out of America’s top 10 farm states, North Carolina (surprisingly) and California (unsurprisingly) have managed to install America’s largest solar capacity, with 2,866 megawatts and 10,577 megawatts, respectively. They are certainly not alone.

“Iowa and North Carolina have been particularly compelling stories,” explained Karlee Weinmann, a researcher at the Institute For Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). “They have had a focused effort on solar, in terms of feeding their states’ clean energy economies, as well as responding to farmers and others in the agricultural industry who express interest in renewable generation.”

 

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.