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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of May 29, 2017

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on May 31, 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-29-2017/

This week in Energy Democracy news:

We take a look at an excellent piece of writing from Southeast Energy News on the powerful statement that 100% renewable commitments bring for cities in the southeast United States, a new renewable energy pricing is established in Missouri, and Minnesota leads the midwest in renewables.

Featured Stories:

Minnesota leads the Midwest in clean energy report by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Co-op Power puts localist spin on clean energy economy by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

New electricity rate in Missouri expected to benefit efficiency and renewables by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Earlier this month, the Missouri Public Service Commission ordered Kansas City Power & Light to begin using an “inclining block” rate system starting on May 28 — tying the rate customers pay for electricity to their overall usage. The two-tiered policy essentially provides a small savings for modest use of energy and imposes a small penalty on customers who use larger amounts.

The rate structure, versions of which are in use by utilities in Minnesota, Colorado and other states, is also likely to improve the economics of efficiency upgrades and renewable energy, according to one clean-energy promoter.

“Is Bigger Best?” Report – Part 3: Why economics isn’t the problem by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Large or small, cities’ 100% renewable energy pledges are more than symbolic by Lyndsey Gilpin, Southeast Energy News

Setting aspirational goals like this are very important because they send market signals, political signals, and they are the environmentally right thing to do,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “I think that the goal setting is the first step. The implementation is the devil is in the details.”

Currently, 27 cities across the country have committed to powering completely with renewables, and only four cities – Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Greensburg, Kansas and Georgetown, Texas – power all of their electricity with renewables. Late last year, St. Petersburg, Florida, became the first Southeastern city to make the pledge, and Boone, North Carolina quickly followed. Now, more cities are taking interest.

Energy Democracy News Across the States:

Arizona

Tucson Electric Power proposes lower rooftop solar incentive rates by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

 

California

Hint to electric car dealers: Charge up before the test drive if you want the sale by Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times

Energy storage preserves the value of solar for California affordable housing by Solar Novus Today

Bolt EV helps booost electric car sales by 91% in California by Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times

Marin’s MCE Clean Energy leads distributed energy resources projects by Woody Hastings, North Bay Business Journal

 

Florida

Florida’s solar outlook just got sunnier by Clean Energy Blog

 

Illinois

ICC enters community solar challenge by Pam Adams, Peoria Journal Star

Local sustainability leader finds forecast sunny for solar by RiverBender.com

 

Indiana

Huge solar project at Hamilton County jail to brighten budget by John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star

Solar power initiatives worth city’s investment by The Herald Bulletin Editorial Board

 

Maine

Maine’s solar industry can employ the next generation by Holly Noyes, Bangor Daily News

 

Minnesota

Minnesota leads the Midwest in clean energy report by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

In Minnesota, utilities and regulators plan for the grid of the future by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota governor vetoes state legislature’s attempt to gut renewables by Samantha Page, ThinkProgress

MN’s greenhouse gas goal flopped. New goal ‘electrify everything’ by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio News

 

Michigan

‘Emerging’ no more: Solar energy comes to a full boil in mid-Michigan by Lawrence Cosentino, Lansing City Pulse

Interest in solar in Ann Arbor ‘head and shoulders above’ other cities by Ryan Stanton, MLive

 

Missouri

New electricity rate in Missouri expected to benefit efficiency and renewables by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Earlier this month, the Missouri Public Service Commission ordered Kansas City Power & Light to begin using an “inclining block” rate system starting on May 28 — tying the rate customers pay for electricity to their overall usage. The two-tiered policy essentially provides a small savings for modest use of energy and imposes a small penalty on customers who use larger amounts.

The rate structure, versions of which are in use by utilities in Minnesota, Colorado and other states, is also likely to improve the economics of efficiency upgrades and renewable energy, according to one clean-energy promoter.

Opponents call net metering bill’s failure a ‘victory for consumers’ by Benjamin Peters, The Missouri Times

 

New York

A tale of two grids: Bridging New York’s renewable energy divide by Brad Jones, Crain’s New York Business

 

Nevada

Five green energy bills to watch by Kristy Totten, KNPR

Nevada Assembly OKs net metering bill by Ben Botkin, Las Vegas Review Journal

The Nevada Assembly passed a measure intended to make net metering a realistic choice for Silver State utility customers.

The Assembly on Tuesday voted 38-2 on Assembly Bill 405. The measure would institute protections for consumers who want to buy rooftop solar systems and participate in net metering, in which a utility reimburses homeowners for excess electricity they generate. Assemblymen Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, and Skip Daly, D-Sparks, were opposed.

 

Ohio

Little Fish Brewery adds solar panels, will help fund with beer by Dan Eaton, Columbus Business Journal

Critics say Ohio utility’s proposed fixed charge increase will slow efficiency, clean energy by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

 

Oregon

Developers fear slow start to Oregon community solar by Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal

 

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh could lead in new power source for U.S. cities by Rachel Dovey, Next City

Pa. launches review of electric-vehicle charging policies by Andrew Maykuth, Philly.com

 

Texas

Rural Texas co-op, modernizes power grid with distribution automation by Electric Light & Power Editorial Board

 

Virginia

As utility solar grows in Virginia, so do tensions with rooftop installers by Jim Pierobon, Southeast Energy News

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

Trump can’t stop this: Climate action in the Midwest by Kevin Steinberger, National Resource Defense Council

Renewable groups push back on Energy Department electric grid study by Devin Henry, The Hill

In a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the groups said the agency’s study on the electric grid is “based on a faulty premise” that the growing renewable energy sector is to blame for the retirement of coal and nuclear plants that, in turn, puts grid reliability at risk.

The groups, which have worried that the study is aimed at undercutting wind and solar generation in favor of coal and nuclear sectors, also said the grid review should go through a public comment process with more input from the energy industry.

“We express our disappointment that the Department has apparently chosen not to make this review — which as outlined in your memo has the potential to upend energy markets around the country — public and open to input from industry, grid operators, state regulators and other key stakeholders,” the groups wrote in their letter.

Signers of the letter include the American Council on Renewable Energy, American Wind Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association and Advanced Energy Economy.

Electric vehicles can be grid assets or liabilities. How utilities plan will decide by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Where a solar roof works and where it doesn’t by Megan Geuss, ArsTechnica

Large or small, cities’ 100% renewable energy pledges are more than symbolic by Lyndsey Gilpin, Southeast Energy News

Setting aspirational goals like this are very important because they send market signals, political signals, and they are the environmentally right thing to do,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “I think that the goal setting is the first step. The implementation is the devil is in the details.”

Currently, 27 cities across the country have committed to powering completely with renewables, and only four cities – Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Greensburg, Kansas and Georgetown, Texas – power all of their electricity with renewables. Late last year, St. Petersburg, Florida, became the first Southeastern city to make the pledge, and Boone, North Carolina quickly followed. Now, more cities are taking interest.

Why it’s mainly giant companies that buy green power by Brian Baskin, Wall Street Journal

Last year, environmental nonprofits launched the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, an organization in which Wal-Mart,Facebook Inc., GM and dozens of other big green-power buyers share expertise with companies new to the process. The Rocky Mountain Institute, for its part, has released a guide to standard language used in renewable deals, part of a wider effort to make Byzantine-sounding power-contract language less intimidating.

Smaller power buyers can also team up to gain more clout in the market. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology joined a nearby hospital and a real-estate firm in October to buy power from a new 650-acre solar farm in North Carolina. Their combined power needs—60 megawatts—were enough to attract 41 proposals from developers. That helped the university negotiate a price about 20% lower than it could have on its own, says Joe Higgins, MIT’s director of infrastructure business operations.

Perfect storm brewing for distributed energy in urban areas by Renewables Now

Electric cars becoming popular as grid gets greener by John Upton, Climate Central

9.8 million people employed by renewable energy, according to new report by Anmar Frangoul, CNBC

Sell your excess solar power back to the grid with net metering by Ryan Willemsen, Mother Earth News

Q&A: Why storage will be a key focus at the Midwest Solar Expo by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

As solar matures, rate design, and incentive debates grow ever more complex by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

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