Supporting Affordable Residential Access to Community Solar in Minnesota

Date: 3 May 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In April, ILSR submitted comments in support of affordable residential access to community solar for review by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission. These comments concerned a proposed residential adder framework outlined as part of the state’s community solar program and Minnesota Department of Commerce Value of Solar calculation. We argue that, in a recent analysis submitted to the Commission by Xcel Energy, the utility exaggerated costs likely to be incurred under this new framework. Our comments support those made by allies such as Cooperative Energy Futures and advocate for adder calculations that ensure financeability and broad participation among residential subscribers to the state’s community solar program.… Read More

New Year’s Resolutions for Utility Regulators

Date: 22 Dec 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Shocking investigative reports published late in 2017 highlight our longstanding concerns about deficient oversight of growing utility monopolies. This set of New Year’s resolutions we drafted would help utility regulatory commissioners keep their charges in check.… Read More

Paying Utilities for Performance

Date: 22 Dec 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In most states with regulated, monopoly utilities, utilities are compensation based on two factors: energy sales and a return on capital spent, such as when they build a new power plant. In comments filed in late December, 2017, ILSR provides some context for basing utility compensation for its shareholders on actual performance.… Read More

Slow-to-Accelerate EV Charging Program Provides Lessons for Improvement

Date: 12 Jul 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, last month reported sparse participation in a program designed to deliver value to customers who charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient for the grid. But despite its benefits for the grid and cost savings for customers, the initiative appears stuck in neutral.

By April 2017, a year and a half after its launch, just 95 Xcel customers had opted in to the state-mandated electric vehicle charging tariff. With nearly 1,000 plug-in vehicles registered to Minnesota drivers — a bulk of them likely in Xcel’s metro-area territory — participation numbers hover well below reasonable expectations. Why?… Read More

Minnesota Regulators Eye Subcommittee to Resolve Distributed Generation Disputes

Date: 24 May 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Better technology and falling costs for years have buoyed the clean energy economy, steadily putting rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and other distributed energy resources within reach of more U.S. households and businesses. Still, many utilities remain averse to accommodating these … Read More

Xcel Has Room for Renewable Generation on its Minnesota Grid. So Where Is It?

Date: 24 Apr 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Determining exactly how much local renewable generation can reach Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota hinges in part on how many of these projects the existing grid can accommodate. To that end, the state’s Public Utilities Commission compelled the utility last … Read More

Residential Subscribers in Focus as Minnesota Weighs Community Solar Incentives

Date: 22 Apr 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In its filing on providing community solar incentives for residential subscribers, the Department outlined a loose framework for the “adder,” designed to encourage community solar developers to pursue projects accessible that target residential subscribers. The agency pitched an incentive worth … Read More

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind and Solar

Date: 7 Apr 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind-solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls. The law, … Read More

Unlocking Universal Access to Community Solar

Date: 23 Mar 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Community solar development is growing nationwide as utilities, recognizing market demand, think bigger than pilot-scale projects. A recent forecast from Greentech Media Research predicted 410 megawatts (MW) of community solar will be installed this year — nearly double the 218 … Read More

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