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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of September 18, 2017

| Written by Kelsey Henquinet | No Comments | Updated on Sep 19, 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-september-18-2017/

This Week in Energy Democracy News:

Representative Fred Upton and Valerie Brader discuss the important of energy security legislation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey; 40 year old PURPA law is under question; and Illinois Utilities are making new plans under a new energy law.

 

Featured Stories:

In Harvey’s wake, energy security legislation needed now more than ever by Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Valerie Brader, The Hill

If passed by the Senate, the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2017 will provide federal financial help to states such as Michigan to implement, review, and revise their energy security plans, including a greater emphasis on cybersecurity.

The bill would allow states to leverage federal resources, knowledge, and expertise to build stronger partnerships with public and private stakeholders to guarantee a better energy future for all.

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind & Solar by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

The New 1,600 Megawatt Solar Program For Massachusetts Really Is SMART by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Residential Subscribers In Focus As Minnesota Weighs Community Solar Incentives by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Illinois Utilities Begin to Design Community Solar Programs Under New Energy Law by David Unger, Midwest Energy News

PURPA: A Quiet Death or Longer Life After 40 Years of Wholesale Electricity Competition? By John Farrell, GreenTech Media

There’s much more detail in the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s recent overview of PURPA, but the law’s basic concept is that utilities must buy power from renewable energy sources or “co-generation” facilities (that produce both electricity and heat for sale) if it’s competitive with their own supplies. Think of it as the utility planning to buy a burger and fries for $5.00. If someone else can offer the utility the same lunch for less, then PURPA requires that they buy it, because it saves everyone money.

 

Energy Democracy News Across the States

California

 

Bill to California governor would direct utilities to plan storage, DERs for peak demand by Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

Complete Solar Builds Successful Residential Solar Business That Bucks Industry Trend, PR Newswire’s Markets Insider

 

 

Hawaii

Hawaiian Electric teams up with Wisconsin firm to increase grid visibility and control by HJ Mai, Pacific Business News

 

Illinois

Illinois Utilities Begin to Design Community Solar Programs Under New Energy Law by David Unger, Midwest Energy News

ELPC and other groups have also flagged potential concerns over ensuring small, grassroots and community-driven solar efforts have equal access to developing community solar projects.

“In order for the program to fully serve Illinois residents and communities, the (Illinois Power Agency) should take extra care to design the community solar program with both developer-driven as well as more bottom-up, community-driven projects in mind,” the Sierra Club wrote in response to a request for comments in advance of the agency’s forthcoming renewables plan. “The Agency should also monitor the success of community-driven projects and consider program changes if such projects struggle to succeed.”

Illinois Energy Reform Set to Shape New Solar Business Models for Utilities by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

 

Indiana

Facing Legislative Deadline, Volunteers Work to Increase Solar in Southern Indiana by Erica Peterson, 89.3 WFPL

 

Iowa

A Solar Brush Fire in Trump Country by David Ferris, E&E News

 

Kansas

Kansas ranks fourth in Midwest for new ‘clean energy’ jobs by Jerry Siebenmark, Wichita Eagle

Kansas added 1,286 clean energy jobs between 2015 and 2016, placing it fourth among 12 Midwest states for job growth in that sector.

That’s according to a Clean Jobs Midwest report Thursday from the Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2, and the Clean Energy Trust, which said Kansas’ year-over-year job growth pushed its total clean energy jobs to 28,291 in 2016, or 1.9 percent of the state’s 1.48 million workforce.

The bulk of the jobs, 88 percent, were in the energy efficiency sector, which includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning; lighting; advanced building materials; and Energy Star appliances the report said. The second biggest sector where Kansas clean energy jobs were found was in wind and solar energy.

 

Maine

Jail Authority Mulls Solar Project by Gina Hamilton, Wiscasset Newspaper

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts utilities take divergent approaches to grid modernization by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

8 Massachusetts Nonprofits Get Donated Solar Power Systems by AP, U.S. News

 

Michigan

New solar panel carports could save MSU $10 million in electricity costs by Honda Carter, The State News

Council Waives Solar Power Fees by Samantha Smith, The News Dispatch

By passing this resolution, the Common Council approved waiving a fee of $61,632 in building permits. While this may seem like a lot of money, MCAS estimates the school system will save more than $100,000 in utility costs during the first year and $22 million over the next 30 years by installing the panels.

“What’s good about that is that we can take those (saved) monies and put them in other places that I know are well needed in the school system,” said Councilman Donald Przybylinkski.

“This is not only a great opportunity to help Michigan City Area Schools, but it’s also an opportunity to reduce energy costs and increase sustainability and green infrastructure in Michigan City,” added Councilwoman Sharon Carnes.

Solar-Powered ‘Treehouse’ Community Center Planned in Detroit by Ben Solis, MLive

 

Minnesota

City Council Mulls Increasing use of Renewable Energy by Nate Gotlieb, Southwest Journal

The Minneapolis City Council is considering a proposal that would double its purchase of electricity from renewable sources.

The council may increase the city’s participation in Xcel Energy’s Renewable Connect program, which provides customers with locally sourced wind and solar energy without them needing to invest in equipment. The council approved an initial contract for the city’s participation in the program in June.

Surge in Minnesota Clean-Energy Jobs Prompts calls for Tighter Energy Standards by Erin Golden, Star Tribune

Utility Fee Increase in Minneapolis Could Help Fund Efficiency, Outreach by Frank Jossie, Midwest Energy News

 

 

Nevada

Nevada PUC Approves Net Metering Rules Expected to Reboot the State’s Rooftop Solar Industry by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

 

North Carolina

Commentary: Renewable energy is an economic issue, not a partisan one by Bob Steinburg and Erica Smith-Ingram, Southeast Energy News

 

Ohio

Who will pay if Amazon gets AEP break on data center electricity? By Dan Gearino, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio and Michigan leading the way in clean energy jobs by Jay Skebba, The Blade

 

South Dakota

Wind Energy Good for the State and the Nation by Chris Kinkle, Watertown Public Opinion

Across the country, wind farms are providing a stable source of new revenue for farmers and ranchers, without disturbing their existing operations. These projects inject private capital into rural communities and produce new, family-supporting jobs where they are needed most.

Utah

Settlement would let Rocky Mountain Power charge nonsolar customers to pay for rooftop solar power by Emma Penrod, The Salt Lake Tribune

 

Virginia

Solarize Alexandria Campaign Returns To Help Residents and Businesses Go Solar by Alexandria News

 

Washington

Let the Sunshine in: Washington Incentive Makes Solar More Affordable by Elise Haas, KEPR

“I think it’s a really cool technology that we can harness energy from an unlimited power source that’s basically free for our use,” Chandra Romel said. Romel recently made the move to go solar and produce her own energy to run her house.

“Our electric rates are only going to go up in the future, so you also have to think of it as locking in your utility rate for 25 plus years,” she said. With the new solar incentive in Washington, she said it makes going solar affordable for more people.

 

West Virginia

After Generations Working in Coal, Young West Virginians are Finding Jobs in Solar by Jason Margolis, WLRN

 

Wisconsin

Waseda Farms Plugs into New Energy Source with Solar Power by Wisconsin State Farmer

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

How Distributed Solar Could Help During Natural Disasters by Morten Lund, Solar Industry

Even if they are damaged in a disaster, small solar systems will usually continue to generate, albeit in a reduced capacity. And if need be, they can often be repaired with rudimentary tools and knowledge (although it would of course be best to wait for the professionals).

Small solar is also unmanned. There is no human operation or oversight required. Small solar will keep on generating all on its own, while people are busy surviving the disaster.

How States Will Hit 100 Percent Clean Energy by Anne C. Mulkern, Scientific American

High-paying energy jobs are key for Democrats in 2018 by Paul Bledsoe, The Hill

Solar energy alone already employs more than three times as many Americans as coal, and employment in the U.S. solar business is growing 12 times faster than the economy’s overall job creation. Sometimes, one statistic says it all: Wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing profession in America.

How Does Thermal Energy Storage Reach Scale? By Julian Spector, GreenTech Media

Transmission: The Unsung Hero of the DOE Grid Reliability Study by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Report: Energy storage is starting to become standard for utilities by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

In Harvey’s wake, energy security legislation needed now more than ever by Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Valerie Brader, The Hill

If passed by the Senate, the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2017 will provide federal financial help to states such as Michigan to implement, review, and revise their energy security plans, including a greater emphasis on cybersecurity.

The bill would allow states to leverage federal resources, knowledge, and expertise to build stronger partnerships with public and private stakeholders to guarantee a better energy future for all.

Rethinking the meaning of ‘reliability’ and ‘resiliency’ in the wake of DOE grid reliability study by Tanuj Deora, Utility Dive

The DOE staff chose to write their report from a baseload-centric paradigm, rather than a forward-looking approach based on the energy industry’s rapidly-evolving resource/fuel source mix. The implied assumption is that baseload power plants have reliability and resiliency advantages that other power generation technologies do not. This assumption, perhaps valid five or ten years ago, is no longer credible looking forward.

SEPA and Utilities Provide Energy Storage Market Snapshot by Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry

Americans Support Net Energy Metering by Nicole Casai Moore, Phys.org

About three out of every four Americans support hotly debated net energy metering policies, which allow residents with wind turbines and solar panels to sell excess energy back to the grid at retail rates, according to a national poll by University of Michigan researchers.

Utilities Need to Take an Ecosystem Approach to DERs as They Look Beyond Pilots by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

Many utilities already have existing demand response programs that include technology-specific grid-edge DER programs, such as for battery energy storage, smart thermostats or hot water heaters.

But utilities will eventually need a DERMS that can manage hundreds of thousands of devices from dozens of manufacturers to provide grid services. Essentially, utilities must invest in a software system that can take the complexity and increasing diversity of devices at the grid edge and turn that into a dependable grid resource.

Batteries for Homes, Businesses Surged in U.S. in Second Quarter by Nichola Groom, Reuters

The U.S. energy storage market fell 11 percent in the second quarter as utilities connected fewer large projects to the grid, but batteries deployed in homes and businesses hit a record thanks to state incentives in California and Hawaii and lower prices on the technology.

SEPA Survey: 31 Utilities Deployed Their First Energy Storage Project in 2016 by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Salt River Project Asks Supreme Court to Take Up SolarCity Antitrust Case by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media

PURPA: A Quiet Death or Longer Life After 40 Years of Wholesale Electricity Competition? By John Farrell, GreenTech Media

There’s much more detail in the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s recent overview of PURPA, but the law’s basic concept is that utilities must buy power from renewable energy sources or “co-generation” facilities (that produce both electricity and heat for sale) if it’s competitive with their own supplies. Think of it as the utility planning to buy a burger and fries for $5.00. If someone else can offer the utility the same lunch for less, then PURPA requires that they buy it, because it saves everyone money.

Thanks To Your Local Economy, Renewables Aren’t Going Anywhere – Episode 15 of the Building Local Power Podcast with Christopher Mitchell, John Farrell, and Karlee Weinmann, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind & Solar by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

The New 1,600 Megawatt Solar Program For Massachusetts Really Is SMART by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Residential Subscribers In Focus As Minnesota Weighs Community Solar Incentives by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

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