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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of May 15, 2017

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on May 15, 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-may-15-2017/

This week in Energy Democracy news:

This week we are featured in a number of great articles that range from inclusive financing policies by utilities, the appeal of energy democracy for cooperatives, and how states are rolling back environmental laws in the Trump era. Check them all out, below!

Featured Stories:

State move to roll back environmental rules in Trump’s wake by Ari Natter, Bloomberg

“A lot of the business groups interested in this have realized they can be successful when they go state to state,” said John Farrell, a director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington non-profit that advises local governments on community development. For health and environment groups, “there is an element of Whack-A-Mole that goes on when it happens at the state level.”

Companies that are getting free of federal regulations can now target industry-friendly states — think Oklahoma or West Virginia — to get out from under their mandates, as well. By moving state to state, lobbyists can get more traction with lawmakers friendly to their cause.

Economic democracy and the billion-dollar co-op by Nathan Schneider, The Nation

Electricity customers pay for groups that lobby against clean energy, report says by Mark Hand, ThinkProgress

Utility customers foot the costs of “political and public relations” activities of these industry trade groups, the report’s authors contend. Requiring customers to pay a portion of the annual membership dues means customers might be paying for political activities with which they may not agree and from which they may not benefit, the report says.

Electric utility companies routinely receive permission from state regulators to include at least a portion of their dues payments to industry associations in their operating expenses, the Energy & Policy Institute, a research and watchdog group, said in the new report. Those operating expenses are passed on to customers, not to the shareholders of these investor-owned utilities.

Solar for all: How installers can help make the renewable revolution inclusive by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World Online

John Farrell, director of the energy democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization that advocates for sustainable community development, said installers can do their part to help achieve energy justice by providing financing for solar panels that doesn’t require a credit score.

“Something like half of Americans have a subprime credit score, so it’d be very challenging for them to get financing to install solar or to buy a share of a community solar garden,” Farrell said. But, he understands that financing flexibility may not be feasible for some installers. “They’re usually at the mercy of the bank or whoever else is providing their money. But it’s something that they can work on and work toward.”

“Is Bigger Best?” Report – Part 1: Limits to scale in wind by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

“Is Bigger Best?” Report – Part 2: Limits to scale in solar by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

 

Energy Democracy News Across the States:

California

Why nuclear power has no future in California or U.S. by Damon Moglen, San Diego Union Tribune

 

Florida

Solar backers support measure to carry out Florida voters-approved tax break by Orlando Sentinel News Team

Renewable-energy tax break bill headed to Rick Scott by Saint Peters Blog News Staff

 

Georgia

Atlanta commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 by Chris D’Angelo, Huffington Post

A resolution introduced by city council member Kwanza Hall and unanimously approved commits city government to develop a plan for transitioning all of its buildings to clean electricity sources by 2025, and for the entire city to go green a decade later.

“We know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water and lower our residents’ utility bills,” Hall, who’s also a Democratic candidate for mayor, said in a statement. “We never thought we’d be away from landline phones or desktop computers, but today we carry our smart phones around and they’re more powerful than anything we used to have. We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”

Atlanta becomes the 27th U.S. city and the first in Georgia to pledge a 100-percent renewable energy goal, according to the Sierra Club.

 

Indiana

Holcomb signs solar energy bill by Niki Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Some Hoosiers seek energy policy amid solar battle by Scott L. Miley, Tribune Star

Goodbye, (solar) power to the people by Logansport Pharos-Tribune

Indiana’s new law eventually eliminates net metering – but is the battle over? by Daily Energy Insider

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed SB 309, agreeing with the big utilities that have argued solar users have been compensated much too generously under net metering, a billing mechanism that lets anyone with a solar panel or wind turbine receive a financial credit on their utility bill for sending excess electricity they generate back to the electric grid.

 

Maine

Solar power advocates take fight over credits to Maine’s top court by Darren Fishell, Bangor Daily News

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts should raise its net energy metering caps by Dave Gahl, PV Magazine

 

Michigan

Small city sets big clean-energy goal by Sara Peach, Yale Climate Connections

 

Minnesota

Solar energy coming to more homes & businesses, brings jobs by Kate Raddatz, WCCO News

Minnesota developer tapped for new community wind venture by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

St. Peter moves forward on offering solar energy options by Dana Melius, St. Peter Herald

Critics say Minnesota omnibus bill sets back clean energy by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Although Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a measure in March that would have removed PUC oversight of fixed charges brought by rural electric cooperatives on solar customers, the same proposal is in the omnibus energy bill.

 

Missouri

Bill to raise utility costs for solar customers still moving through MO legislature by Jason Taylor, Missouri-Net

Under the proposal from Republican Travis Fitzwater of Holts Summit, power companies could tack an additional 75 percent of existing grid fees on those who supply their own solar energy.

Striving for sustainability: City looks to meet renewable energy goals by Tom Coulter, The Missourian

 

Nevada

Lawmakers reach compromise on bill charting future of rooftop solar by Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels, The Nevada Independent

 

New Mexico

ABQ city councilor moves forward with $25 million solar measure by Rachel Sapin, Albuquerque Business Journal

 

South Carolina

South Carolina House stalls renewable energy tax breaks that solar advocates wanted, halting bill this year by Andrew Brown, Charleston Post and Courier

 

Utah

Growth of solar industry in Utah comes with questions by Sean Dolan, Herald Journal

 

Vermont

Creating an energy democracy by Laura Mistretta, Rutland Herald

 

Virginia

Pro-solar momentum swells in Virginia by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

State move to roll back environmental rules in Trump’s wake by Ari Natter, Bloomberg

“A lot of the business groups interested in this have realized they can be successful when they go state to state,” said John Farrell, a director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington non-profit that advises local governments on community development. For health and environment groups, “there is an element of Whack-A-Mole that goes on when it happens at the state level.”

Companies that are getting free of federal regulations can now target industry-friendly states — think Oklahoma or West Virginia — to get out from under their mandates, as well. By moving state to state, lobbyists can get more traction with lawmakers friendly to their cause.

Economic democracy and the billion-dollar co-op by Nathan Schneider, The Nation

Q&A: How rural co-ops can help lead the smart grid transition by David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News

Utilities try new tactics to discourage solar, but still aren’t getting what they want by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Report: Distributed generation is rising, but most utilities not ready by Rod Walton, Electric Light & Power

The value of the microgrid as a complementary technology by Diarmaid Williams, Decentralized Energy

Solar plus storage microgrids shows strong promise by Chip Palombini, Microgrid Knowledge

Electricity customers pay for groups that lobby against clean energy, report says by Mark Hand, ThinkProgress

Utility customers foot the costs of “political and public relations” activities of these industry trade groups, the report’s authors contend. Requiring customers to pay a portion of the annual membership dues means customers might be paying for political activities with which they may not agree and from which they may not benefit, the report says.

Electric utility companies routinely receive permission from state regulators to include at least a portion of their dues payments to industry associations in their operating expenses, the Energy & Policy Institute, a research and watchdog group, said in the new report. Those operating expenses are passed on to customers, not to the shareholders of these investor-owned utilities.

Solar for all: How installers can help make the renewable revolution inclusive by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World Online

John Farrell, director of the energy democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization that advocates for sustainable community development, said installers can do their part to help achieve energy justice by providing financing for solar panels that doesn’t require a credit score.

“Something like half of Americans have a subprime credit score, so it’d be very challenging for them to get financing to install solar or to buy a share of a community solar garden,” Farrell said. But, he understands that financing flexibility may not be feasible for some installers. “They’re usually at the mercy of the bank or whoever else is providing their money. But it’s something that they can work on and work toward.”

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