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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – Week of November 27, 2017

| Written by Kelsey Henquinet | No Comments | Updated on Nov 30, 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-november-27-2017/

This week in Energy Democracy News:

Community solar projects in Minnesota reach new capacities; Electric cooperatives break new ground in community solar; and options mount and plans continue as Puerto Rico rebuilds.

Featured Stories

Minnesota community solar capacity soars to 170 MW by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

Long touted as an example of how other community solar programs could work around the country, its success supports such praise. The program currently has more than 100 projects with a capacity of 170 MW, according to John Farrell, director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

“Minnesota’s program is the best in the country,” Farrell wrote in a blog piece touting the program. “There 10 times more community solar projects in the queue — 400 MW — in Minnesota than have been built in the history of community solar in the United States (outside Minnesota).”

Electric cooperatives light the way toward more community solar by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the service organization for America’s electric cooperatives, ratepayers that belong to cooperatives are voting to add solar to the mix, and it seems like this type of utility is growing community solar in a big way… “We are not accountable to shareholders or local governments. We are accountable to our members,” said Tracy Warren, senior communications manager for NRECA. This freedom opens them up to experiment with new technologies much more quickly than the more bureaucratic, public or investor-owned utilities.

Power For Puerto Rico? Twin Cities Solar Energy Consultants See Opportunity by Frederick Melo, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

John Farrell, a senior researcher with Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has written at length about the energy challenges facing Puerto Rico. He worries that with a simple grid rebuild, the island will lose local oversight of PREPA, its failing, outage-prone energy utility, which had a $4 billion maintenance backlog even before the hurricane hit, opening the door to predatory practices by outside companies.

Slow-To-Accelerate EV Charging Program Provides Lessons For Improvement by John Farrell, Clean Technica

Amid Murky Energy Outlook, Some Reasons To Be Thankful (Infographic) by John Farrell, Clean Technica

Amid EV Surge, Austin Eyes A New Way Of Doing Business — Episode 48 Of Local Energy Rules Podcast by John Farrell, Clean Technica

 

Energy Democracy News Across the States

California

San Diego weighs options to reach 100% renewable energy by Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

 

Colorado

Colorado electric co-op rolls out ‘community battery’ program by Peter Maloney, Utility Dive

 

Connecticut

Additional $2 Million Released for Electric Vehicle Rebates, Associated Press, US News

 

Florida

Solar Power Co-Ops Booming In Florida by Steve Newborn, WUSF Public News

A new report says Florida is leading the nation in solar permits for homes. This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the promise and prognosis of this type of renewable energy in the state.

In this preview, we look at why residential solar is becoming more popular – as well as at two new co-ops being formed to take advantage of the power of group buying.

 

Georgia

Opinion: An answer for Ga. Power by Jay Bookman, My AJC from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Power chose the design. Georgia Power hired the contractors. Georgia Power assured everyone who would listen that the problems that had long dogged nuclear power — the safety concerns, the massive cost-overruns and construction delays — had been resolved, and that the units would be up and producing power by 2017 just as scheduled. Critics who noted the difficulty and risk of trying to restart a complicated, zero-defect industry from scratch were steamrollered.

 

Idaho

Idaho Power Co. Hopes to Solve Rural Low-Voltage Issues, Associated Press, US News

 

Illinois

Illinois rated second in the country in grid modernization survey by Kevin Stark, Midwest Energy News

Fondulac Township approves solar panel project by Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal Star

 

Indiana

Indiana municipal utility association launches another solar park by Mark Burger, PV Magazine

 

Minnesota

Minnesota community solar capacity soars to 170 MW by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

Long touted as an example of how other community solar programs could work around the country, its success supports such praise. The program currently has more than 100 projects with a capacity of 170 MW, according to John Farrell, director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

“Minnesota’s program is the best in the country,” Farrell wrote in a blog piece touting the program. “There 10 times more community solar projects in the queue — 400 MW — in Minnesota than have been built in the history of community solar in the United States (outside Minnesota).”

Investment in solar grows dramatically in Minnesota schools by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Solar-Powered Learning: UMD to purchase solar energy from Minnesota Power by Denton (Denny) Newman Jr., Brainerd Dispatch

 

Nebraska

Half of OPPD’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2020, CEO says by Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

 

Ohio

Commentary: Will Ohio turn its back on the benefits of competition? By Dick Munson, Midwest Energy News

Solar Co-Op Formed In Cuyahoga County by Chris Mosby, Lakewood Patch

A new solar cooperative, led by Cuyahoga County residents, and co-sponsored by the county and Solar United Neighbors, a non-profit, has formed and will be holding public meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday in Cleveland Heights and Rocky River, respectively.

“We’re forming this co-op to help residents reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make saving money with solar energy as simple as possible,” said Mike Foley, director of the Department of Sustainability for Cuyahoga County. “Working with the group helps members learn about the technology so they feel confident in their decision to go solar.”

Cuyahoga County Forms Solar Co-Op to Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Save Money by Eric Sandy, Cleveland Scene

Advocates say recent net metering changes could slow solar growth in Ohio by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

 

Oklahoma

Solar power expanding in Oklahoma by Mike Coppock, Tulsa World

 

Pennsylvania

State’s solar energy program adds back grants by Paul J. Gough, Pittsburgh Business Times

 

Puerto Rico

Power For Puerto Rico? Twin Cities Solar Energy Consultants See Opportunity by Frederick Melo, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

John Farrell, a senior researcher with Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has written at length about the energy challenges facing Puerto Rico. He worries that with a simple grid rebuild, the island will lose local oversight of PREPA, its failing, outage-prone energy utility, which had a $4 billion maintenance backlog even before the hurricane hit, opening the door to predatory practices by outside companies.

Lots of talk, little action on remaking Puerto Rico’s grid by David Ferris and Peter Behr, E&E News

Puerto Rico’s deal with Whitefish was shady as hell, new records show updated by Alexia Fernández Campbell and Umair Irfan, Vox

 

South Carolina

Cypress Creek Invests Billions in South Carolina’s Solar Market. Now It’s Investing in People, Too by Emma Foehringer Merchant, GreenTech Media

 

South Dakota

Utility-scale solar project moves forward By Brett Nachtigall, Hot Springs Star

 

Tennessee

Tennessee coalition wants the Tennessee Valley Authority to get with the solar program by Mark Burger, PV Magazine

 

Utah

Utah Solar Panel Sign-Ups Increase Ahead of Rate Change, Associated Press

In the past 10 days, twice as many Utahns signed up for solar panels every day than usually do in a month by Emma Penrod, The Salt Lake Tribune

 

Virginia

Diverse Group Teams up to Bring Solar Power to Caribbean, Associated Press

A charity founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson is teaming up with the Clinton Foundation and others to bring solar power to the storm-ravaged Caribbean.

The Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing International said in a statement last week that the effort will focus on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both territories are still recovering from large-scale blows to their power grids.

 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Businessman Creates Fund To Help Nonprofits Go Solar By Susan Bence & Michelle Maternowski, WUWM Public Radio

And that seminar lead to Couillard’s eureka moment. “It just hit me at the right moment. We’ve got to stop burning fossil fuels. Instead of just talking about it, what if I really make a big effort. What if I get as many solar voltaic systems installed as I possibly can until the end of my time?”

Couillard and his wife Laurie were inspired and created Solar for Good, which awards grants to nonprofits to help them go solar through the help of the Madison-based advocacy group RENEW Wisconsin.

2 Residential Solar Giants Take Diverging Paths by Travis Hoium, Madison.com

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News

The left’s nuclear problem by Amy Harder, Axios

As feds focus on baseload, grid modernization is sweeping the nation by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Electric cooperatives light the way toward more community solar by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the service organization for America’s electric cooperatives, ratepayers that belong to cooperatives are voting to add solar to the mix, and it seems like this type of utility is growing community solar in a big way… “We are not accountable to shareholders or local governments. We are accountable to our members,” said Tracy Warren, senior communications manager for NRECA. This freedom opens them up to experiment with new technologies much more quickly than the more bureaucratic, public or investor-owned utilities.

Evidence Mounts That Coal, Nuclear Interests Influenced Perry’s Grid Resiliency Rule by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media

Sunrun Aims to Prove Solar Installers Can Grow and Make a Profit at the Same Time by Julian Spector, GreenTech Media

Tesla’s electric semi truck: Elon Musk unveils his new freight vehicle updated by Umair Irfan, Vox

A Democratic approach to energy: promote the interests of citizens, not industry by Representative Raul M. Grijalva

Solar remains largely unscathed as House tax bill passes by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

Path to Sustainability: Technology and the Modern Utility by Peter Londa, Electric Light and Power

In order to build a sustainable business model in a rapidly evolving landscape, utilities must embrace technology to enable a more open, digital distribution system. Technology for the modern utility will offer expanded grid infrastructure services, improved control to consumers, and a marketplace for forward-thinking, cost-effective solutions.

10 Facts About Solar Energy That Might Surprise You by Travis Hoium, Motley Fool, published in NASDAQ

Slow-To-Accelerate EV Charging Program Provides Lessons For Improvement by John Farrell, Clean Technica

Amid Murky Energy Outlook, Some Reasons To Be Thankful (Infographic) by John Farrell, Clean Technica

Amid EV Surge, Austin Eyes A New Way Of Doing Business — Episode 48 Of Local Energy Rules Podcast by John Farrell, Clean Technica

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