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Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of September 6, 2016

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Sep 6, 2016 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-6-2016/
Energy Democracy Media Roundup

This week in Energy Democracy news:

Florida voters pass a property tax exemption for renewable energy, Minnesota churches are installing solar in record numbers, and new research proves that the Eastern U.S. can handle more renewable energy than previously thought.

Featured Stories:

A new logo, and a definition of Energy Democracy by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

The Eastern US grid can handle more renewables than you think by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

In Minnesota churches, let there be light – solar light by Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

A coalition of four Unitarian Universalist churches in the Twin Cities has contracted with developer Minnesota Community Solar to build a solar garden that could provide energy for up to 500 church members and friends. About 100 households have already signed up.

For years solar power was touted as a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut energy bills. Many religious leaders have added a new priority: to make solar power available to people who lack access to renewable energy. They call it “energy equity.”

A Kansas electric cooperative offers energy savings with $0 down – Episode 32 of Local Energy Rules Podcast by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Florida voters pass solar tax exemption in statewide primary – now bigger battles loom by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Amendment 4 specifically authorizes the Florida legislature to exempt solar projects on commercial and industrial properties from both the tangible personal property tax and the ad valorem real estate taxes. The amendment builds upon existing law that exempts residential customers from paying property taxes on renewable energy systems, including solar PV, wind turbines, solar water heaters and geothermal heat pumps.

 

Energy Democracy Stories in the States

Arizona

Top regulator: Arizona should double solar, wind power by Ryan Randazzo, AZ Central

 

California

How much energy storage would be needed for California to reach 50 percent solar? by Julian Spector, GreenTech Media

 

Colorado

Boulder commits to going 100 percent renewable by Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress

 

Florida

Florida voters to decide solar amendment by Greg Fox, WESH

Will Florida voters go big on solar? by Will Greenberg, Mother Jones

Florida voters pass solar tax exemption in statewide primary – now bigger battles loom by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Amendment 4 specifically authorizes the Florida legislature to exempt solar projects on commercial and industrial properties from both the tangible personal property tax and the ad valorem real estate taxes. The amendment builds upon existing law that exempts residential customers from paying property taxes on renewable energy systems, including solar PV, wind turbines, solar water heaters and geothermal heat pumps.

Sun shines on Amendment 4 by Jeff Schweers, Florida Today

 

Kansas

Scale and scope of Kansas value-of-solar study yet to be determined by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

When it comes to assessing whether distributed generation burdens – or benefits – the local grid, “The real distinguishing factor is who sponsored the study,” said Karl Rabago, a former utility commissioner who now consults on utility and energy matters.

“There’s a great little report on a collection of studies by Environment America. It looked at 11 (value-of-solar) studies. The number-one differentiator of final value in these studies is who paid for it. When the utilities paid, they tended to find no value.” Studies that were conducted or funded by state governments or other “neutral” parties – as is the case here – “tended to find value,” according to Rabago.

 

Hawaii

Big Island utility reaches cap on rooftop solar energy program by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News

 

Iowa

Iowa Falls School District seals solar deal by Sara Konrad Baranowski, Times Citizen

Iowa co-op’s unique solar installation business expands outside its territory by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

Maryland

Making schools sustainable by Baltimore Sun

 

Massachusetts

Holyoke leads the way towards 100 percent renewable energy by Ben Hellerstein and Alex Morse, MassLive

 

Michigan

Electricity customer choice out-performs traditional monopoly by Wayne Kuipers and Laura Chappelle, Utility Dive

Cherryland Electric proposes net metering alternatives by Danielle Woodward, Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Minnesota

Three Minnesota sites plan future net zero neighborhoods by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

New solar farm will harvest the power of the sun by Jana Peterson, Pine Times

Faribault looks to bright future with potential of solar energy subscription by Gunnar Olson, Faribault Daily News

In Minnesota churches, let there be light – solar light by Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

A coalition of four Unitarian Universalist churches in the Twin Cities has contracted with developer Minnesota Community Solar to build a solar garden that could provide energy for up to 500 church members and friends. About 100 households have already signed up.

For years solar power was touted as a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut energy bills. Many religious leaders have added a new priority: to make solar power available to people who lack access to renewable energy. They call it “energy equity.”

Local partnership provides solar energy system to community center by Brainerd Dispatch

 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire sticks with solar net metering, which voters support by Peter Allen, CleanTechnica

 

Nevada

Let everyone take advantage of net metering by Las Vegas Review Journal

 

Ohio

In Poland, an Ohioan finds a parallel world on climate policy by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

Ohio utility seeks to double its fixed distribution charges by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

Beyond that, Melink said, increasing the fixed portion of the distribution charge for customers who use less electricity from the grid would unfairly “penaliz[e] customers who are part of the solution” for increasing clean energy and “reeks of crony capitalism.”

“Customers who use less electricity use the wires less that carry the electricity,” said Melink. “Therefore, they should pay less than other customers who are using the wires more.”

 

Texas

San Antonio solar installer offers rebates to less wealthy areas of the city by Brendan Gibbons, My San Antonio

Fixed charge battle looms in Texas as regulators tackle rate design reform by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

 

Vermont

Will scaling back solar incentives hurt adoption? by Amber Tong, Governing Magazine

 

Washington

Washington commits $12.6M to grid modernization effort by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

 

Nationwide Energy Democracy News

Report shows growth of distributed wind generation by Alyssa Michaud, Daily Energy Insider

The 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report offers data and insights on the emerging field of distributed wind, in which wind power is generated on or near the sites that require it, rather than purchased from large, centralized wind farms. The publication is the fourth annual report on distributed wind, presenting key findings on the usage trends, growth and geography of the field.

Electric utilities and the future they need to embrace by Bob Graves, Governing Magazine

The falling costs of US solar power, in 7 charts by David Roberts, Vox

Small-scale (under 5 MW), distributed solar falls into three categories: residential rooftops, nonresidential systems under 500 kW (think commercial rooftops), and nonresidential systems between 500 kW and 5 MW (think small, ground-mounted solar PV farms, like community solar projects).

Net metering: What is it and why does it matter? by GovTech News Staff

The price of solar is declining to unprecedented lows by Robert Fares, Scientific American

US installed microgrid capacity to grow 115% and reach 4.3GW over the next 5 years by Olivia Chen, GreenTech Media

Location matters: Utilities focus on charger placement to drive electric vehicle adoption by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Why smart utilities are embracing distributed electricity by Gavriella Keyles, Ensia

The Eastern US grid can handle more renewables than you think by Katherine Tweed, GreenTech Media

Public purpose microgrids: Mixed-ownership models spur utility investment in growing sector by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive